Opera Scotland

Ballo delle ingrate 1968Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Ballo delle ingrate

This was Scottish Opera's first attempt at performing an example of early baroque opera.  It was staged, perhaps appropriately, given its ribald content, as a late-night entertainment as part of the Festival Fringe.  At this time the company did not generally receive financial support from industry.   However this enterprise was sponsored by the Scottish Gas Board to celebrate their anniversary.  In future, sponsorship became commonplace.

Sadly it was the only occasion when the New Zealand mezzo Heather Begg, a natural comedian, worked with them, though she toured to Scotland several times as a member of the Sadler's Wells company, before returning to the Antipodes.

The short final song by the leader of the ladies was the opportunity for a company debut by a very young Cynthia Buchan, still a student at the time.


Opera at the 1968 Festivals

In 1968, the Edinburgh Festival followed its Stravinsky theme of the previous year by concentrating on two composers, Britten and Schubert. The result was a Festival full of memorable concerts and recitals. Perhaps the operatic side was slightly uncertain. Scottish Opera had recently been exploring Albert Herring (taking it to Florence on the company's first foreign tour in May) and now produced Peter Grimesfor the first time. The English Opera Group also brought the most recent of Britten's stage works, the three Parables for Church Performance. Schubert's operas have always been seen as a problem area of his output, with stagings extremely rare. Sadly, no full-scale presentation was attempted here, but the Festival did at least mount a memorable concert performance of Alfonso und Estrella, with largely Scottish forces.

The visiting company was again from Germany - a third season by the Hamburg State Opera, previously seen in 1952 and 1956. The original plans included the British premiere of Arden Must Die, Alexander Goehr's recent adaptation of the anonymous Elizabethan tragedy Arden of Feversham, as well as a Scottish premiere for Strauss's Arabella. In the event, due to the notorious technical restrictions imposed by the stage facilities of the antiquated King's Theatre, the only venue then available for opera, the Strauss novelty was quickly dropped, even before the programme was revealed. Though the Goehr was initially announced, along with Fliegende Holländer and Ariadne auf Naxos, by the time booking opened it had been substituted with Elektra - admittedly requiring a large orchestra, but with only one simple set.

Scottish Opera also made its first appearance on the Fringe.   In addition to its excellent Peter Grimes, it gave its first staging of a work by Monteverdi.   The brief comedy, Il ballo delle ingrate, was mounted as a late-night entertainment.

Performance Cast

Amore Cupid

Ann Baird

Venere Venus, goddess of love

Heather Begg

Plutone Pluto, Lord of the Underworld

William McCue

Un' ingrata One of the cruel ladies

Cynthia Buchan

Performance DatesBallo delle ingrate 1968

Map List

Adam Room, George Hotel | Edinburgh

26 Aug, 22.30 27 Aug, 22.30 28 Aug, 22.30 29 Aug, 22.30 30 Aug, 22.30

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