1966 was only Scottish Opera’s fifth season of operations, and no opera by Wagner had yet been produced. To start its Wagner career with what was clearly hoped to be the first instalment of a Ring cycle was clearly interpreted as an indication of the company’s ambition. The singers were mainly based in Britain, but at this stage there was no usable English translation, and singing it in German meant that it was possible to import singers when that was required – not just Anita Välkki as Brünnhilde, but also Hubert Hofman as Wotan in Aberdeen. The most important Scottish element among the singers was, of course, David Ward, who had already worked at Bayreuth and had recently taken the part of Wotan into his repertoire.
The general impression was perhaps of promise rather than achievement, and the designs, and particularly lighting, were much improved in the revival. Gibson's guidance of the Scottish National Orchestra also improved rapidly as he worked his way through the cycle. There was a widely-held view that while Walküre was promising and Rheingold in 1967 rather better, it was not until the Götterdämmerung of 1968 that everything fell into place.
David Ward (Exc Jun 7, 10)
Hubert Hofman (Jun 7, 10)
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