Opera Scotland

Tosca 1957Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Tosca

1957 was the year when Alexander Gibson was invited to make his debut at Covent Garden, conducting Tosca, with a cast including Zinka Milanov and Franco Corelli. It was clearly one of his favourite operas, so it seems surprising that he did not introduce it to the Scottish Opera repertoire until 1980.

This cast featured Victoria Elliott in what was widely reckoned to be her best role. She had the power required for the dramatic sections, and the control to allow her to sing 'Vissi d'arte' lying prone, propped on one elbow, in the manner made famous by Maria Jeritza forty years earlier. Ronald Dowd, was an Australian who would spend much of the next fifteen years at Sadler’s Wells as a dramatic tenor. With Scottish Opera he sang Otello, Aeneas and Florestan. Harold Blackburn was also a leading member of the Sadler’s Wells company during that time, and he was one of the Scots who encouraged Gibson in his attempt to establish a Scottish company. Patricia Johnson did sing leading roles with the Wells, such as Carmen, but spent most of her career as a leading mezzo at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin.

Cast shown is that for the Dundee performance.


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.

Performance DatesTosca 1957

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

2 Apr, 19.00

Gaumont Theatre | Dundee

12 Apr, 19.00

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

17 Apr, 19.00 20 Apr, 19.00

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