Opera Scotland

Fiery Angel in Scotland

Posted 17 Nov 2017

The Fiery Angel received its first performance in Scotland on 24 August 1970 at the King's Theatre Edinburgh, as the opening event of that year's International Festival. The performers were the Frankfurt Opera under conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi.

The Frankfurt cast was led by the magnetic dramatic soprano Anja Silja as Renata. She gave a hugely impressive performance of the exhausting role. Rudolf Constantin played the knight Ruprecht, also on stage a lot. The fortune teller at the start was played by Sona Cervena, a favourite with local audiences, who was singing in Scottish Opera's Henze production on her nights off from Prokofiev. Dieter Weller dominated the final scenes as the Inquisitor.

The production displeased some who were already familiar with the opera, as it cut the important scenes involving the characters of Faust and Mephistopheles. It seems that in Germany at the time it was not seen as acceptable to tinker with characters derived from Goethe - Gounod's Faust always used to encounter similar problems of acceptance.

Of greater interest to many of the local journalists and politicians was the fact that the staging ended with a hysterical orgy, complete with topless nuns.

Both performances of this potentially difficult piece were sold out.

Check out more details here.

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