Opera Scotland

Rape of Lucretia 1963English Opera Group

Read more about the opera Rape of Lucretia

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.

The English Opera Group followed the success of the previous year’s Turn of the Screw by bringing two new and contrasting productions to the 1963 Festival, Lucretia and Beggar’s Opera. Lucretia was still seen to be a difficult piece due to the stilted libretto of Ronald Duncan, which seems nowadays to be accepted more on its own terms. It is perhaps strange, with hindsight, to see that Janet Baker was not yet cast as Lucretia (she was singing Polly in the other piece).

Performance Cast

Male Chorus

Ronald Dowd

Female Chorus

Sylvia Fisher

Collatinus a Roman General

Forbes Robinson

Junius a Roman General

John Shirley-Quirk

Tarquinius a Prince, son of King Tarquinius Superbus

Peter Glossop

Lucretia wife of Collatinus

Kerstin Meyer

Bianca Lucretia's nurse

Helen Watts

Lucia Lucretia's maid

Elizabeth Vaughan

Performance DatesRape of Lucretia 1963

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

19 Aug, 19.00 21 Aug, 19.00 23 Aug, 19.00

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