Opera Scotland

Siegfried 1922British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Siegfried

The opening year of the British National Opera Company in 1922 saw six Wagner operas being staged. Parsifal, in its Scottish premiere, received six performances, The Mastersingers three and Tannhäuser two.  Single performances were given of Tristan and two of the Ring elements, The Valkyrie and Siegfried. What was not realised was the fact that the company would in 1923 perform a complete cycle, but do it in Glasgow, rather than Edinburgh.


We are grateful to Mr Bryan Coxson for information from a programme for Manchester (21 March 1924) specifying the following, which applies to all the Ring performances by BNOC:

Stage setting & lighting Oliver P Bernard.

Special electrical installations and apparatus entirely manufactured for the B. N. O. C. by the Strand Electrical and Engineering Company.


An Edinburgh Review

The Scotsman of Tuesday, 28 November (p4) reported on the single performance of Siegfried:

'Last night's revival of Siegfried at the King's Theatre was very welcome, for the opera has not been heard in Edinburgh since the days of the Denhof production of the Ring.  It was in every respect an admirable performance.

'Tenors who can give a convincing presentation of Siegfried are comparatively rare, for the character demands a combination of the heroic with a suggestion of youth.  Mr William Boland's reading of the part was, however, particularly successful,  There was a fine breadth and vigour in his singing, and the rendering of the music in the forge scene was a splendid piece of declamation.  The accompaniment, however,  while otherwise excellent throughout the opera, might, at this point, have been a little more accommodating.

'Mr Sydney Russell's Mime awakened pleasant recollections of his rendering of the same part during the Denhof performances.  As then, it was last night an arresting study in the fantastic.  Mr Russell's Mime had a worthy companion in the Alberich of Mr William Michael.  Mr Parker's Wotan was impressive, and the ponderous voice of Mr Norman Allin was employed to excellent purpose in the music of Fafner,

'After her magnificent appearances in The Valkyrie and Aïda, it was with particular interest that another opportunity was awaited of hearing Miss Florence Austral.  As in The Valkyrie, her Brünnhilde last night was superb.  There is something essentially grand in her singing, and with Mr Boland's fine Siegfried, the last act of the opera was about as nearly an ideal performance as could be imagined.

'Miss Edna Thornton as Erda and Miss Doris Lemon as the singer of the bird music completed a cast which was in keeping with the high standard set by the National Opera Company.

'Some of Wagner's most beautiful orchestral music is to be found in Siegfried.  The ''Waldweben'' music and that of Brünnhilde's awakening, celebrated as it may be, is no more than of a piece with the rest, and last night it was played delightfully.  Mr Aylmer Buesst conducted.

'As in The Valkyrie,  Mr Oliver Bernard's staging of the opera departed considerably from the Bayreuth tradition, and with complete advantage, broadly suggested effects taking the place of elaborately realistic scenery.  The audience was as large and enthusiastic as throughout the whole of last week.'


BNOC in Scotland - 1922 (Spring and Autumn)

This first season saw BNOC coming to Scotland twice. The spring visit, in March, consisted of three weeks in Edinburgh (King's Theatre).  In the autumn there were four weeks - two at Glasgow Theatre Royal, and two more in Edinburgh.

A total number of nineteen operas were included  - an astonishing number for a newly established company.  Wagner far outweighs any other composers, most notably Verdi:

They were by Mozart (Magic Flute);  Wagner (Tannhäuser,  Tristan and Isolde,   MastersingersValkyrieSiegfriedParsifal); Verdi (Aïda); Saint-Saêns (Samson and Delilah); Gounod (Faust); Offenbach (Goldsmith of Toledo);  Bizet (Carmen); Leoncavallo (Pagliacci); Puccini (BohèmeToscaMadam Butterfly); Debussy (Prodigal Son);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana); Charpentier (Louise).

The schedule was as follows:


Edinburgh, w/c 6 March:  Mon 6 Aida;  Tue 7 Parsifal;  Wed 8 mat Cav & Pag;  Wed 8 eve Tannhäuser; Thu 9 Carmen;  Fri 10 Samson and Delilah;  Sat 11 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 11 eve Faust.

Edinburgh, w/c 13 March:  Mon 13 Mastersingers;  Tue 14 Magic Flute;  Wed 15 mat Samson and Delilah;  Wed 15 eve Carmen; Thu 16 Goldsmith of Toledo;  Fri 17 Madam Butterfly;  Sat 18 mat Bohème;  Sat 18 eve Aïda.

Edinburgh, w/c 20 March:  Mon 20 Parsifal;  Tue 21 Samson and Delilah;  Wed 22 mat Parsifal;  Wed 22 eve Bohème; Thu 23 Mastersingers;  Fri 24 Goldsmith of Toledo;  Sat 25 mat Aïda;  Sat 25 eve Carmen.


Glasgow, w/c 6 November:  Mon 6 Parsifal;  Tue 7 Magic Flute;  Wed 8 mat Tosca;  Wed 8 eve Faust;  Thu 9 Louise;  Fri 10 Samson and Delilah;  Sat 11 mat Bohème;  Sat 11 eve Prodigal Son & Pagliacci.

Glasgow, w/c 13 November:  Mon 13 Aïda;  Tue 14 Goldsmith of Toledo;  Wed 15 mat Parsifal;  Wed 15 eve Magic Flute; Thu 16 Mastersingers;  Fri 17 Louise;  Sat 18 mat Madam Butterfly;  Sat 18 eve Faust.

Edinburgh, w/c 20 November:  Mon 20 Magic Flute;  Tue 21 Valkyrie;  Wed 22 mat Bohème;  Wed 22 eve Samson and Delilah; Thu 23 Aïda;  Fri 24 Louise;  Sat 25 mat Faust;  Sat 25 eve Tosca.

Edinburgh, w/c 27 November:  Mon 27 Siegfried;  Tue 28 Tristan and Isolde;  Wed 29 mat Magic Flute;  Wed 29 eve Goldsmith of Toledo; Thu 30 Louise;  Fri 1 Dec Bohème;  Sat 2 mat Parsifal;  Sat 2 eve Samson and Delilah.

Performance Cast

Mime a Nibelung, Siegfried's fosterer

Sydney Russell (Nov 27)

Siegfried son of Siegmund and Sieglinde

William Boland (Nov 27)

Wanderer Wotan in disguise

Robert Parker (Nov 27)

Alberich a Nibelung

William Michael (Nov 27)

Fafner disguised as a dragon

Norman Allin (Nov 27)


Doris Lemon (Nov 27)

Erda mother of the Norns and Valkyries

Edna Thornton (Nov 27)

Brünnhilde now a mortal

Florence Austral (Nov 27)

Performance DatesSiegfried 1922

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

27 Nov, 18.15

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