Opera Scotland

Mastersingers of Nuremberg 1924British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Meistersinger von N├╝rnberg

Three performances of Mastersingers, one in Edinburgh and two in Glasgow, including a very celebratory way to finish the Scottish tour.

In the absence (so far) of precise data from a programme or more detailed review, singers have been allocated to the minor Masters according to known voice type or previous history.  For instance, a programme for a 1920 performance by Beecham's company shows Nathan Shacknoff as Zorn.  It seems reasonable to accept that he repeated the part for several seasons,


The Edinburgh Review

The Scotsman review on Friday, 7 November (p6) commented:

A season of opera may contain as much of the novel, the impressive, or the otherwise intrinsically worthy, as can be brought within its bounds,, but it always seems to receive its crowning touch with the inclusion of The Mastersingers.  Wagner was never more happily inspired than in this piece of sentimental comedy wedded to music that is full of sunshine.  From the rise of the curtain, with Eva employing the interludes in the chorale for provocative glances at the young knight, Walter, to the triumphant conclusion, the story moves in an atmosphere of pure fun.

'Last night's cast was in all respects very effective.  Mr Andrew Shanks is perhaps the best Hans Sachs who has appeared in Edinburgh.  His impersonation is now well known here, and last night it had all the familiar charm and conviction.  Mr Walter Widdop sang with an unfailing purity of tone as Walter, and made a particularly romantic figure in the part.  There was the right dignity in the Pogner of Mr William Anderson.  The Beckmesser of Mr William Michael was sufficiently grotesque, without being unduly farcical; and Mr Browning Mummery's David was another fine performance.

'Miss May Blyth made a first appearance here as Eva, and scored a decided success; and the Magdalene od Miss Constance Willis was another fine piece of work.  Messrs Parry Jones, Franklyn Kelsey, Frederic Collier,  Nathan Shacknoff,  Frederic Rickitt, Archibald Cooper, Henry Mann, Eric Fort, and Thomas Hindmarch were the other Mastersingers.  They were all good, as was also Mr Philip Bertram in the small part as the Watchman.

'Artists may come and go in the British National Opera Company, but it is gratifying to observe how the high standard of casting, which distinguished it under the direction of Sir Thomas Beecham, is maintained.  There is much elaborate and very exacting concerted music in the opera, and in this, as in the choral and orchestral aspects of the work, there was little that even the most hypercritical taste could have suggested as being capable of improvement.

'Mr Malcolm Sargent conducted, and from the beginning of the overture to the final descent of the curtain the performance was full of animation and beauty.  The theatre was crowded, and at the conclusion of the performance the principals were enthusiastically recalled again and again.'


BNOC's 1924 Scottish tour

The BNOC tour of Scotland in 1924 lasted five weeks - two in Edinburgh (King's) then three in Glasgow (Theatre Royal).

Amazingly, four operas by British composers were toured, as well as four French, though only one by Verdi.  As usual, Wagner and Puccini seem to enjoy undying popularity.  One Russian piece also puts in an appearance.

A total of 19 works were performed:

Mozart (Marriage of Figaro,  Magic Flute);   Wagner (Tannhäuser,  MastersingersSiegfried);  Verdi (Aïda);  Gounod (Faust);  Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Bizet (Carmen);  Rimsky-Korsakov (Golden Cockerel);  Leoncavallo (Pagliaci);   Puccini (BohèmeMadam ButterflyGianni Schicchi);  Debussy (Pelléas and Mélisande);  Mackenzie (Eve of St John);  Vaughan Williams (Hugh the Drover);  Holst (Perfect Fool);  Boughton (Alkestis).

The performance schedule is as follows:

Edinburgh,  w/c 27 October:  Mon 27 Marriage of Figaro;  Tue 28 Carmen;  Wed 29 mat Madam Butterfly;  Wed 29 eve Hugh the Drover:  Thu 30 Perfect Fool & Gianni Schicchi;  Fri 31 Siegfried;  Sat 01 mat  Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 01 eve Tales of Hoffmann.

Edinburgh, w/c 3 November:  Mon 03 Golden Cockerel;  Tue 04 Pelléas et Mélisande;  Wed 05 mat  Magic Flute;  Wed 05 eve Tannhäuser;  Thu 06 Mastersingers;  Fri 07 Alkestis;  Sat 08 mat  Hugh the Drover;  Sat 08 eve  Aïda.

Glasgow, w/c 10 November:  Mon 10 Carmen;  Tue 11 Mastersingers;  Wed 12 mat Alkestis;  Wed 12 eve  Tales of Hoffmann;  Thu 13 Magic Flute;  Fri 14  Golden Cockerel;  Sat 15 mat Aïda;  Sat 15 eve Marriage of Figaro.

Glasgow, w/c 17 November:  Mon 17 Tales of Hoffmann;  Tue 18 Bohème;  Wed 19 mat  Magic Flute;  Med 19 eve  Aïda;  Thu 20 Eve of St John & Perfect Fool;  Fri 21 Hugh the Drover;  Sat 22 mat Gianni Schicchi  Pagliacci;  Sat 22 eve Tannhäuser.

Glasgow, w/c 24 November:  Mon 24 Marriage of Figaro;  Tue 25  Faust;  Wed 26 mat Golden Cockerel;  Wed 26 eve Magic Flute;  Thu 27 Hugh the Drover;  Fri 28  Carmen;  Sat 29 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 29 eve Mastersingers.

Performance Cast

Walther von Stolzing a young knight

Walter Widdop (Nov 6)

Eva daughter of Pogner

May Blyth (Nov 6)

Magdalene Eva's nurse

Constance Willis (Nov 6)

David apprentice to Sachs

Browning Mummery (Nov 6)

Hans Sachs a shoemaker

Andrew Shanks (Nov 6)

Veit Pogner a goldsmith

William Anderson (Nov 6)

Sixtus Beckmesser town clerk

William Michael (Nov 6)

Fritz Kothner a baker

Frederic Collier (Nov 6)

Konrad Nachtigall a tinsmith

Harry Mann (Nov 6)

Balthasar Zorn a pewterer

Nathan Shacknoff (Nov 6)

Ulrich Eisslinger a grocer

Frederic Rickitt (Nov 6)

Kunz Vogelgesang a furrier

Archibald Cooper (Nov 6)

Augustin Moser a tailor

Parry Jones (Nov 6)

Hans Foltz a coppersmith

Thomas Hindmarch (Nov 6)

Hermann Ortel a soap-boiler

Franklyn Kelsey (Nov 6)

Hans Schwarz a stocking-weaver

Eric Fort (Nov 6)


Philip Bertram (Nov 6)

Performance DatesMastersingers of Nuremberg 1924

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

6 Nov, 18.15

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

11 Nov, 18.15 29 Nov, 18.15

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