Opera Scotland

Poster for Turandot premiere

First performance of Turandot in Scotland

Posted 21 Jul 2013

Pussini's Turandot received its first performance in Scotland in Aberdeen's His Majesty's Theatre on 4 October 1929.  The company was Covent Garden Opera, known since 1968 as the Royal Opera, which in those days made tours of the provinces. In 1929, the Scottish leg involved a week in Aberdeen followed by two in Glasgow. 

The Aberdeen week included a matinee so there were seven performances in all; no opera was given twice.  The week's performances required 700 costumes, and so seventy baskets came up by train. The Aberdeen Journal described Turandot's three dresses at length - the costumes had been borrowed from La Scala, and were those used in the first-ever staging three years earlier. Our image is from the poster for the original production (credit wikimedia commons).

The house was packed and the staging described as one of the best seen in Aberdeen for many a long day.  Sadly, the press reported that the visit had not been a financial success.  The need for government subsidy for opera was not to be accepted until after the war.

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