Opera Scotland

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La bohème in Scotland

La Bohème was first performed in Scotland (under the title The Bohemians) on 30 April 1897 at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.

 Just eight days previously in Manchester, Carl Rosa Opera had given the first British performance watched by Puccini himself, as well as his publisher, Tito Ricordi. Their Glasgow soloists were identical. The conductor was Claude Jaquinot, and the cast was headed by a leading American soprano as Mimì. Alice Esty, having already sung at the Met, had now made her home in...

Posted 15 Apr 2017 | Comments

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Bluebeard and Judith

Duke Bluebeard's Castle in Scotland

Duke Bluebeard's Castle was first performed in Scotland on 30 January 1957 at the Lyric Theatre, Glasgow in a version of the score edited by Erik Chisholm for a chamber orchestra of fifteen players. This important Glaswegian musician had taken up an appointment as Dean, Professor and Principal at the College of Music, University of Cape Town in April 1946. He brought a group of his South African musicians to the UK, where they opened in London. Chisholm conducted and directed, with soloists...

Posted 3 Apr 2017 | Comments

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Mary Garden as Melisande

Pelléas and Mélisande in Scotland

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 soloists, singing...

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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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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