Opera Scotland

Nozze di Figaro 1977Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Marriage of Figaro

The restoration of Glasgow Theatre Royal as a home base for Scottish Opera was considered in some quarters to bring about an inevitable cutback in touring. It may be that in the long-term it was one of the elements that brought this about. The chronic shortages of money in later years seem to have encouraged management to concentrate resources at the centre in the hope that people in Glasgow would remain unaware of the fundamental problems developing.

In the early years, however, touring seemed unaffected - indeed there was the opportunity to design productions like this Figaro that actually began life in medium-sized venues, though with an excellent cast that still worked well in the summer when it reached Edinburgh, still sung in English. This brief run in the capital, just five performances, was spread out because the company playing in repertoire with performances by Scottish Ballet - an experiment that was not repeated.

The staging also made two appearances in the Theatre Royal subscription seasons - firstly in English after Christmas 1977, running over into the New Year. The final run, in 1980, was in Italian, and blended some of these singers (Buchan, Robertson, Ormiston) into a cast with several international stars. It still worked well as a sharply observed social comedy.

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, Madama Butterfly and The Bartered Bride - this last being the only completely new production.

Toby Robertson had a high reputation as a director of classic drama with his Prospect Company, bringing actors of the calibre of Ian McKellen, Timothy West, Derek Jacobi and Dorothy Tutin to the Edinburgh Festival and on regional tours. Following A Midsummer Night's Dream (1972) and Hermiston (1975), this was his final collaboration with Scottish Opera. Unlike many directors from the classical theatre in subsequent years, he was not lured back to the opera house, but ran theatre companies that included the Old Vic in London and Theatr Clwyd in Mold (North Wales).

This cast was quite excellent, led by Gordon Sandison and Patricia Hay as totally believable three-dimensional characters. Indeed it was the entirely credible Almaviva household, with all its established routines, that made this drama work so well. Linda Esther Gray and Malcolm Donnelly were equally secure and convincing, with Cynthia Buchan a delightfully childlike Cherubino. John Robertson and David Fieldsend stood out particularly in the two tenor roles, but this really was a brilliant company enterprise.

Performance Cast

Figaro the Count's valet

Gordon Sandison

Susanna the Countess's maid

Patricia Hay

Cherubino the Count's page

Cynthia Buchan

Count Almaviva

Malcolm Donnelly

Bartolo a doctor, the Countess's former guardian

Norman White

Marcellina Bartolo's housekeeper

Claire Livingstone

Don Basilio a priest and music master

John Robertson

Countess Almaviva

Linda Esther Gray

Antonio a gardener, Susanna's uncle

David Scrivens

Don Curzio a lawyer

David Fieldsend (Exc Mar 12)

John Brackenridge (Mar 12)

Barbarina daugher of Antonio

Rosanne Brackenridge

First Peasant Girl

Jane Edward (Feb, Mar)

Linda Ormiston (Jul, Aug)

Second Peasant Girl

Erica Laurentius (Feb, Mar)

Eryl Royle (Jul, Aug)

Performance DatesNozze di Figaro 1977

Map List

MacRobert Arts Centre | Stirling

28 Feb, 19.30 2 Mar, 19.30

Adam Smith Theatre | Kirkcaldy

5 Mar, 19.30

College of Education Theatre | Dundee

7 Mar, 19.30

Gaumont, Doncaster | Doncaster

10 Mar, 19.30 12 Mar, 19.30

Civic Theatre, Darlington | Darlington

15 Mar, 19.30 17 Mar, 19.30 19 Mar, 19.30

Civic Hall, Barrow-in-Furness | Barrow-in-Furness

21 Mar, 19.30

Crewe Theatre | Crewe

23 Mar, 19.30 26 Mar, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

26 Jul, 19.15 29 Jul, 19.15 2 Aug, 19.15 4 Aug, 19.15 6 Aug, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

27 Dec, 19.15 29 Dec, 19.15 4 Jan, 19.15 7 Jan, 19.15

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