John Socman is an opera in three acts by George Lloyd to a libretto by William Lloyd (the composer’s father). It was first performed by the Carl Rosa Opera Company at the Bristol Hippodrome, England on 15 May 1951. The work was one of three operatic commissions to mark the Festival of Britain (the others being The Pilgrim’s Progress and Billy Budd).
Annette Phillips, director of Carl Rosa commented that George Lloyd was chosen for the 1951 Festival commission given the talent he had shown in his two previous operas, but that for financial reasons John Socman could not remain in the repertory, despite an enthusiastic reception from audiences. The producer was Dennis Arundell, and a single performance followed in Northern Ireland.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 15 May 1951
Conductor: Arthur Hammond
|John Socman, a magistrate||baritone||Redvers Llewellyn|
|Sybil, in love with Richard||soprano||Ruth Packer|
|Warner, a Lollard scholar, Sybil's father||bass|
|Richard, an archer, in love with Sybil||tenor||John Myrddin|
|Gower, Socman's servant||baritone|
|Mawle, the sheriff's man||bass|
|The Gleemaiden, a wandering singer||mezzo-soprano||Gita Denise|
|Brother Tom, a disreputable cleric||tenor||Tudor Davies|
|Sir Hugh Marnay||baritone|
|First farmer's son|
|Second farmer's son|
On return from France, Richard discovers that his sweetheart Sybil is being pursued by John Socman who hopes to force her to marry him in order to avoid having her father, a follower of John Wycliffe, executed as a heretic. Eventually Socman is revealed to have abandoned a wife years before.
- Lloyd: John Socman (Highlights) – Malcolm Rivers (baritone), Thomas Booth (tenor), Janice Watson (soprano), Michael George (bass), David Wilson-Johnson (bass), Diana Montague (soprano); Philharmonia Orchestra, London Voices; George Lloyd (conductor). Label: Albany Records 131.
Notes and references
- Banfield S. John Socman. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London & New York, 1997.
- Banfield S. George Lloyd. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London & New York, 1997.
- Phillips A. Opera in Great Britain: Carl Rosa. In: Opera Annual 1954-1955. Ed Rosenthal H. John Calder Ltd, London, 1954.
- Opera diary. Review, Opera, 1951, p421.