November 1930: “Is Opera in English Doomed?” – an Address to Glasgow Rotary Club, by Moses Baritz, of the Columbia Gramophone Company

An article on page eleven of The Glasgow Herald, on Wednesday the 12th of November, 1930, reads:




‘This is the only country in the world—except the United States, which always follows suit regarding

snobbery—where the language is not good enough to use in opera,’ said Mr Moses Baritz, of the

Columbia Gramophone Company, in an address to Glasgow Rotary Club yesterday. His subject was

‘Is Opera in English Doomed?’ Listeners-in, he said, could hear opera in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish,

French, German, and Italian, but at Covent Garden they did not hear ‘Tannhauser’ in English, but in

German, and they heard ‘La Boheme’ in Italian. They ought to insist here, as was done in France, on a

certain number of operas by native composers being produced every year, irrespective of profit or

loss. The State or the municipality could subsidise opera in other countries, and there was no reason

why they should not create an enthusiasm for the endowing or subsidising of an opera house in Glasgow

or a national opera house for Scotland.”




Moses Baritz (1883-1938) was a Manchester-born British journalist and a founding member of the Socialist

Party of Great Britain. He developed an interest in music, especially the work of Wagner, and provided public

lectures on this subject. Baritz also began broadcasting on the BBC’s Manchester radio station, 2ZY. In

addition to working as a music critic for the Manchester Guardian, he was employed by the Columbia Gramophone

Company, lecturing on its behalf and acting as a musical adviser.




George Fairfull-Smith, June 2021.