Opera Scotland

Maria Stuarda 1991Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Mary Stuart

At this period, Scottish Opera generally mounted nine main-stage operas each season, in groups of three. If funds allowed, there would be a small-scale production as well. For the 1991/92 season, the piano-accompanied tour was of Maria Stuarda. The main stage schedule began at the Edinburgh Festival with a new production of La Clemenza di Tito. There were two more new stagings - Die Walküre and Don Giovanni. The six revivals were Madam Butterfly, Carmen, La traviata, Billy Budd, The Marriage of Figaro and Aïda.

Maria Stuarda received its belated Scottish premiere at the 1969 Edinburgh Festival, and the little known drama was, in general, highly regarded on that occasion. It must therefore have seemed odd that Scottish Opera took over twenty years before mounting it, and then only with the Opera Go Round tour with piano accompaniment. This excursion was a particularly lengthy one, a total of thirty-three performances from August through to November, and covering an astonishing distance.

The costumes were vaguely period, though not specifically 16th century. The set was made from the cases of half a dozen upright pianos, which were wheeled around the stage in various groupings - the backs providing walls or enclosures of different sizes. At the end they were wheeled together to form a platform which became Mary's scaffold.

The casting worked well. Susan Roper, a young soprano from New Zealand, was tall and elegant, and sang beautifully in her long final scene on top of the pianos. Jane Webster was shorter, and projected a more dynamic character. In terms of acting and being noticed even when not singing, the usually missable role of Anna for once attracted attention in a remarkable performance by Alice Coote. This must have been almost her professional debut. The men were all good, though they have less to do, and Iain Paton also made a strong impression.

Performance Cast

Elisabetta Elizabeth, Queen of England

Jane Webster

Giorgio Talbot George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury

Nicholas Sears

Lord Guglielmo Cecil Sir William Cecil

Noel Mann

Roberto di Leicester Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Iain Paton

Anna Hannah Kennedy, Mary's companion

Alice Coote

Maria Stuarda Mary Stuart

Susan Roper (Exc Sep 7, 26, 28; Oct 22, 24)

Patricia Cameron (Sep 7, 26, 28; Oct 22, 24)

Performance DatesMaria Stuarda 1991

Map List

Tron Theatre | Glasgow

20 Aug, 19.30 22 Aug, 19.30 24 Aug, 19.30

Gardyne Theatre | Dundee

27 Aug, 19.30

Kirkcudbright Academy | Kirkcudbright

29 Aug, 19.30

Langholm Academy | Langholm

31 Aug, 19.30

Peebles High School | Peebles

3 Sep, 19.30

East Kilbride Village Theatre | East Kilbride

7 Sep, 19.30

Cumbernauld Theatre | Cumbernauld

10 Sep, 19.30

Village Hall, Bowmore | Isle of Islay

12 Sep, 19.30

Village Hall, North Connel | North Connel, Argyll

14 Sep, 19.30

Castlebay Hall | Castlebay, Isle of Barra

17 Sep, 19.30

Nicolson Institute | Stornoway, Lewis

21 Sep, 19.30

Victoria Hall, Cromarty | Cromarty

24 Sep, 19.30

Town Hall, Macduff | Macduff

26 Sep, 19.30

Thurso High School | Thurso, Caithness

1 Oct, 19.30

Orkney Arts Centre | Kirkwall, Orkney

3 Oct, 19.30

Garrison Theatre, Lerwick | Lerwick, Shetland

8 Oct, 19.30

Fraser Peterson Centre | Mossbank, Shetland

11 Oct, 19.30

Haddo House Hall | Ellon, Aberdeenshire

15 Oct, 19.30

Shettleston Town Hall | Glasgow

17 Oct, 19.30

Civic Theatre, Ayr | Ayr

19 Oct, 19.30

MacRobert Arts Centre | Stirling

22 Oct, 19.30

Volunteer Hall, Galashiels | Galashiels

24 Oct, 19.30

Village Hall, Ballachulish | Ballachulish, Argyll

26 Oct, 19.30

Shielbridge Hall | Acharacle

29 Oct, 19.30

Tigh na Sgire, Portree | Portree, Isle of Skye

31 Oct, 19.30

Mallaig High School | Mallaig

2 Nov, 19.30

Lochgelly Centre | Lochgelly

5 Nov, 19.30

Queen's Hall, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

7 Nov, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Dumfries | Dumfries

9 Nov, 19.30

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