Opera Scotland

Entführung aus dem Serail 1978Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Seraglio

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.

David Pountney and his design team from the 1974 Magic Flute enjoyed equal success with their production of the earlier Singspiel. At curtain rise the stage was filled with the external wall of Selim's palace, which clearly looked ramshackle. When the action moved inside it became clear where the money was spent - the interior decor was lavish and richly coloured (largely crimson), and Maria Bjørnson's costumes were just as impressive. Pountney's treatment gave the work an overall seriousness which it has sometimes lacked in other stagings.

The production opened at the Glasgow Theatre Royal at the tail-end of the 1977/78 season (dates to be added) before going on tour. It came back in the autumn for a short tour to Perth, Dundee and Newcastle before returning to Glasgow for further performances before Christmas. 

The cast was extremely good. Rupert Frazer, a familiar figure at both the Citizens' Theatre and Edinburgh Festival, made an excellent Selim, young and intelligent, who made a credible rival for Belmonte. That role was divided between two great Welsh tenors - Robert Tear now a regular guest singing roles he didn't do elsewhere, and Dennis O'Neill fast developing into a versatile and valued lyric tenor. As Osmin the company was able to bring in Stafford Dean and Robert Lloyd, who were company regulars, and as a late replacement Willard White who would become one. Graham Clark and Nan Christie were perfect as the servants. As Konstanze, the young American Catherine Malfitano had already sung Susanna and Zerlina at Covent Garden and Gilda in Wales, but was now on the verge of justified star status. The Australian Joan Carden had also appeared at Covent Garden (as Gilda), and sang Donna Anna in the superb Peter Hall staging of Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne.

The familiar figure of Gary Bertini launched the production with his usual crispness of approach in this repertoire.

Performance Cast

Belmonte a Spanish aristocrat

Robert Tear (Mar; Apr; May; exc Mar 22; Apr 1; May 12)

Dennis O'Neill (Mar 22; Apr 1; May 12; Nov; Dec)

Osmin the Pasha's overseer

Stafford Dean (Mar; Apr; May exc May 12)

Willard White (May 12)

Robert Lloyd (Nov; Dec)

Konstanze a Spanish lady

Catherine Malfitano (Exc Mar 30; Apr 1, 6, 8)

Joan Carden (Mar 30; Apr 1, 6, 8)

Pedrillo Belmonte's servant

Graham Clark

Blonde Konstanze's English maid

Nan Christie

Selim a Turkish Pasha

Rupert Frazer (Mar; Apr; May)

Michael Follis (Nov; Dec)

Performance DatesEntführung aus dem Serail 1978

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

1 Mar, 19.15 13 Dec, 19.15 16 Dec, 19.15 19 Dec, 19.15 21 Dec, 19.15

Empire Theatre, Liverpool | Liverpool

22 Mar, 19.15 25 Mar, 19.15

Grand Theatre, Leeds | Leeds

30 Mar, 19.15 1 Apr, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

6 Apr, 19.30 8 Apr, 19.30

Kings Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

10 May, 19.15 12 May, 19.15

Perth Theatre | Perth

23 May, 19.15 25 May, 19.15 27 Nov, 19.15

College of Education Theatre | Dundee

29 Nov, 19.15 1 Dec, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

7 Dec, 19.15 9 Dec, 19.15

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