Opera Scotland

Così fan tutte 1965Bavarian State Opera, Munich

Read more about the opera Così fan tutte

The 1965 Edinburgh Festival presented an interesting group of five works. The foreign guest company was the Bavarian State Opera, from Munich, making its only Edinburgh appearance - their own Munich Festival tends to run around the same same time. The two pieces they brought were a beautifully cast, if conventional, staging of Così fan tutte, and the British premiere of a then little-known Strauss comedy, Intermezzo. The English Opera Group brought Albert Herring, which was just returning to the repertoire. The Festival itself mounted two operas in conjunction with the Holland Festival which was also run by Festival director Peter Diamand. These were a controversial staging of Don Giovanni and a delightful introduction to Haydn opera, with Le pescatrici.

This group of performances seems strange, with benefit of hindsight, because the great Scottish Opera production followed a couple of years later, and transformed opinions of the work itself. This version was performed in what was the traditional German style of the time, heavily-cut, sung in German, and played in a broadly humorous style. And yet on paper both casts look very good.

The American Claire Watson lived in Munich for many years, and was the locals' favourite soprano for Strauss and Mozart. Leonore Kirschstein also sang in Scotland as Sieglinde a few years later. Donald Grobe returned to Edinburgh twice with the Berlin company, and he and Keith Engen sang these Mozart roles in 1968, in Italian, as guests at the Royal Opera House - the first time the Covent Garden company had ever performed the work. Hanny Steffek had already recorded Despina in the classic recording with Karl Böhm, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Christa Ludwig. And then there was the wonderful Fritz Wunderlich as Ferrando.

Performance Cast

Ferrando a young army officer

Fritz Wunderlich (Sep 6, 8)

Donald Grobe (Sep 7, 10)

Guglielmo another officer, Ferrando's friend

Raimund Grumbach

Don Alfonso a middle-aged bachelor

Keith Engen (Sep 6, 8)

Karl Christian Kohn (Sep 7, 10)

Fiordiligi a young lady from Ferrara, engaged to Guglielmo

Claire Watson (Sep 6, 8)

Leonore Kirschstein (Sep 7, 10)

Dorabella Fiordiligi's sister, engaged to Ferrando

Hertha Töpper (Sep 6, 8)

Lilian Benningsen (Sep 7, 10)

Despina maidservant to the sisters

Hanny Steffek (Sep 6, 8)

Gertrud Freedmann (Sep 7, 10)

Performance DatesCosì fan tutte 1965

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

6 Sep, 19.00 7 Sep, 19.00 8 Sep, 19.00 10 Sep, 19.00

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