Opera Scotland

Beggar's Opera 1963English Opera Group

Read more about the opera Beggar's Opera

The main operatic event of the 1963 Edinburgh Festival was the only visit of the San Carlo company from Naples, with several recognized star performers. Like Britten's English Opera Group, who seemed to appear almost annually at this time, they performed in the cramped and technically out-dated King's Theatre, traditionally the Festival's home for opera. The Hungarian staging of Bartók's one-act Duke Bluebeard's Castle seems to have largely escaped attention, perhaps because the evening was dominated by the two Bartók ballets that followed it in the programme. By being treated essentially as a ballet event, it was performed at the larger Empire Theatre, only occasionally made available to the Festival for dance programmes. It also clashed with four of the Britten performances.

The Festival's opera schedule was:

First week, commencing 19 August: Mon Rape of Lucretia & Duke Bluebeard's Castle; Tue Beggar's Opera & Bluebeard; Wed Lucretia & Bluebeard; Thu Beggar's Opera; Fri Lucretia & Bluebeard; Sat Beggar's Opera.

Second week, commencing 26 August: Mon Luisa Miller; Tue Adriana Lecouvreur; Wed Luisa Miller; Thu Don Pasquale; Fri Adriana Lecouvreur; Sat Luisa Miller.

Third week, commencing 2 Sep: Mon Adriana Lecouvreur; Tue Don Pasquale; Wed Luisa Miller; Thu Don Pasquale; Fri Adriana Lecouvreur; Sat Don Pasquale.

Britten made his arrangement of The Beggar’s Opera in 1948 and seems to have retained a fondness for it. This revival, with a prestigious, if somewhat unexpected, lineup of soloists (and Britten on the podium), was also toured abroad and televised (with Kenneth McKellar as a rather more youthful Macheath).

Performance Cast

Mr Peachum a 'fence'

David Kelly

Mrs Peachum

Anna Pollak

Polly Peachum Peachum's daughter

Janet Baker

Macheath a highwayman

Peter Pears

Lockit the gaoler

Bryan Drake

Lucy Lockit Lockit's daughter

Heather Harper

Mrs Diana Trapes

Edith Coates

Jenny Diver a woman of the town

Joan Edwards

Performance DatesBeggar's Opera 1963

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

20 Aug, 19.00 22 Aug, 19.00 24 Aug, 19.00

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