Opera Scotland

Don Giovanni 1970Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Don Giovanni

This was an excellent revival of Peter Ebert’s 1964 production in the secure hands of staff producer Ian Watt-Smith.  The rest of the spring season consisted of further performances of the Rossini Cinderella, introduced at Christmas, and new productions of Turn of the Screw and Fidelio, the latter to mark the Beethoven bicentenary.

As with his designs for the 1963 Otello, Ralph Koltai’s set was simple in concept, but very effective – two huge panels, one white, one black, which slid around the stage to vary the mood as appropriate before sliding together to crush Giovanni at the end.  The only weakness came in the graveyard scene, when the Commendatore was represented by the projected shadow of the singer's head in profile (cameo) as he stood in the wings - not always entirely accurately placed.

The singers were generally excellent. Peter van der Bilt had been with the production since its opening.  The others were new, with a particulay successful Leporello from Stafford Dean.  Milla Andrew was a fiery Anna (with her fellow-Canadian contralto Josephte Clément having one scheduled performance).  Another Canadian, Joseph Rouleau, a regular at Covent Garden, was a commanding Commendatore.  Werner Krenn was a light-voiced Ottavio, with very fluent coloratura technique allowing extra ornamention of the vocal line. He was also singing Jaquino in the new Fidelio production.

The Lebanese soprano Luisa Bosabalian, based in Germany, was a regular visitor to the company.  Her usual part in this opera was Donna Anna, which she had sung at the 1965 Edinburgh Festival.  She would sing that role when she came back to this staging in 1971, but her Elvira was also accomplished. Pat Hay and John Graham joined the cast as a highly effective peasant couple. 

For this revival, lavish new costumes were designed by Nadine Baylis which supplied the upper class characters with a welcome touch of luxury missing from the previous runs. The period was 17th century.  Also the piece was sung in Italian for the first time.

Two additional perfs in Newcastle w/c Apr 7 – dates to be confirmed.

Performance Cast

Leporello Giovanni's servant

Stafford Dean

Donna Anna the Commendatore's daughter

Milla Andrew (Exc May 14)

Josephte Clément (May 14)

Don Giovanni a young nobleman

Peter van der Bilt

Commendatore an elderly aristocrat

Joseph Rouleau

Don Ottavio engaged to Anna

Werner Krenn (Exc May 14)

John Robertson (May 14)

Donna Elvira a lady from Burgos

Luisa Bosabalian

Zerlina a peasant girl

Patricia Hay

Masetto a peasant, engaged to Zerlina

John Lawson Graham

Performance DatesDon Giovanni 1970

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

2 Apr, 19.30 4 Apr, 19.30

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

12 May, 19.30 14 May, 19.30 19 May, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

21 May, 19.30 29 May, 19.30

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