Opera Scotland

Pelléas and Mélisande 1962Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Pelléas et Mélisande

The first season of performances by Scottish Opera, a single week at Glasgow's King's Theatre, presented two operas alternately. The popular favourite was Madama Butterfly - seen frequently in performances by Sadler's Wells in English. But these were in Italian, with some singers already familiar, but others completely new. The second piece, Pelléas et Mélisande, was extremely unusual, indeed not seen in Scotland since before the First World War. It also presented the orchestra with a challenge.

To open Scottish Opera’s operations with such a rare work was typical of the adventurous spirit the company would show in its early years. The French-Canadian tenor Emile Belcourt came to Scotland regularly in the 'sixties, working with both Scottish Opera and Sadler's Wells, and showing versatility in a range of works from the serious Russian end of the spectrum through to the frivolities of Offenbach. His diction was always notably clear. His last operatic role in Scotland was Loge in the ENO Ring that came to Glasgow in 1976. Joseph Rouleau, another French-Canadian, but who sang mainly at Covent Garden, also became a frequent visitor to Scottish Opera. There was a long gap before John Shirley-Quirk returned, but from 1970 he seemed almost like a permanent member of the company, singing a range of roles he performed nowhere else.

Performance Cast


Louis Maurin


Micheline Grancher

Geneviève mother of Golaud and Pelléas

Laura Sarti

Arkel King of Allemonde, grandfather of Golaud and Pelléas

Joseph Rouleau (Jun 6, 8)

John Shirley-Quirk (Jun 9)

Pelléas Golaud’s half-brother

Emile Belcourt

Yniold son of Golaud

Ingrid Gwyther


John Shiels


John Shiels

Performance DatesPelléas and Mélisande 1962

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

6 Jun, 19.00 8 Jun, 19.00 9 Jun, 14.00

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