Opera Scotland

Salome 1989Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Salome

This staging of Salome was devised exclusively for the Festival by the Swedish company Folkopera.  They were first brought to Edinburgh by Frank Dunlop in 1986 in an attempt to freshen up the Festival's opera programme.  In those now far off days the technical facilities at the King's and Playhouse were primitive to the point where the future of the Festival was under threat.  It was becoming increasingly difficult to find foreign companies willing to sacrifice their own artistic standards.  There was no hint that the old Empire building would soon become available for restoration as the Festival Theatre.

In the three previous years Folkopera from Stockholm had brought carefully scaled down productions of Aïda, The Magic Flute and Turandot.  All were sung in Swedish and were a success with the public, if not universally loved by the critics. For this fourth production the director, conductor and set designer came from Sweden, but all the other elements were British.  The orchestra was the SCO with its numbers boosted to 60, using the reduced score prepared by Strauss himself to allow the smaller German houses to tackle the piece.  The performance was sung in English - the translation uncredited, but most likely the version prepared back in the seventies for the memorable Joachim Herz production at ENO led by Dame Josephine Barstow.

The principal roles were double-cast to allow several performances in succession.  The band was placed at the back of the stage behind a gauze scrim - a throwback to the 1960s which allowed for subtle lighting effects, but to some ears interfered with the projection of sound.  The acting area was largely made of steel, with a cage aloft for Jokanaan and gantries and ladders to provide varied movement for the cast

One additional positive factor of a kind that can only be done at the great Festivals was that Frank Dunlop was able to import an Irish staging of Oscar Wilde's original play.  In the ideal fin de siècle atmosphere of the Lyceum Theatre, the company from the Gate Theatre,  Dublin, under the direction of Steven Berkoff, in the English translation by Lord Alfred Douglas, provided a fascinating evening.

Casts are from reviews in the Financial Times and Glasgow Herald of 15 August.   Further cast members to be confirmed.

Performance Cast

Narraboth a young Syrian, Captain of the Guard

David Aldred (Aug 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)

Jokanaan John the Baptist

John Rath (Aug 14, 16, 18)

Dmitri Kharitonov (Oct 15, 17, 19)

Salome daughter of Herodias

Susan Bisatt (Aug 14, 16, 18)

Fiona O'Neill (Aug 15, 17, 19)

Herod Antipas Tetrarch of Judaea

Kenneth Woollam (Aug 14, 16, 18)

Donald Stephenson (Aug 15, 17, 19)

Herodias wife of Herod

Nuala Willis (Aug 14, 15, 17)

Jady Pearl (Aug 15, 17, 19)

Performance DatesSalome 1989

Map List

Leith Theatre | Edinburgh

14 Aug, 19.30

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