Opera Scotland

Zauberflöte 1924British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Magic Flute

The Magic Flute was at last gaining popularity, and here received four performances - three of them in Glasgow.

The Scottish soprano Noël Eadie was renowned as a singer of the Queen of Night. This Edinburgh performance seems to be her operatic debut, and she kept the part in her repertoire for years.  In the 1930s she sang it in the early years of the Glyndebourne Festival, in the International Seasons at Covent Garden, and with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.


An Edinburgh Review

The Scotsman of Thursday, 6 November (p6) has to cover both the matinee of The Magic Flute and evening performance of Tannhäuser.  Both reviews are unusually long and detailed:

'The artists of the British National Opera Company deserved well of the Edinburgh public yesterday in providing on the same day excellent performances of The Magic Flute and of Tannhäuser.  They had their reward in large audiences at both performances.  A crowded audience can scarcely be expected at a mid-week matinee, but at yesterday afternoon's performance of The Magic Flute the King's Theatre presented a well-filled appearance; while at night the size of the audience suggested that Tannhäuser is still one of the most popular works in the operatic repertory, if not, indeed, its chief attraction.

The Magic Flute included in its cast some familiar impersonations, marked by an excellence which has now come to be accepted as a matter of course.  There was Mr Tudor Davies, of whom too little has been heard during the present visit of the company to Edinburgh, as Tamino, and perhaps singing with a greater charm than ever; there was Mr William Anderson as Sarastro, with the usual massive dignity of tone and interpretation;  and there was Mr Raymond Ellis as Papageno - a part which he has made peculiarly his own.

'Miss Eda Bennie sang with beautiful effect as Pamina; and Miss Noël Eadie, as Queen of Night, gave a brilliant endering of the very difficult music of the rôle.  The other characters were all in keeping with the merit of the performance as a whole, Mr Seph Jones as that diverting villain Monostatos, Miss Doris Lemon a delightful Papagena, and Mr Franklyn Kelsey a dignified Hierophant.

'The three Ladies had excellent representatives in Miss Doris Lemon, thus supporting two rôles in the opera; Miss May Blyth, and Miss Amy Sissons, the blending of the three voices being very effective.  The three boys were impersonated with a like success by the Misses Molly Street, jose Malone, and Gladys Leathwood; and Messrs Frederick Rickitt and Philip Bertram doubled the rôles of the two Priests and the guards in the last act.

'High praise is due to the chorus of priests in the temple scene, and the orchestral work had a fine artistic finish.  Mr Anthony Bernard conducted.  Mr Oliver Bernard's simple but impressive staging of the opera gave it just the right setting, although the lighting of the tableau in which the Queen of Night makes her first appearance was not entirely successful.'


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 (Pagliacci);   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

Tamino a Prince

Tudor Davies (Nov 5 m)

First Lady in attendance on the Queen

Doris Lemon (Nov 5 m)

Second Lady in attendance on the Queen

May Blyth (Nov 5 m)

Third Lady in attendance on the Queen

Amy Sissons (Nov 5 m)

Papageno a bird-catcher

Raymond Ellis (Nov 5 m)

Queen of Night

Noël Eadie (Nov 5 m)

Monostatos a servant in the Temple

Seph Jones (Nov 5 m)

Pamina daughter of the Queen of Night

Eda Bennie (Nov 5 m)

First Boy

Mollie Street (Nov 5 m)

Second Boy

Jose Malone (Nov 5 m)

Third Boy

Gladys Leathwood (Nov 5 m)

Speaker at the Temple

Franklyn Kelsey (Nov 5 m)

Sarastro High Priest of Isis and Osiris

William Anderson (Nov 5 m)

First Priest

Frederic Rickitt (Nov 5 m)

Second Priest

Philip Bertram (Nov 5 m)

Papagena disguised as an old woman

Doris Lemon (Nov 5 m)

First Armed Man

Frederic Rickitt (Nov 5 m)

Second Armed Man

Philip Bertram (Nov 5 m)

Performance DatesZauberflöte 1924

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

5 Nov, 14.00

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

13 Nov, 19.15 19 Nov, 14.00 26 Nov, 19.15

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