Opera Scotland

Pilgrim's Progress 1952Covent Garden Opera

Read more about the opera Pilgrim's Progress

This two week visit to Glasgow by the Covent Garden company gave Scottish audiences their first opportunity to see two new works - not just the Festival of Britain commission, Billy Budd, but also a fascinating late work by Vaughan Williams, The Pilgrim's Progress.

The schedule for the fortnight was:

Week commencing 17 March: Mon Turandot, Tue Pilgrim's Progress, Wed Salome, Thu Magic Flute, Fri Aïda, Sat mat Bohème, Sat eve Tosca.

Week commencing 24 March: Mon Aïda, Tue Salome, Wed Magic Flute, Thu Bohème, Fri Billy Budd, Sat mat Tosca, Sat eve Turandot.

Vaughan Williams' morality is full of wonderful music, particularly sections which, while the work was unfinished, were incorporated into his Fifth Symphony and the Ballet Job. However the pace is leisurely, and there is a lack of dramatic effect.  This first production received three performances at Covent Garden in 1951 and two the following spring during the tour which brought the work to Glasgow. The staging was, at the time, thought to do the work few favours, and many years passed before its quality was recognised.

Leonard Hancock was chosen by Vaughan Williams to conduct the premiere, and was thought to have done it well. His career developed in other ways, however, and while he did conduct performances of a wide range of operas throughout his career, with both Sadler's Wells and Scottish Opera, he is remembered as a great coach and teacher, with an enormous range of knowledge.

Cast details are from our copy of the programme for 18 March.

Performance Cast

John Bunyan

Inia Te Wiata

Pilgrim

Bryan Drake

Evangelist

Norman Walker

Timorous a neighbour

David Tree

Pliable a neighbour

John Cameron

Mistrust a neighbour

William McAlpine

Obstinate a neighbour

Rhydderch Davies

Interpreter

Edgar Evans

First Shining One

Leonne Mills

Second Shining One

Monica Sinclair

Third Shining One

Vera Hoddinott

Herald

Geraint Evans

Watchful

John Cameron

Apollyon

Michael Langdon

First Heavenly Being

Olwen Davies

Second Heavenly Being

Monica Sinclair

Jester in Vanity Fair

Juliet Byrne

Demas in Vanity Fair

Hubert Littlewood

Judas Iscariot in Vanity Fair

Ronald Firmager

Simon Magus in Vanity Fair

Andrew Sellars

Worldly Glory in Vanity Fair

Thomas Fletcher

Hylas in Vanity Fair

Ann Rodgers

Madam Bubble in Vanity Fair

Jean Watson

Madam Wanton in Vanity Fair

Barbara Howitt

Pontius Pilate in Vanity Fair

Basil Hemming

Lord Lechery in Vanity Fair

Thorsteinn Hannesson

Usher

David Tree

Lord Hate-Good

Rhydderch Davies

Malice

Leonne Mills

Pickthank

Monica Sinclair

Superstition

John Lanigan

Envy

Michael Langdon

Woodcutter's Boy

Iris Kells

Mr Bye-Ends

Parry Jones

Madam Bye-Ends

Jean Watson

First Shepherd

John Cameron

Second Shepherd

William McAlpine

Third Shepherd

Norman Walker

Voice of a Bird

Iris Kells

Celestial Messenger

Edgar Evans

First Voice from Celestial Choir

Mr T G Jones

Second Voice from Celestial Choir

Myfanwy Edwards

Third Voice from Celestial Choir

Catherine Harding

Fourth Voice from Celestial Choir

Elizabeth Goodall

Angel of the Lord

Olga Frei

Performance DatesPilgrim's Progress 1952

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

18 Mar, 19.00

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