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Past Exhibition of the Month - September 2016

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D’Albert : Die toten Augen.  Vocal score.  Berlin, 1913.   Design by Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald.  Composed in 1912-13, the work’s premiere was delayed by the war.

D’Albert : Die toten Augen. Vocal score. Berlin, 1913. Design by Ilna Ewers-Wunderwald. Composed in 1912-13, the work’s premiere was delayed by the war.

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More Opera Premieres in 1916


For a year which marked the mid-point of the Great War, 1916 was surprisingly rich in operatic premieres, albeit for the most part of works of modest length.  In March we noted the centenary of the 18-year old Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s debut as an opera composer (Der Ring des Polykrates and Violanta).  Five further examples are mentioned here, with another (Das höllisch Gold by Julius Bittner) to follow in October.




CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD :  The Critic, or An Opera Rehearsed.
Opera in two acts.
Libretto by L. Cairns James and the composer, after Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s burlesque The Critic, or A Tragedy Rehearsed (Drury Lane, 1779).
London, Shaftesbury Theatre (Beecham Opera Company Season), 14 January 1916.

Characters in the Play :

Puff (the author) : Nigel Playfair
Dangle (the composer) : Arthur Wynn
Sneer (the critic) : Frederic Austin
Mr Hopkins (the under-prompter) : Lewis Morgan

Characters in the Opera :

Lord Burleigh : W. Parkyn Newton
Governor of Tilbury Fort and Justice : Herbert Langley
Earl of Leicester : Frederick Ranalow
Sir Walter Raleigh : Percy Heming
Don Ferolo Whiskerandos : Frank Mullings
Tilburina : Caroline Hatchard
Confidant : Lena Maitland

Conductor (‘Mr Thomas Linley’) : Eugene Goossens, jun.
Producer : L. Cairns James
Designer : Hugo Rumbold

(Please click the thumbnails below to view larger image)

Stanford : The Critic.  Libretto.  London, 1915.


ETHEL SMYTH : The Boatswain’s Mate
Comedy in one act.
Libretto by the composer, after a story by W.W.Jacobs.
London, Shaftesbury Theatre (Beecham Opera Company Season), 28 January 1916.

Harry Benn : Courtice Pounds
Mrs Waters : Rosina Buckman
Travers : Frederick Ranalow
Mary Ann : Norah Roy

Conductor : Ethel Smyth (first night only; subsequently Eugene Goossens, jun.)
Designer : Hugo Rumbold

Smyth : The Boatswain’s Mate.  Libretto.  London and Manchester, 1915.  Published in connection with a scheduled premiere in Frankfurt in March 1915 - at the same time as the first edition vocal score (which had in fact been engraved in Vienna).  This copy belonged to Muriel Gough, who sang Mrs Waters in the Old Vic performances from 1922.

Smyth : The Boatswain’s Mate.  Overture (piano arrangement).  Vienna,[1923?].  Offprint from a second edition of the vocal score, with English and German text, published in Vienna c.1920.


Opera in three tableaux.
Libretto by Fernando Periquet.
New York, Metropolitan Opera House, 28 January 1916 (in Spanish).

Rosario : Anna Fitziu
Fernando : Giovanni Martinelli
Paquiro : Giuseppe de Luca
Pepe : Flora Perini
Dancers : Rosina Galli, Giuseppe Bonfiglio

Conductor : Gaetano Bavagnoli
Producer : Jules Speck
Set designer : Antonio Rovescalli
Costume designer : G. B. Santoni

Granados : Goyescas.  Vocal score.  New York, 1915.  Sir Henry Wood’s copy.  Royal Academy of Music, London.


EUGEN D'ALBERT : Die toten Augen
Stage poem in one act.
Libretto by Hanns Heinz Ewers and Marc Henry, after Henry’s play Les Yeux Morts (1897)
Dresden, Hofoper, 5 March 1916.

Myrtocle : Helena Forti
Aurelius Galba : Curt Taucher (in 2 performances of the initial seven the role was sung by Richard Tauber)
Arcesius : Friedrich Plaschke

Conductor : Fritz Reiner


An episode from the Mahabharata.
Libretto by the composer.
London, Wellington Hall, St. John’s Wood (London School of Opera), 5 December 1916.

Satyavan : George Pawlo
Savitri : Mabel Corran
Death : Harrison Cook

Conductor : Herman Grunebaum
Producer : T.C.Fairbairn

Holst : Savitri.  Vocal score.  London, 1923.