Skip to main content


Holbrooke: Dylan, Son of the Wave. Vocal score. London, 1910.

Two English Operas first performed in the summer of 1914

July 2014

JOSEF HOLBROOKE : Dylan, Son of the Wave. Opera in 3 acts. Text by Thomas Evelyn Ellis (8th Baron Howard de Walden). First performed Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 4 July 1914. (Sir Joseph Beecham’s Grand Opera Season) Designer : Sidney H. Sime. Conductor : Thomas Beecham.
Dylan : Frederic Austin
Sea King : Edmund Burke
Gwyddno : Frank Mullings
Govannion : Robert Radford
Gwydion : Robert Maitland
Seithenin : Frederick Ranalow
Elan : Doris Woodall
Dylan, Son of the Wave was the second in a trilogy of operas, The Cauldron of Annwn, to texts by the 8th Baron Howard de Walden (1880-1946) based on the Welsh Mabinogion ; it was however the first to be composed and published. The Children of Don had its premiere at Oscar Hammerstein’s London Opera House (later the Stoll Theatre) on 15 June 1912 with Arthur Nikisch conducting, while Bronwen was first performed by the Carl Rosa Opera Company in Huddersfield on 1 February 1929.  The trilogy was never played complete and Dylan‘s three performances in 1914 were all it ever received. The poet Dylan Thomas was named after the hero.

RUTLAND BOUGHTON : The Immortal Hour. Music drama in 2 acts. Text adapted from the play and poems of ‘Fiona Macleod’ (William Sharp). First performed Assembly Rooms, Glastonbury, 26 August 1914.  (Glastonbury Summer Festival) Costume Designer :  Christina Walshe.  Conductor : Charles Kennedy Scott.
Dalua : Rutland Boughton
Etain : Irene Lemon
Eochaidh : Frederic Austin
Spirit Voice : Muriel Boughton
Manus : Neville Strutt
Maive : Agnes Thomas
Old Bard : Arthur Trowbridge
Midir : Arthur Jordan
Chorus of Druids and Warriors : The Wookey Hole Male Voice Choir
The Immortal Hour was by far the most successful of early 20th-century British operas. The Glastonbury production was many times revived and brought to London’s Old Vic Theatre in May 1920. A production by Barry Jackson for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre was first performed on 23 June 1921 and at London’s Regent Theatre, King’s Cross ran for 216 nights from 13 October 1922. This production was designed by Paul Shelving and starred Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, Walter Johnstone-Douglas and Arthur Cranmer. The opera was seen in New York in 1926 and was in the repertory of Sadler’s Wells Opera in the early 1950s.