Opera Scotland

International Celebrity Concert 1933International Celebrity Concert

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London Philharmonic Orchestra

Sir Thomas Beecham conductor

Eva Turner soprano

This was the first visit to Scotland by the recently constituted London Philharmonic, Sir Thomas Beecham's new orchestra.  He had fallen out with the LSO, and would eventually (after the war) sever his ties with the LPO and start up the Royal Philharmonic. This three orchestra structure survives in London today as a result of his activities.

There are at present two other symphony orchestras based in London.  The Philharmonia was set up after the war by Walter Legge, initially for making studio recordings.  The BBC Symphony was operating in 1933, but it was known as the Queen's Hall Orchestra and directed by Sir Henry Wood.  The hall was destroyed in the Blitz and Sir Henry died in 1944, leading to the future involvement of the BBC.

Dame Eva Turner visited Scotland, including Dundee and Aberdeen, frequently between 1919 and 1924, during her years as a principal with Carl Rosa.  After that she moved to Milan and began her famous international career.  By 1933 she had returned to sing more often in the UK.  After this concert tour she appeared in the 'International' seasons at the Royal Opera House.  She toured with the Covent Garden company, visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow, though not going north of the central belt.

With the country in the throes of deep depression, touring activity was much reduced. This was the only appearance by a major orchestra scheduled in Dundee for the 1933-34 season.

It is likely that the principal oboe player the critic refers to with such enthusiasm in the Bizet was the great Leon Goossens.

Additional Scottish dates to be confirmed.



Beethoven: Overture Leonora No3.

Wagner: Prelude Act 3 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

Bizet: Suite La Jolie Fille de Perth.

Weber: Aria 'Leise, Leise' Der Freischütz.

Wagner: Aria 'Dich, teure Halle' Tannhäuser.

Sibelius: Symphony No2.


Review of Dundee Concert

Dundee Courier & Advertiser: Saturday, 7 October 1933

Dundee Concert Season Opens - Sir Thomas Beecham's Great Conducting - Operatic Arias by Miss Eva Turner

'Dundee had an auspicious opening for its musical season in the Caird Hall last night with a visit of Sir Thomas Beecham, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Miss Eva Turner, the celebrated operatic soprano.

'Sir Thomas presented a carefully-selected programme for the only orchestral concert by a professional body Dundee seems likely to enjoy this season.

'Pride of place was given to the Sibelius Second Symphony, and once again Sir Thomas showed his remarkable versatility, his wide and ever-extending sympathy with everything that bears the stamp of genius, originality, and honesty in the realm of music.

'The magnetism of the Beecham personality grows upon one the more one sees him.  He electrifies everything he approaches musically.  He seems to miss not the slightest detail which will reveal the beauties of the score and even enhance the composer's intention.

'His work is fired with enthusiasm, and he transmits that enthusiasm to the men under his control.  The orchestra responds as one man to the most delicate numance, the minutest subtlety he wills.  His conducting is as expressive to look at as it is in result.  His work last night from beginning to end left one with the impression of a master hand playing upon a perfect instrument.

'The programme was opened with Beethoven's Leonora No3 Overture, a work that brings out in striking form some of the outstanding characteristics of Beethoven's genius, His eloquence in voicing the deeper human emotions, the beauty of form in which he clothed his musical thoughts, and the fine constraint with which he balanced and shaped these into a perfect work of art.

'The poignantly haunting melody that forms the basis of the overture was worked up to a climax of breathless intensity that will be long a memory for all who were privileged to hear it.

'In the prelude to the third act of The Mastersingers, that moving meditation of Hans Sachs, which has been described as the musical equivalent to the soliloquies of Shakespeare, the fine, solid roundness of the brass section was revealed.  The work of the strings was also marked by a beautiful ethereal quality.

'The wood winds got their special chance in Bizet's delightfully naive and cleverly-orchestrated suite from The Fair Maid of Perth.  In particular the work of the oboeclaimed the attentin of the listeners.  While losing none of the genuine tang of the oboe tone there was a fullness and freshness about it that made it outstanding.

'Sibelius's skill in handling big orchestral masses and his deft manipulation of orchestral colouring has been slow to force itself on the public, because it lends itself to dazzling, kaleidoscopic effects.  Its force lies in painting sombre pictures that, rightly or wrongly, one instinctively associates with the land of his birth.

'In Agathe's big aria from Der Freischütz, ''Leise, Leise,'' Miss Eva Turner found ample scope, not only to display the excellent quality of her voice and the highly developed technique she has at her command but that fine dramatic instinct that has earned for her an outstanding position on the Continental stage as an operatic singer.

'While charmingly insisting on sharing the honours with Sir Thomas and his henchmen, Miss Turner graciously responded to a vociferous demand for an encore with ''Elizabeth's Greeting'' from Tannhäuser, sung, to the delight of the audience, in English.'

Performance Cast


Eva Turner

Performance DatesInternational Celebrity Concert 1933

Map List

Caird Hall | Dundee

6 Oct, 19.30

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