Opera Scotland

Fledermaus 1979Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Fledermaus

Scottish Opera's fourth season at the Theatre Royal (1978-79) opened with Simon Boccanegra, and continued with Jenůfa, Catiline Conspiracy then an unusual triple-bill of Savitri, Fanny Robin and Dido and Aeneas. Next came Seraglio, Rosenkavalier, Hansel and Gretel, Fledermaus, Midsummer Night's Dream, Bohème, Kátya Kabanová and Rigoletto. In June there followed the company's first staging of a musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Many of these works were also toured.

It is by no means unusual for opera companies in cities other than Vienna to play Fledermaus at New Year. Scottish Opera fell in with the tradition with a rather special revival. Brian Priestman, an excellent musician, had not conducted with the company since 1963, and although Elizabeth Harwood was announced as Rosalinde there was always a doubt as to whether her fragile health would permit her to appear. She was not known in Britain as a performer of Viennese operetta, but she had already recorded The Merry Widow with Karajan and performed Rosalinde in Vienna. In the event, she was in sparkling form, and her last performances with Scottish Opera were memorable for the right reasons.

Other company stalwarts in the cast included David Hillman, Pat Hay, Thomas Hemsley and Gordon Sandison, with Dennis O'Neill also giving sterling service with extra arias in the dungeon scene. One newcomer to the production was Cynthia Buchan, whose Orlofsky was so slight of stature that he was carried on and off on the shoulder (just one shoulder) of his servant.

David Pountney's excellent production, using the translation he had prepared in collaboration with Leonard Hancock, was rehearsed by the company's staff producer, Graham Vick. To what extent the services of translator and director were required by the Frosch is of little importance, for Billy Connolly had complete control over his hysterical audience from his first appearance, and fitted his stage persona to the requirements of the performance like a glove. A real New Year treat for Glaswegians.

Performance Cast

Adele the Eisensteins' maid

Patricia Hay

Rosalinde wife of Eisenstein

Elizabeth Harwood

Alfred an Italian tenor and admirer of Rosalinde

Dennis O'Neill

Gabriel von Eisenstein

David Hillman

Blind Eisenstein's lawyer

Peter Bodenham

Falke a notary and friend of Eisenstein

Thomas Hemsley

Frank prison governor

Gordon Sandison

Ida Adele's sister

Una Buchanan

Orlofsky a rich young Russian prince

Cynthia Buchan

Frosch prison warder

Billy Connolly

Performance DatesFledermaus 1979

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

3 Jan, 19.15 6 Jan, 19.15 9 Jan, 19.15 11 Jan, 19.15 13 Jan, 14.15

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2017

Site by SiteBuddha