Opera Scotland

Barbiere di Siviglia 1967Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Barber of Seville

Sadler's Wells Opera only came to Glasgow in October 1967, but the four week stay was an unusually long one. They gave three performances of a brand new production of The Magic Flute, four of the familiar 1960 Barber of Seville, three of Orfeo ed Euridice (also a recent staging) and three of a vintage Samson and Delilah, a staging from the early 'fifties receiving a brief revival. The Ernani was a rather controversial staging on its only tour, and Malcolm Williamson's Violins of St Jacques a genuinely popular new work.

The young Welsh tenor Ryland Davies, having had great success with Scottish Opera as Fenton and Ferrando, here returned to Scotland in another role which he later sang in a number of major houses including Covent Garden and the Paris Opéra. It was only a few months since he and Jenifer Eddy had both appeared in Scottish Opera's Così fan tutte. Catherine Wilson, Julian Moyle and Eric Shilling were already familiar in these roles. Derek Hammond-Stroud was perfect casting as a tetchy Bartolo, and Frank Olegario an ideally seedy Basilio.

Perhaps most surprising was the appearance of Gillian Knight as Berta. She had recently left the D'Oyly Carte company, where she had spent several years touring the world (and recording) the great contralto roles. While she would return to that repertoire occasionally, her subsequent career lay largely in operatic work both at the Coliseum and Covent Garden. Her appearances abroad included singing the title role in Carmen with Domingo as her Don José.

With a light soprano cast as Rosina, the aria provided for the Singing Lesson Scene, 'Contro un cor', would have been unsuitably low-lying. Jenifer Eddy therefore followed the age-old practice of inserting another piece instead. The programme note announces her choice to be Fanny's aria from Rossini's early one-act farsa La cambiale di matrimonio.

A very unusual feature, unique in the record of Sadler's Wells tours in Scotland, is the single midweek (Thursday) matinee on 9 November. Glasgow Corporation had a very enlightened attitude to the arts at this period, with generous funding of the Citizens' Theatre as well as other ventures. Several schools matinees of opera were given - indeed Ryland Davies and Jenifer Eddy had experienced one in the spring during the run of Scottish Opera's Così fan tutte.

Cast details are from the programme for 1 November in the OperaScotland collection and data from the ENO Archive.

Performance Cast

Fiorello servant of the Count

Peter Tracey (Oct 24; Nov 9m, 16)

James Singleton (Nov 1)

Count Almaviva

Ryland Davies

Figaro a barber

David Bowman (Oct 24; Nov 9m)

Julian Moyle (Nov 1, 16)

Rosina Bartolo's ward

Catherine Wilson (Oct 24)

Jenifer Eddy (Nov 1, 9m, 16)

Bartolo a doctor, Rosina's guardian

Eric Shilling (Oct 24; Nov 16)

Derek Hammond Stroud (Nov 1, 9m)

Ambrogio Bartolo's servant

Valerio Martinez

Berta Bartolo's housekeeper

Gillian Knight

Don Basilio a singing teacher

Frank Olegario


Paul Janssen


James Higgins

Alcalde Mayor

Handel Thomas

Performance DatesBarbiere di Siviglia 1967

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

24 Oct, 19.00 1 Nov, 19.00 9 Nov, 14.30 16 Nov, 19.00

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