Opera Scotland


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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Packed to the gunnels: Is this a record?

“It is stated that a month’s season of opera in Glasgow by the Carl Rosa Opera Company brought a total spectatorate of over 70,000. War time or no war time, this is surely a record for grand opera anywhere in Great Britain. Will anyone say no, and prove that it isn’t? 

  • Aberdeen Evening Express Thursday 22 March 1917 p3 “Music Notes”

Researching the numbers

This press report gives a rare indication of audience numbers. Business records for the time are extremely scarce, and tend to note...

Posted 14 Apr 2019 | Comments

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Katya Kabanova in Scotland

Kátya Kabanovä was first performed in Scotland on 24 August 1964. This was at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, as part of that year’s International Festival. The performers were the opera company from the Prague National Theatre, under their principal conductor, Jaroslav Krombholc. The director was Hanuš Thein, with atmospheric sets by an influential Czech designer, Josef Svoboda.

Two sopranos alternated in the title role, Libuše Domanínská and Eva Zikmundová. Viktor Ko?í and Beno Blachut sang...

Posted 24 Mar 2019 | Comments

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Rigoletto in Scotland

Rigoletto received its first Scottish performance on 11 December 1867, at Glasgow’s newly-opened Royal Colosseum Theatre. (The image is from the last act of the premiere in 1851). Madame Lancia’s Grand English Opera Company visited Glasgow on a national tour in which the singers included Charles Durand (Rigoletto), William Parkinson (Duke), Florence Lancia herself (Gilda), Carlotta Zerbini (Maddalena) and Mr Tempest (Sparafucile).

Just over a year later the Grand Italian Opera from London...

Posted 22 Sep 2018 | 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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