Opera Scotland

Melusine 1971Deutsche Oper, Berlin

Read more about the opera Melusine

The principal operatic event at the 1971 Edinburgh Festival was a new staging of Rossini's Cenerentola, with an excellent cast that was recorded during the run. The Deutsche Oper, Berlin, visited for the first time, with an elderly staging of Die Entführung aus dem Serail and a brand new one of Reimann's Melusine. Scottish Opera revived its 1966 production of Die Walküre as part of its preparation for a cycle to be performed in December.

When the programme for the Festival was announced, the Berliners were expected to give the world premiere of a new operatic version of Love's Labour's Lost by Nicolas Nabokov. In the event, that work was not ready in time, so instead they brought a new opera premiered at Schwetzingen only a few months before. The young German composer-pianist was at that time little-known outside Germany. His later compositions, including a version of King Lear, soon gave him a more substantial reputation. Melusine was still an enjoyable work, even if the opportunities for high drama, including the climactic conflagration, seemed to be underplayed.

Four excellent American members of the company - Catherine Gayer, Barry McDaniel, Donald Grobe and Loren Driscoll - did very well. The title role, in particular, was of fiendish vocal difficulty tailored to Gayer's very individual high coloratura soprano. The veterans Josef Greindl and Martha Mödl were also still able to dominate the stage.

Performance DatesMelusine 1971

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King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

2 Sep, 19.30 4 Sep, 19.30

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