Opera Scotland

Bear The Bear

Tours by decade

2010s - 2 tours

2013 - Helios Chamber Opera
Fully Staged, reduced orchestration
2016 - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Fully Staged with Orchestra

Tours by location


William Walton (born Oldham, 29 March 1902; died Ischia, 8 March 1983).


Paul Dehn (1912-1976).


Comedy Medved (1888) by Anton Chekhov (1860-1904).



First Performance: Aldeburgh (Jubilee Hall), 3 June 1967.

First Performance in Scotland: tbc.

Scottish Opera premiere: N/A.



Walton's second opera, The Bear, is a complete contrast with the earlier Troilus and Cressida - a simple comedy in one act, using a chamber orchestra, perhaps reminiscent of the Italian intermezzi from the eighteenth century, such as Pergolesi's La serva padrona. Adapted from a short entertainment by Chekhov, it was commissioned by the English Opera Group and introduced at the Aldeburgh Festival. It is an enjoyably frivolous piece, showing a brief courtship, and full of parodies of Walton's favourite operatic predecessors.



Yeliena Ivanova Popova, a wealthy young widow (mezzo-soprano)

Luka, her manservant (bass-baritone)

Grigory Stepanovitch Smirnov, a neighbour (baritone)


Plot Summary

Madame Popova continues to mourn her late husband, in spite of Luka's view that it is time for her to move on. She may have been a faithful wife, but he was far from being a model husband. Smirnov arrives. He is a great bear of a man, whom Mme Popova considers a boor. She takes an instant dislike to him. He has come to demand settlement of an outstanding debt incurred by the late Popov. An argument develops between the two, and Popova orders Luka to throw the intruder out. A duel is threatened, but the lady would need to be shown how to use a pistol. They quickly realise that their relationship should be on a far more cordial footing.

The Cast

Grigory Stepanovitch Smirnov
 Popova's neighbour
 Madame Popova's manservant
Yeliena Ivanova Popova
 a wealthy widow

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