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British National Opera Company

British National Opera Company (BNOC). Formed 1921 by singers and instrumentalists of Sir Thomas Beecham's opera co., disbanded when financial difficulties compelled Beecham's temporary withdrawal from mus. scene. F.p. at Bradford in Feb. 1922, opera being Aida. Dir. was Percy Pitt, succeeded 1924 by Frederic Austin. Most of its work was in the provinces, with short seasons at CG and His Majesty's Th. Repertory was wide, embracing Wagner, Debussy, the Italians and several Eng. works, e.g. Vaughan Williams's Hugh the Drover and Holst's The Perfect Fool and At the Boar's Head. Co. incl. most of leading British singers and conds. of day, Barbirolli, Boult, Harty, and Sargent among the latter, and Allin, Radford, Labbette, Turner, Mullings, Heming, and Nash among former. Co. ceased to exist, crippled by entertainment tax, in 1929, but was re-named Covent Garden English Company, with Barbirolli as mus. dir., in Sept. 1929 and survived in that form for another 3 seasons.

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