Opera Scotland

Trojans 1990Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Troyens

The 1990/91 season of Scottish Opera featured nine operas, most notably the world premiere of a new piece by Judith Weir, The Vanishing Bridegroom and the British premiere of an unknown American work, Regina by Mark Blitzstein. The three other new productions were Les Troyens, Fidelio and Falstaff. There were also revivals of Tosca, The Cunning Little Vixen and The Barber of Seville. It was also the first season in which the company introduced supertitles.

Like its 1969 staging, Scottish Opera's second production of The Trojans was a co-production, this time a three-way split with Welsh National and Opera North, with completely different casts assembled in each centre. It opened in Cardiff before moving to Leeds. The Scottish leg was therefore the final run of a generally excellent staging that was not revived by any of the participants. One advantage of the simplicity of Tim Albery's concept was that it could be toured more easily, so audiences in Aberdeen, who had been neglected in 1969 and 1972, did at last have a chance to see this glorious work.

1990 was the year when Glasgow celebrated its period as European Capital of Culture, and the Berlioz epic was an entirely appropriate way for Scottish Opera to contribute. Its first attempt at introducing supertitles (admittedly with a tendency to disappear occasionally) also encouraged the company to stage the work in French for the first time. The juxtaposition in repertoire of Les Troyens with the new Judith Weir piece, The Vanishing Bridegroom, also made an ideal package for the company to present when it made its first appearance at the Royal Opera House.

The only complaint related to the decision, followed by both the other companies, to play the work as though it were two separate operas. The reasons were almost entirely financial, generating significant extra income through selling two tickets for what was arguably one performance. However patrons were thus expected to suffer the inconvenience of travelling to the theatre on two successive evenings. The company did give one single-evening performance at the end of the Glasgow season, before travelling to London, where only complete performances would be tolerated.

For our records, we show the last three single evening performances commencing at 17.30. For the earlier performances, we show the first part, commencing at 19.15. It must be understood that these seven performances also included the second part on the following evening, so, for instance if Part I was given on 18 Sep, then Part II followed on the 19th. There were therefore a total of ten performances spread over seventeen evenings.

The series was dominated by the magnetic interpretations by Kathryn Harries of Dido and Katherine Ciesinski as Cassandra (not forgetting that Marie Slorach also made a very strong impression). Seppo Ruohonen was perhaps not the most subtle singer, but he was very effective. Steven Page was an unusually sympathetic Choroebus, and Patricia Bardon and Peter Rose made important company debuts. The entire enterprise was a complete triumph for John Mauceri, who produced wonderful playing from the orchestra.

Performance Cast

Cassandra a prophetess (Cassandre)

Katherine Ciesinski (Exc Sep 28; Oct 4, 26)

Marie Slorach (Sep 28; Oct 4, 26)

Ascanius son of Aeneas (Ascagne)

Andrea Bolton

Hecuba Queen of Troy, wife of Priam (Hécube)

Anne McLellan-Scott

Aeneas a Trojan commander, son of Venus and Anchises (Énée)

Seppo Ruohonen

Choroebus a young Asian, fiancé of Cassandra (Chorèbe)

Steven Page

Pantheus a Trojan priest and friend of Aeneas (Panthée)

David Marsh

Ghost of Hector Priam's eldest son

David Gwynne

Priam King of Troy

Glenville Hargreaves

Trojan Soldier

Jonathan Hawkins

Greek Captain

David Morrison

Helenus a Trojan priest, son of Priam

Stuart Neilson-Kemp

Andromache widow of Hector

Lucy Burge

Astyanax son of Hector and Andromache

Robin Brackenridge

Dido Queen of Carthage, widow of Sichaeus, Prince of Tyre (Didon)

Kathryn Harries

Anna Dido's sister

Patricia Bardon

Narbal adviser to Dido

Peter Rose

Iopas a Tyrien minstrel at Dido's court

Alasdair Elliott

Mercury Mercure

Dan O'Neill (Dancer)

David Morrison (Voice)

Hylas a young Phrygian sailor

Mark Curtis

First Soldier

Tom McVeigh

Second Soldier

William Peel

Ghost of Priam

Glenville Hargreaves

Ghost of Choroebus

Jonathan Hawkins (Exc Nov 28; Dec 3, 5)

Steven Page (Nov 28; Dec 3, 5)

Ghost of Cassandra

Fiona Hebenton (Exc Nov 28; Dec 3, 5)

Katherine Ciesinski (Nov 28; Dec 3, 5)

Performance DatesTrojans 1990

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

18 Sep, 19.15 28 Sep, 19.15 4 Oct, 19.15 30 Oct, 19.15 28 Nov, 17.30

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

26 Oct, 19.15

Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

9 Nov, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

16 Nov, 19.15

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden | London

3 Dec, 17.30 5 Dec, 17.30

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