Opera Scotland

Golden Cockerel 1977Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Golden Cockerel

Scottish Opera's third winter season at the Theatre Royal (1977-78) opened with Thea Musgrave's Mary, Queen of Scots, premiered a few weeks earlier at the Edinburgh Festival. It was followed by Fidelio, Otello, Ariadne on Naxos, The Golden Cockerel, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Falstaff, The Marriage of Figaro (launched earlier in the year), Madama Butterfly and The Bartered Bride - this last being the only completely new production.

The Golden Cockerel was relatively unknown in Scotland in its operatic form when David Pountney directed it in the company's first season at the Theatre Royal. The opera had previously been staged in Scotland in the twenties - Beecham's influence meant that it featured briefly in the repertoire of BNOC. Since the war, only London Festival (now English National) Ballet, with its interest in preserving Russian classics, had toured the ballet version created by Fokine and Goncharova, which worked on its own terms, but was very different from the original opera. The only previous post-war staging in Britain, at Covent Garden in 1954, directed by Robert Helpmann, had been retired several years earlier.

For this revival of the 1975 staging, two fundamental changes were made, both improvements. Firstly, the important role of the Astrologer was now cast with the correct high tenor voice - and it proved to be the perfect role for the eerily penetrating sound of John Winfield. Secondly, a new translation by Stephen Oliver replaced the version which dated back to that old 1954 staging. For this revival alone, Gibson handed the baton to another conductor, bringing Bryden Thomson home for a rare visit from Ireland. Other changes brought in Bill McCue and Elizabeth Gale, just as good as their predecessors.

The resulting show was filmed entire by the BBC and televised as a fine Christmas entertainment. Gibson did lead that one performance of the run. Sadly, this  recording has never been made available commercially either on tape or DVD. Does anyone out there have a copy?

Performance DatesGolden Cockerel 1977

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

30 Nov, 19.15 3 Dec, 19.15 6 Dec, 19.15 8 Dec, 19.15 28 Dec, 19.15

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