Opera Scotland

Damnation de Faust 1963Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Damnation of Faust

The Edinburgh Festival traditionally kicks off with a choral and orchestral blockbuster in the Usher Hall, and these do not come in more spectacular form than Berlioz's epic, difficult as it is to stage effectively.

The previous year, Georg Solti had taken up his post at the head of Covent Garden Opera (still a few years from being called the Royal Opera). They had already come to the Festival that year, but here they were again, in a very rare concert appearance, with a work off the beaten track, and not something that was seen often, even in London. Nor was Solti ever particularly known as a Berlioz conductor. However the quality of cast assembled speaks for itself.

Nicolai Gedda was, throughout his long career, a particularly welcome interpreter of French repertoire - indeed at a time when there was a shortage of real French tenors, he was almost unique. George London was known particularly for his Wagner at Bayreuth, but rarely sang in Britain - and this was the year that he recorded Boris Godunov as a guest with the Bolshoy.

Josephine Veasey was one of the most renowned British singers of this era, and enjoyed a great success internationally over the next fifteen years, especially as a superb interpreter of Berlioz and Wagner. However she rarely came to Scotland. Robert Savoie was, for several seasons, a regular performer of major baritone parts at both Covent Garden and Scottish Opera.

Performance DatesDamnation de Faust 1963

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Usher Hall | Edinburgh

18 Aug, 20.00

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