Opera Scotland

Traviata 1961Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Traviata

This was the first sighting in Scotland of a new production of Traviata by prominent theatre director Frank Hauser - for many years a leading director of classic drama in Oxford and elsewhere. It had opened the previous autumn, 5 September 1960, at Manchester Opera House. Violetta was sung by the Australian soprano Elizabeth Fretwell, a long term member of the company. Other roles were taken by young singers who would go on to become familiar names – Alberto Remedios, Raimund Herincx and Joan Davies, along with two New Zealanders, Donald McIntyre and the conductor John Matheson.

The other operas on the spring tour taking in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee were Tosca, Figaro, Barber of Seville and two operettas, Fledermaus (in Glasgow) and Land of Smiles (in Edinburgh and Dundee). Traviata came back in the autumn tour, which only included Edinburgh and Glasgow (the repertoire including Bohème, Cenerentola, Tannhäuser and Orpheus in the Underworld). There was an almost total change of cast.

Glasgow, in those days, had several theatres suitable for opera, even when the Theatre Royal was being used as a TV studio – but the Glasgow Empire did not host opera tours with any frequency. Perhaps more notable was the fact that Dundee only had one theatre of sufficient size, and its stage and proscenium were about to be removed to allow a rather unsatisfactory conversion to widescreen cinema. It was ironic that just a year before Scottish Opera started operations one of its four anticipated venues was suddenly off limits.

Cast details are from programmes for Dundee and Edinburgh in ENO archives, the latter also in Edinburgh City Library for April and November visits.

Performance Cast

Violetta Valéry a courtesan

Elizabeth Fretwell (Apr 24; May 2)

Ava June (Nov 9)

Baron Douphol

Donald McIntyre (Apr 24; May 2)

Derek Hammond Stroud (Nov 9)

Doctor Grenvil

Ronald Careford (Apr 24; May 2)

Donald Campbell (Nov 9)

Flora Bervoix Violetta's friend

Joan Davies (Apr 24; May 2)

Heather Begg (Nov 9)

Marquis d' Obigny

Kenneth Fawcett (Apr 24; May 2)

Gwilym Lloyd (Nov 9)

Gaston Vicomte de Letorières

Tom Swift

Alfredo Germont

Alberto Remedios (Apr 24; May 2)

John Wakefield (Nov 9)

Annina Violetta's maid

Joan Clarkson (Apr 24; May 2)

Jane Whitehead (Nov 9)

Giuseppe Violetta's servant

Gomer Morris (Apr 24)

John Chorley (May 2)

Paul Janssen (Nov 9)

Giorgio Germont Alfredo's father

Neil Easton (Apr 24; Nov 9)

Raimund Herincx (May 2)

Messenger

Henry Whimpanny (Apr 24; May 2)

Basil Hemming (Nov 9)

Servant

William Booth (Apr 24; May 2)

Louis Browne (Nov 9)

Dancer

Angela Wheeldon

Christina Bray

Jean Mitchell

John Trimmer

Performance DatesTraviata 1961

Map List

Empire Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

17 Apr, 19.30 16 Nov, 19.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

24 Apr, 19.30 9 Nov, 19.00

Gaumont Theatre | Dundee

2 May, 19.30

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