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King Arthur


We have produced a Style Guide to help editors follow a standard format when editing a listing. If you are unsure how best to edit this programme please take a moment to read it.
By the Harold Brooke Choir
Relayed from Bishopsgate Institute
Elsie Suddaby (soprano); Roland Jackson (tenor); Stuart Robertson (bass)

King Arthur, though called 'an Opera', is no Opera in any modern sense of the name. It is a play, with much incidental music; and, indeed, it hardly differs in general form from a modern Musical Comedy. The Libretto is by Dryden.
The subject-matter of the opera is a contest between the Britons, under the leadership of King Arthur, and the Saxon invaders who had settled in Kent under Oswald.

The first scene of Act I represents the British camp, where preparations are being made to attack the foe. Arthur, betrothed to Emmeline, the blind daughter of the Duke of Cornwall, bids him farewell.
The next scene shows us the Saxon camp, with the army and their leaders sacrificing to the gods Woden, Thor, and Freya. (Here Purcell's vocal music commences.) A battle ensues, and the British prevail.

In Act II the Saxons employ a magician and his attendant sprites to harass the Britons and lead them astray into bogs and pitfalls. Philidel, one of the attendants, repents, and is persuaded by Merlin, a British magician, to transfer her arts to the aid of Arthur and the Britons. The blind Emmeline having been captured by Oswald, the Saxon king, her place of captivity is discovered by Merlin, who sends Philidel to her with a magic liquid which restores her sight.

In the meantime, Osmond, the Saxon magician, becomes enamoured of Emmeline, imprisons King Oswald, and, by the exercise of his magic power, displays to Emmeline the force and power of love in the 'Frost Scene' of Act III.
Arthur, marching to destroy Osmond's enchanted grove, is waylaid by sirens, nymphs, sylvans, and an evil spirit disguised as Emmeline but, protected by Philidel, he resists their arts.

The failure of Osmond's magic spell induces him to release Oswald, who challenges Arthur, but is defeated and disarmed, and on promising to return to his native land, is permitted to depart with his followers. Emmeline is rescued and restored; the magician Osmond imprisoned, and Merlin foretells the future greatness of Britain.


Soprano: Elsie Suddaby
Tenor: Roland Jackson
Bass: Stuart Robertson

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Feedback about King Arthur, 5GB Daventry (Experimental), 21.00, 14 December 1927
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