Opera Scotland

Anima del Filosofo 1967Edinburgh Festival Opera

Read more about the opera Anima del Filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice

For the 1967 Edinburgh Festival, the chosen musical theme was Igor Stravinsky.  A wide-ranging programme of events was produced, with the composer in attentance.  Participants included the Cleveland Orchestra under their conductor, the legendary George Szell, who had been chief conductor of the Scottish Orchestra back in the thirties.  The operatic programme featured the Festival debut of Scottish Opera with The Rake's Progress, and they also put on The Soldier's Tale.

Peter Diamand also continued the link with his previous employers, the Holland Festival, for a third year, by mounting co-productions of two rarities by Bellini (Capuleti) and Haydn (Anima del filosofo, under the title Orfeo ed Euridice).  The Bellini cast included debuts by  Anna Moffo, Giacomo Aragall and Luciano Pavarotti with Claudio Abbado, while the Haydn had rare appearances by Joan Sutherland and Nicolai Gedda.

 

For an opera composed for a British theatre in 1791, Haydn's treatment of the Orpheus legend took a shockingly long time to be performed here.  Even then it came in the form of a worthy rather than inspired co-production with the Vienna Festival.  Never mind.  Following the success of Le pescatrici in 1965 it was inevitable that there would be a further exploration of Haydn as a follow up, and the starry casting made it certain that a success would be achieved.  However, in spite of several subsequent attempts, including a Covent Garden production with Cecilia Bartoli, the work refuses to catch on.  Nor do any of his other operas - La fedelta premiata was tried by Glyndebourne (and brought to the Proms), and several are now readily available on record, but something always seems to be missing. It is rarely a problem arising from some great music - more likely a defect of the drama.

1967 was the year in which the Festival experimented with its own programme. The normal programme, with casts, remained in the generic King's Theatre presentation. The synopsis was issued in a new long and slim format. From 1968 that new style included all the programme information.

Performance DatesAnima del Filosofo 1967

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King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

25 Aug, 19.00 1 Sep, 19.00 4 Sep, 19.00 6 Sep, 19.00 9 Sep, 19.00

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