Opera Scotland

Tosca 1922British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Tosca

It seems strange nowadays, when Tosca is one of the most popular of all operas, but in the nineteen twenties, reviewers seemed to take the view that it was definitely inferior to either Bohème or Butterfly.  It is even accused of lacking memorable tunes!


Edinburgh in the Autumn

The Scotsman of Monday, 27 November (p6) reported on the Saturday evening Tosca, as well as the matinee of Faust:

'Tosca at night was equally meritorious.  Not quite so tuneful as its better-known companions, Madam Butterfly and La Bohème, it has nevertheless all Puccini's skill in giving poignant musical expression to a dramatic situation.  Founded on Sardou's play, it makes great demands on the acting of the artistes, and to these there was always an effective response.

'As the heroine, Miss Leah Rusel-Myre was perhaps a little overweighted in the more tragic moments of the part.  In the first act, however, as the spoilt child of fortune, charming, capricious, and jealous, she ood, and there was an abundant intensity in her great scene with Scarpia.  Mr Percy Heming's Scarpia was appropriately distinguished and sinister, and there was an artistic reserve in his playing upon the feelings of Tosca and Cavaradossi in the second act.

'Mr William Boland's Cavaradossi was on a par with other masterly interpretations in which he has been seen in Edinburgh.  Vocally, it was beautiful in its sentiment, and as a piece of acting it was equally fine, the outburst in which, after being tortured, he defies Scarpia being magnificent in its effect.

'Of the remaining characters, Mr Sydney Russell's Spoletta was convincingly dramatic; the Sacristan of Mr William Anderson was a finished little study;  and Miss Muriel Brunskill sang the music allotted to the unseen shepherd boy in the last act with a fine charm.

'The staging of the opera was handsome and appropriate.  Mr Aylmer Buesst conducted.


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

Mario Cavaradossi a painter

William Boland (Nov 25 e)


William Anderson (Nov 25 e)

Floria Tosca a famous singer

Leah Rusel-Myre (Nov 25 e)

Baron Scarpia Chief of Police

Percy Heming (Nov 25 e)

Spoletta police agent

Sydney Russell (Nov 25 e)

Shepherd boy

Muriel Brunskill (Nov 25 e)

Performance DatesTosca 1922

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

8 Nov, 14.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

25 Nov, 19.30

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