Opera Scotland

Traviata 1957Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Traviata

Traviata was the opera chosen by Sadler’s Wells as the first experience audiences in Aberdeen and Dundee would have of the company’s work, so presumably the management thought it was good.  Certainly  William McAlpine and  David Ward were two Scottish artists on the verge of major international careers.  Peter Glossop later worked with Scottish Opera many times, and  Victoria Elliott,  Elizabeth Fretwell,  Anna Pollak,  Sheila Rex and  Frederick Sharp were stalwart and long serving members of the Wells company.

Leo Quayle was musical director of Welsh National Opera and then moved to South Africa, where he became an influential opera conductor.  Joan Cross was a leading soprano with Sadler's Wells before the war, and became manager of the company even while she was still singing.  Britten composed several roles for her - Ellen Orford, Female Chorus and Lady Billows found her still in her prime.  She also created the title role in Gloriana and Mrs Grose.  She worked on one occasion with Scottish Opera, when she directed The Gondoliers in 1968.


The 1957 tour programme

The four week tour of Scotland for once omitted Edinburgh, going to Aberdeen and Dundee instead.  Having been without professional opera since before the war, Dundee had received hugely successful visits by Carl Rosa in 1955 and 1956, so it was logical for the Wells to follow on, as they did annually with equal success until the theatre again became unavailable in 1961.  The repertoire in each city was similar but for Dundee not hearing Il trovatore (an extra Bohème instead) and Glasgow also getting Eugene Onegin and Puccini's Trittico.

The tour schedule was as follows:

Aberdeen, w/c 1 April:  Mon 1  Traviata;  Tue 2  Tosca;  Wed 3  Martha;  Thu 4  Trovatore;  Fri 5  Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 6 mat Bartered Bride;  Sat 6 eve  Bohème.

Dundee, w/c 8 April:  Mon 8  Traviata;  Tue 9  Bohème;  Wed 10  Marriage of Figaro;  Thu 11  Martha;  Fri 12  Tosca;  Sat 13 mat  Bohème.;  Sat 3 eve  Bartered Bride.

Glasgow, w/c 15 April:  Mon 15  Trovatore;  Tue 16  Bohème;  Wed 17  Tosca;  Thu 18  Trovatore;  Fri 19  Martha;  Sat 20 Mat  Bartered Bride;  Sat 20 eve  Tosca

Glasgow, w/c 22 April:  Mon 22  Marriage of Figaro;  Tue 23  Martha;  Wed 24  Tabarro & Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi;  Thu 25  Marriage of Figaro;  Fri 26 Eugene Onegin;  Sat 27 mat  Traviata.;  Sat 27 eve Bartered Bride.


Cast for Aberdeen is from a programme in the City Library,  and for Dundee from a programme in the OperaScotland collection.

Performance Cast

Violetta Valéry a courtesan

Elizabeth Fretwell (Apr 1)

Victoria Elliott (Apr 8)

Doctor Grenvil

David Ward (Apr 1, 8)

Flora Bervoix Violetta's friend

Anna Pollak (Apr 1, 8)

Marquis d' Obigny

Peter Glossop (Apr 1, 8)

Gaston Vicomte de Letorières, a man about town

Gwent Lewis (Apr 1, 8)

Baron Douphol Violetta's protector, a rival of Alfredo

John Probyn (Apr 1, 8)

Alfredo Germont Gaston's friend

William McAlpine (Apr 1, 8)

Annina Violetta's maid

Sheila Rex (Apr 1, 8)

Giuseppe Violetta's servant

John Larsen (Apr 1)

Ben Williams 2 (Apr 8)

Giorgio Germont Alfredo's father

Frederick Sharp (Apr 1, 8)

Performance DatesTraviata 1957

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

1 Apr, 19.30

Gaumont Theatre | Dundee

8 Apr, 19.30

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

27 Apr, 14.30

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