Opera Scotland

John Adams's operas in Scotland

Nixon in China was the first opera by John Adams, and received its first British performance in Edinburgh on 01 September 1988, less than a year after its premiere in Houston.  This was a hugely successful event at the Playhouse, with the Houston company repeating the staging by Peter Sellars.  Most of the singers were familiar with their roles from that occasion, with the Nixons played by James Maddalena and Carolann Page.   James Duykers played Mao Tse-Tung, Sanford Sylvan was Chou En-lai...

Posted 20 Feb 2020 | Comments

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Rape of Lucretia in Scotland

As the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland presents this important Britten piece again, a review of its local history seems timely.

The Rape of Lucretia by Benjamin Britten (pictured) was premiered at Glyndebourne on 12 July 1946. 

Exactly one month later, with the original casts and on an extensive national tour, Lucretia received its first Scottish performance at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre on 12 August 1946.  Glasgow saw it the next week at the Theatre Royal.  In a staging by Eric...

Posted 17 Jan 2020 | Comments

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Tosca in Scotland

Tosca was given its first Scottish performance at Glasgow's Theatre Royal on 26 February 1910 by the Moody-Manners company.  It featured Fanny Moody herself in the title role and the Irish tenor Joseph O’Mara as Cavaradossi, with their leading baritone William Dever as Scarpia. The conductor was Richard Eckhold, a veteran who had played in orchestras directed by Wagner himself. 

Tosca was performed occasionally over the next forty years, but only became popular here after the war. Alexander...

Posted 7 Oct 2019 | Comments

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Magic Flute in Scotland

The Magic Flute was first performed in Scotland on 4 March 1864. This was at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, located in Shakespeare Square, at the top of Leith Walk.

The performers were Colonel Mapleson’s Italian Opera on one of its regular tours from London. As this company performed everything in Italian, this was Il flauto magico, with an international cast of generally reputable singers. The conductor was Luigi Arditi, also a well-known composer of songs. The cast included a great British...

Posted 14 May 2019 | Comments

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Welcome to Scotland's History

The Opera Scotland team have started to piece together Scotland's operatic history, something now largely forgotten. We have been working with the contents of libraries and archives as well as through on-line searches. We have been identifying singers, performances, touring companies and Scottish premieres.

We shall continue to build up what we believe will become a comprehensive picture, fleshing out the bare details and bringing to life an almost forgotten aspect of Scotland's cultural life. We are sure there is much more to discover.

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