Opera Scotland

Aïda 1923British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Aïda




The Critic Speaks

The Glasgow Herald of Monday, 9 April (p10) reported on the previous Saturday's matinee of Hansel and Gretel, with Aïda in the evening:

'For the evening performance every available seat in the Coliseum was occupied, and the standing room was also fully taken up.  In selecting Aïda as the closing opera the management no doubt had in mind its great festival qualities.  it is a popular work, full of opportunities for effective stage settings and big spectacular ensembles, and it calls out the full resources of the company, chorus, ballet, and stage band.  it gives scope also for big singing on the part of the principals.

'Unfortunately this closing performance was shorn of much of its gala effect by the serious indisposition of Mr Frank Mullings who was making on this occasion his only appearance of the Glasgow season.  Before the performance began the indulgence of the audience was craved on his behalf, and it was announced that Mr Mullings would omit the solo in the first act, the favourite, ''Celeste Aïda.''  With a small-voiced Radames, who had perforce to accommodate the vocal score to his temporary limitations, the opera was carried through at a serious disadvantage, for which the brilliant singing of the other principals could not fully compensate.  It was heroic of Mr Mullings to undertake the part, for he would certainly have served his own interests better if he had not sung at all.

'Miss Beatrice Miranda sang finely as Aïda, excepting that much of her very soft singing lost quality and scarcely reached the auditorium.  It sounded insignificant rather than soft.  The Amneris of Miss Edna Thornton was vocally at its best in the first scene of Act 4.  This is the great scene for Amneris, and its brilliant performance on Saturday secured an ovation for Miss Thornton.  The procession of priests across the stage in this scene  was not impressive due to the straggling effect of some of the couples.  This is a small matter but it is worth putting right.

'Mr Robert Parker gave a fine study of the part of Amonasro, while the King of Mr Collier and the High Priest of Mr William Anderson were also effectively rendered.  The chorus, augmented by the Glasgow Grand Opera Society, sang splendidly, and the ballet, with Eily Gerald as principal, contributed some brilliant dancing.  Mr Percy Pitt conducted, and the orchestra played well.

'There was great and continued enthusiasm at the final fall of the curtain.  Mr Walter Hyde appeared to thank the Glasgow public on behalf of his co-directors and the company for their support during the season just concluded.  He announced that the company will return to the city at the end of October, and hope to bring with them several notable additions to their repertoire.'


BNOC in Scotland - 1923 (Spring & Autumn)

The company's Spring visit lasted five weeks - two in Edinburgh (King's Theatre) and three in Glasgow (at the Coliseum, as the Theatre Royal was not available).

Returning in the autumn, the visit again lasted five weeks - four in Glasgow (this time at the Theatre Royal) and one in Edinburgh (King's Theatre).

The 29 operas performed were Bach (Phoebus and Pan);  Mozart (Seraglio,  Marriage of Figaro,  Magic Flute);  Wagner (Tannhäuser,  Mastersingers,  Rhinegold,  Valkyrie,  Siegfried,  Twilight of the Gods);  Verdi (TrovatoreAïda Otello);  Gounod (Faust);  Bizet (Carmen);  Saint-Saëns (Samson and Delilah);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Puccini (Bohème,  Tosca,  Madam Butterfly,  Gianni Schicchi);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana);  Humperdinck (Hansel and Gretel);  Debussy (Pelléas and Mélisande);  Charpentier (Louise);  Smyth (Boatswain's Mate,  Fête Galante);  Holst (Savitri,  Perfect Fool).

The schedule was as follows:


Edinburgh, w/c 5 March:  Mon 5 Samson and Delilah;  Tue 6 Marriage of Figaro;  Wed 7 mat Hansel and Gretel;  Wed 7 eve Aïda; Thu 8 Madam Butterfly;  Fri 9 Carmen;  Sat 10 mat Phoebus and Pan & Pagliacci;  Sat 10 eve Trovatore.

Edinburgh, w/c 12 March:  Mon 12 Seraglio;  Tue 13 Tannhäuser;  Wed 14 mat Marriage of Figaro;  Wed 14 eve Hansel and Gretel;  Thu 15 Magic Flute;  Fri 16 Mastersingers;  Sat 17 mat Bohème;  Sat 17 eve Faust.

Glasgow, w/c 19 March:  Mon 19 Rhinegold;  Tue 20 Valkyrie;  Wed 21 mat Hansel and Gretel;  Wed 21 eve Phoebus and Pan & Pagliacci;  Thu 22 Madam Butterfly;  Fri 23 Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 24 mat Magic Flute;  Sat 24 eve Trovatore.

Glasgow, w/c 26 March:  Mon 26 Seraglio;  Tue 27 Siegfried;  Wed 28 mat Samson and Delilah;  Wed 28 eve Louise;  Thu 29 Phoebus and Pan & Pagliacci;  Fri 30 Hansel and Gretel;  Sat 31 mat Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 31 eve Madam Butterfly.

Glasgow, w/c 2 April:  Mon 2 Carmen;  Tue 3 Mastersingers;  Wed 4 mat Bohème;  Wed 4 eve Samson and Delilah;  Thu 5 Magic Flute;  Fri 6 Twilight of the Gods; Sat 7 mat Hansel and Gretel;  Sat 7 eve Aïda.


Glasgow, w/c 29 October:  Mon 29 Magic Flute;  Tue 30 Samson and Delilah;  Wed 31 mat Phoebus and Pan & Pagliacci;  Wed 31 eve Bohème;  Thu 1 Nov Aïda;  Fri 2 Valkyrie;  Sat 3 mat Hansel and Gretel;  Sat 3 eve Madam Butterfly.

Glasgow, w/c 5 November:  Mon 5 Savitri Perfect Fool;  Tue 6 Louise;  Wed 7 mat Madam Butterfly;  Wed 7 eve Cavalleria Rusticana & Gianni Schicchi;  Thu 8 Siegfried;  Fri 9 Otello;  Sat 10 mat Magic Flute;  Sat 10 e Faust.

Glasgow, w/c 12 November:  Mon 12 Aïda;  Tue 13 Mastersingers;  Wed 14 mat Samson and Delilah;  Wed 14 eve Savitri & Perfect Fool;  Thu 15 Tosca;  Fri 16 Bohème;  Sat 17 mat Fête Galante & Bosun's Mate;  Sat 17 eve Phoebus and Pan & Gianni Schicchi.

Glasgow, w/c 19 November:  Mon 19 Faust;  Tue 20 Otello;  Wed 21 mat Hansel and Gretel;  Wed 21 eve Aïda;  Thu 22 Pelléas and Mélisande;  Fri 23 Fête Galante & Boatswain's Mate;  Sat 24 mat Cav & Pag;  Sat 24 eve Magic Flute.

Edinburgh, w/c 26 November:  Mon 26 Aïda;  Tue 27 Louise;  Wed 28 mat Fête Galante & Boatswain's Mate;  Wed 28 eve Phoebus and Pan & Gianni Schicchi;  Thu 29 Pelléas and Mélisande;  Fri 30 Savitri & Perfect Fool;  Sat 31 mat Magic Flute;  Sat 31 eve Madam Butterfly.

Performance Cast

Ramfis High Priest

William Anderson (Apr 7 e)

Radamès Captain of the Guard

Frank Mullings (Apr 7 e)

Amneris daughter of the King of Egypt

Edna Thornton (Apr 7 e)

Aïda an Ethiopian slave

Beatrice Miranda (Apr 7 e)

King of Egypt

Frederic Collier (Apr 7 e)

Amonasro King of Ethiopia and father of Aïda

Robert Parker (Apr 7 e)

Performance DatesAïda 1923

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

7 Mar, 19.00 26 Nov, 19.00

Coliseum | Glasgow

7 Apr, 18.45

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

1 Nov, 19.00 12 Nov, 19.00 21 Nov, 19.00

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