Opera Scotland

Pagliacci 1923British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Pagliacci

For the first four of these performances Pagliacci followed after the comic adaptation of Bach called Phoebus and Pan.  Only for the fifth slot does it resume its usual place after Cavalleria Rusticana.

At most of these performances, Frank Mullings had a leading role in the foolery played before the interval, which must have been an enjoyable change for him, as he was distinctly typecast as a player of the ultra-serious - Tristan, Otello, Canio, etc.

It is quite unusual for one of the principals to appear in a leading part in both Saturday shows, but Beatrice Miranda, having already sung Nedda in Pagliacci at the matinee, went on to take part as Leonora in the evening Trovatore.  These were both parts she had performed frequently with Carl Rosa in the years since 1909.

The Scotsman further reveals, on Monday, 26 November, that at the previous Saturday matinee (Cav & Pag), Beatrice Miranda sang both Santuzza and Nedda.


Critical Response

The Scotsman of Monday, 12 March (p6) commented on the previous Saturday's performances.  These were Il Trovatore in the evening, with a double bill at the matinee of Phoebus and Pan followed by Pagliacci:

'Following Phoebus and Pan came I Pagliacci, with Miss Beatrice Miranda as Nedda, Mr Fank Mullings as Canio, Mr Robert Parker as Tonio, Mr Raymond Ellis as Silvio, and Mr Brownning Mummery as Beppe.  From the Prologue, magnificently delivered by Mr Robert Parker, to the tragic finale, it was as fine a rendering of Leoncavallo's opera as has ben seen in Edinburgh.

'The passion of the story was never made unduly melodramatic, and there was a convincing earnestness in the work of the three principal actors.  The tragedy within a farce, of the play-scene, was excellently carried out, and for the real, as for the fictitious audience on the stage, the dénouement came with a suggestion of surprise, in the swiftness of which, at the last, it rose to its climax.

'The two operas were conducted by Mr Aylmer Buesst.'


In the Autumn

The Glasgow Herald of Thursday, 1 November (p10) reviewed the previous afternoon's double bill in which Pagliacci was preceded by Phoebus and Pan:

('it should not be forgotten that the earlier scores of Bach and Mozart by reason of the clarity of their idiom are more in need of regular attention than the modern works.')

'Pagliacci gave proof of this.  Here the orchestral work was on a much higher plane and contributed greatly to the success of a specially good performance.  Mr Mullings as Canio sang in splendid style, and was worthily partnered by Miss Beatrice Miranda and Mr Robert Parker. The performance was also specially good on the histrionic side, and the entire production aroused much enthusiasm.

'Mr Aylmer Buesst conducted both operas.'


The Edinburgh End of Season Perspective

The Scotsman critic travelled to Glasgow for the matinee of Cav & Pag, reviewed, briefly, on Monday, 26 November (p6) along with the evening's Magic Flute:

'The British National Opera Company's visit to Glasgow terminated on Saturday.  There has been every reason for satisfaction with the patronage accorded during the four weeks  over which the season has extended.

'Three favourite works were performed on Saturday - Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci in the afternoon and The Magic Flute in the evening; and at both performances there were crowded attendances.

'Miss Beatrice Miranda played and sang the role of Santuzza with appropriate spirit, and Miss Constance Willis cleverly personated the fickle Lola.  Mr Browning Mummery and Mr William Michael were both very successful as Turiddu and Alfio.

'In Pagliacci, Miss Beatrice Miranda was excellent as Nedda, and the four male parts were filled ably by Mr Walter Widdop,  Mr Robert Parker,  Mr Raymond Ellis and Mr Sydney Russell.


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

Tonio a player

Robert Parker (Mar 10 m; Oct 31 m; Nov 24 m)

Canio leader of the players

Frank Mullings (Mar 10 m; Oct 31 m)

Walter Widdop (Nov 24 m)

Nedda Canio's wife

Beatrice Miranda (Mar 10 m; Oct 31 m; Nov 24 m))

Beppe a player

Browning Mummery (Mar 10 m)

Sydney Russell (Nov 24 m)

Silvio a villager

Raymond Ellis (Mar 10 m; Nov 24 m)

Performance DatesPagliacci 1923

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

10 Mar, 14.00

Coliseum | Glasgow

21 Mar, 19.30 29 Mar, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

31 Oct, 14.00 24 Nov, 14.00

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