Opera Scotland

Gondoliers 2020Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Gondoliers

The effects of Coronavirus

It was sadly inevitable that the extended of performances of this new staging, would fall a victim to the burgeoning threat of the Coronavirus pandemic that swept the world during the first quarter of the year.   It was made clear on Monday, 16 March, that all meeting places of any significance - pubs, restaurants, concert halls, theatres and opera houses - would be closed for a significant duration. Not only was the new staging of  A Midsummer Night's Dream cancelled, but also the subsequent productions of The Gondoliers and Utopia Limited.  The concert performances of Cavalleria rusticana and Zingari are also likely to bite the dust.  It is hoped that they will all be revived when the theatres reopen, with luck sooner rather than later.

Twenty-two performances were originally scheduled for:

May 14, 15, 16, 17 (m), 22, 23 (Theatre Royal Glasgow at 14:30 & 19:15);   May 28, 29 & 30 (His Majesty's Aberdeen at 19:15);   June 3, 4, 5, 6 (Eden Court Inverness at 19:15);    June 10, 11, 13 (m & e) (Festival Theatre Edinburgh 14:30 & 19:15);   July 15, 16 (m & e), 18 (m & e) (Hackney Empire London 14: 30 & 19:30).

The preliminary advertising for the Perth Festival had also announced one performance, probably on May 26, but the entire Festival was cancelled.

Like Scottish Opera's previous G & S productions of The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado, this was a co-production with D'Oyly Carte.   A substantial number of additional performances would therefore have been programmed for venues down south.



For many decades after its first performance in 1889, The Gondoliers, though one of the last works of the Gilbert and Sullivan partnership, remained among the most highly regarded and popular. In recent decades, since the cessation of the D'Oyly Carte tours, performances have become much less frequent. This does seem strange, as musically it is one of the most bubbly and effervescent of their works. It was the first operetta to be mounted by Scottish Opera, back in 1968, even before the company tackled The Merry Widow or Die Fledermaus.

This staging is by Stuart Maunder, of the State Opera of South Australia. He has directed several of the G&S works over the years, always achieving lively and successful results. Scottish Opera's Head of Music, Derek Clark, also has wide experience with this repertoire. The cast is led by the leading comic performer Richard Suart, as the Duke, Ben McAteer as the Grand Inquisitor. They both took leading roles in the last of Scottish Opera's G&S stagings, The Mikado in 2016.

News from the Perth arts body, Horsecross, about the 2020 Perth Festival, indicates that English Touring Opera, having provided an excellent standard of opera for nearly twenty years, will no longer be appearing.   The operatic element will be this Scottish Opera staging of Gondoliers.  Precise details of date(s) and times are still be announced.


Scottish Opera's 2019/20 Season

The season opened at the Edinburgh International Festival with the European premiere of Breaking the Waves by Missy Mazzoli. The autumn performances got under way with a visit to the Lammermuir Festival on 20 September with a single performance in concert of an unusual double bill - Mascagni's Zanetto and Wolf-Ferrari's Susanna's Secret. The Glasgow season opens with a welcome revival of Tosca. There is a Sunday afternoon concert of Iris, another rare work by Mascagni. In the New Year there are new productions of Nixon in China by John Adams as well as Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream. and Sullivan's Gondoliers. Further concerts include a pairing of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana with Leoncavallo's Zingari. There are also concert performances of a late Sullivan piece, Utopia, Limited, as well as the usual Opera Highlights tour of the Highlands and Islands.

Performance Cast

Antonio a gondolier

Arthur Bruce

Vittoria a contadina

Heather Ireson

Marco Palmieri a Venetian Gondolier

William Morgan

Giuseppe Palmieri a Venetian Gondolier

Mark Nathan

Tessa a Contadina

Sioned Gwen Davies

Gianetta a Contadina

Ellie Laugharne

Duke of Plaza-Toro a Grandee of Spain

Richard Suart

Duchess of Plaza-Toro

Sarah Pring

Casilda daughter of the Duke and Duchess

Charlie Drummond

Don Alhambra del Bolero the Grand Inquisitor

Ben McAteer

Performance DatesGondoliers 2020

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