Opera Scotland

Valkyrie 1976English National Opera

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Sadler's Wells Opera produced three Wagner works in the sixties. Tannhäuser was only modestly successful, but The Flying Dutchman and The Mastersingers of Nuremburg were justifiably celebrated stagings that opened the way for even greater ambition after the company's move to the London Coliseum. Even so, the launch of a projected Ring Cycle conducted by Reginald Goodall was a hugely ambitious undertaking, especially given that it was cast entirely from singers who were regular company members. The first episode, launched on 29 January 1970, was The Valkyrie. The other three instalments were added one by one, until complete cycles could be presented for the first time in summer 1973. After that the entire cycle was presented on tour in a number of major cities. The company was about to cease its touring activities, and the Glasgow cycle of 1976 was the final visit to Scotland.

This second instalment of the ENO Ring saw the final appearance here of the Scottish bass Harold Blackburn, who spent most of his career with Sadler’s Wells, and also appeared several times in the early days of Scottish Opera. He was one of a group of colleagues who had encouraged Alexander Gibson in his ambition to establish the company.

The wonderful strength of ENO at this time is shown by the fact that only Rita Hunter remained from the original cast - indeed she only ever missed one performance in this Ring production, when a back injury forced her to withdraw from a Valkyrie in the previous year's cycle tour to Leeds. Ava June, Raimund Herincx, Kenneth Woollam, and Sarah Walker were all regular performers with the company. Note also Rosalind Plowright making an early appearance as one of the Valkyries.

Cast details from a programme in the OperaScotland collection.

Performance Cast

Siegmund a Volsung

Kenneth Woollam

Sieglinde a Volsung, sister of Siegmund

Ava June

Hunding husband of Sieglinde

Harold Blackburn

Wotan father of the Valkyries and Volsungs

Raimund Herincx

Brünnhilde a Valkyrie

Rita Hunter

Fricka Wotan's estranged wife

Sarah Walker

Gerhilde a Valkyrie

Valerie Hill

Ortlinde a Valkyrie

Anne Conoley

Waltraute a Valkyrie

Maureen Morelle

Schwertleite a Valkyrie

Helen Attfield

Helmwige a Valkyrie

Audrey Gunn

Siegrune a Valkyrie

Sarah Walker

Grimgerde a Valkyrie

Shelagh Squires

Rossweisse a Valkyrie

Rosalind Plowright

Performance DatesValkyrie 1976

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

25 Oct, 17.30

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