Opera Scotland

Falstaff 1991Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Falstaff

The 1990/91 season of Scottish Opera featured nine operas, most notably the world premiere of a new piece by Judith Weir, The Vanishing Bridegroom and the British premiere of an unknown American work, Regina by Mark Blitzstein. The three other new productions were Les Troyens, Fidelio and Falstaff. There were also revivals of Tosca, The Cunning Little Vixen and The Barber of Seville. It was also the first season in which the company introduced supertitles.

Ian Judge had plenty of experience directing Shakespeare's comedies with the RSC, and Falstaff should have been an ideal project for him. Sadly, it didn’t quite work. The cast was excellent, and Mauceri got lovely sounds from the orchestra. But the whole thing seemed somehow heartless. The problem lay with a lack of mellowness in the designs and the dazzlingly harsh lighting (which was so bright that it rendered the supertitles invisible, at least from some parts of the house). A very strange mixture, summed up by the fact that in the final scene Herne's oak was a massive flat stump forming a platform which filled the stage and created no atmosphere at all. It was all a bit brash, and lacking in pathos.

Sarah Walker was making her first appearance with Scottish Opera since her debut as Dido in the 1972 Trojans revival, and weouldn't return. Her Quickly was ideal - beautifully sung, with none of the chesty exaggeration sometimes heard. Oddly those Trojans performances were also the occasion of Gordon Sandison's professional debut, in a cluster of small roles. He now appeared in tweeds and plus-fours as a kind of Mr Toad, well seconded by the double act of Nicoll and Gwynne. Maria Prosperi made a notable debut as a warm-hearted Alice and Steven Page was ideally intense as Ford. John Mark Ainsley, in his only staged operatic role in Scotland, seemed miscast, with a lack of sweetness in the tone and characterization - though that may have been due to the production - his aria was despatched in what seemed like broad daylight.

Performance Cast

Sir John Falstaff a knight

Gordon Sandison

Pistola Pistol, a follower of Falstaff

David Gwynne

Bardolfo Bardolph, a follower of Falstaff

Harry Nicoll

Caius Dr Caius, a Frenchman

Anthony Mee

Meg Mistress Page

Fiona Kimm

Alice Mistress Alice Ford, wife of Ford

Maria Prosperi

Nannetta daughter of the Fords

Susannah Waters

Quickly Mistress Quickly, a confidante of Alice and Meg

Sarah Walker

Ford a merchant of Windsor

Steven Page

Fenton a young gentleman

John Mark Ainsley

Robin Falstaff's page

Rodney Bishop

Performance DatesFalstaff 1991

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

16 Apr, 19.15 20 Apr, 14.15 27 Apr, 19.15 2 May, 19.15 22 May, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

5 Jun, 19.15 7 Jun, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

18 Jun, 19.15 22 Jun, 19.15

Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

22 Jun, 19.15 29 Jun, 19.15

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