Opera Scotland

Gambler 1962Belgrade Opera

Read more about the opera Gambler

As part of the Edinburgh International Festival, the company from Belgrade were imported to fill a gap in the repertoire - Russian opera had hitherto been ignored, and the Yugoslavs provided the closest to an authentic slavonic sound that we were likely to hear, even if some of the singers had a tendency to perform in Serbo-Croat.

The repertoire they brought was wonderfully unusual and enterprising. The Russian rarities were Musorgsky's Khovanshchina, Borodin's Prince Igor and Prokofiev's Gambler and Love for Three Oranges, both receiving British premieres. The non-Russian rarity was Massenet's Don Quichotte. Most of these works have now entered the programmes of several British companies.

The other opera at the Festival was presented by the English Opera Group - a new staging of Britten’s tense little masterpiece, The Turn of the Screw, with two of the original cast from 1954, Peter Pears and Jennifer Vyvyan, still in the roles they created.

The Gambler has taken a long time to settle into the general repertoire. It was composed during the First World War, but not performed until 1929, by which time it had undergone substantial revision. These two performances in Edinburgh were the British premiere, and the work has not reappeared in Scotland since.

In 1983, David Pountney, who had previously directed the opera at Wexford, mounted it for ENO at the London Coliseum, and that production was revived in 1990.

Performance Cast

Alexei tutor to the General's children

Drago Starć

Pauline the General's step-daughter

Valerija Heybal

General a retired officer

Žarko Cvejić

Babulenka (Grandmother) the General's elderly relation

Milica Miladinović

Performance DatesGambler 1962

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

28 Aug, 19.00 30 Aug, 19.00

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