Opera Scotland

Mary Garden as Melisande

Pelléas and Mélisande in Scotland

A great new work

Pelléas et Mélisande was first produced in Scotland on 21 November 1913 at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh.

The performers were the Denhof Opera Company, a touring organization based in Edinburgh.  This company was founded by the expatriate Austrian musician Dr Ernst Denhof, initially to give performances of Wagner’s Ring. Instrumental support came from the Scottish Orchestra, as the RSNO was then known.

The conductor was Hans Schilling-Ziemssen and Hermann Gura directed. The...

Posted 19 Feb 2017 | Comments

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Claude Debussy

Enfant Prodigue in Scotland

The Prodigal Son (L'enfant prodigue) by Claude Debussy (pictured) received its first performance in Scotland on 2 December 1911, at the King's Theatre, Glasgow.

The performers were the Quinlan Opera Company, one of the important group of touring companies that operated without subsidy in the pre-war era. The previous evening they had presented the Scottish premiere of Puccini's latest piece, The Girl of the Golden West, while the two week Glasgow season also included performances of Wagner's...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 | Comments

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Benjamin Britten

Billy Budd in Scotland

Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd received its first Scottish performance on 28 March 1952, at the King's Theatre, Glasgow. The Covent Garden Opera were in Glasgow for two weeks as part of their then annual tour of major British cities. The production by Basil Coleman, in designs by John Piper, had launched the opera the previous year in London.

It was now conducted by Peter Gellhorn, with Edgar Evans as the Captain. With those two exceptions, the cast was identical to that of the premiere....

Posted 29 Nov 2016 | Comments

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Cherubino hiding when the Count arrives

Marriage of Figaro in Scotland

The Marriage of Figaro received its first performance in Scotland on 30 July 1819 at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. Singers from London including Catherine Stephens (Susanna) were engaged to perform for a season. Whether we would today entirely recognise the opera may be debated as the playbill describes it thus:”the Music chiefly selected from Mozart’s Operas, and adapted to the British Stage by Mr Bishop”.

Marriage of Figaro was later performed on 22 June 1824, again at the Theatre Royal,...

Posted 25 Oct 2016 | 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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