Opera Scotland

Norma 1997Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Norma

The 1997-98 season for Scottish Opera started with the brilliant idea of another look at the original 1912 concept of Ariadne auf Naxos. That version started with the performance of an abbreviated text of Molière's comedy Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. This was seen at an early Edinburgh Festival in 1950, conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham, but had not been seen in Scotland since. The new production, which played at the 1997 Edinburgh Festival, was a co-production with Nottingham Playhouse. The conventional revision, with prologue, followed as part of the main season.

That season started with a long Opera-Go-Round tour of The Barber of Seville. This was followed by eight main stage productions: Norma, Rigoletto, Peter Grimes, Tosca, Così fan tutte, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Queen of Spades and La traviata. In addition there were concert performances of Handel's Samson and three performances of a double bill of Param Vir's Snatched by the Gods and Broken Strings.

This revival of Ian Judge’s superb 1993 production of Bellini's great tragedy was dogged by ill-luck. On paper the cast looked promising, and the original director came back to rework his ideas. The conductor was Julian Smith, an acknowledged authority on bel canto opera whose only previous appearance in Scotland had been conducting the Welsh National production of Tamerlano at the Edinburgh Festival in 1982.

Sadly, the first casualty was the announced Pollione, Arthur Davies, who dropped out and was replaced by two tenors unknown in Britain. Pollione is an extremely difficult part to cast, and Daniel Muñoz turned out to be a powerful tenor with all the required notes and great stamina, but  lacking in subtlety either in his singing or his approach to acting, which was limited to old-fashioned semaphoring. The scheduled Norma also dropped out after a couple of performances. Her replacement was a great deal better than the new tenor, indeed, once she had settled down she gave an excellent vocal performance and some subtle acting. Even so, the most consistently great singer in the cast was the Adalgisa - Anne Mason's performance being superb in every way.

Performance Cast

Oroveso Archdruid, father of Norma

Danilo Rigosa

Pollione Roman Pro-consul in Gaul

Daniel Muñoz (Exc Nov 11, 15)

Jean-Francis Monvoisin (Nov 11, 15)

Flavio a centurion

Alexander Anderson-Hall

Norma High Priestess of the druid temple

Penelope Walmsley-Clark

Frances Ginsberg

Adalgisa a virgin of the temple

Anne Mason

Clotilde Norma's confidante

Heather Stewart

Norma's child 1

Iain McLarty

Norma's child 2

Jamie Rolland

Performance DatesNorma 1997

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

16 Sep, 19.15 20 Sep, 19.15 2 Oct, 19.15 11 Oct, 19.15 24 Oct, 19.15

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

17 Oct, 19.15 4 Nov, 19.15 8 Nov, 19.15

Alhambra Theatre, Bradford | Bradford

11 Nov, 19.15 15 Nov, 19.15

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