Opera Scotland

Haddo House C & O Society Suggest updates

The Society was founded after the war by June Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair and her husband, David Gordon, the 4th Marquess. The first music performance was a carol concert in the chapel at Haddo House, inaugurating a community-based tradition that has continued and developed for over sixty years.

A performance of Handel's Messiah took place in 1947. Led by its driving force, Lady Aberdeen, Society activities soon expanded to include drama, more large-scale choral works, opera and operetta (particularly the work of Gilbert and Sullivan).  Opera was not performed every year but the repertoire seems to have been notable, included several rarities, and has always given opportunities to promising young singers.

A preliminary list of productions is given below. Among operas still to be added are further stagings of Britten - an earlier Gloriana (1971) and two productions of Peter Grimes. There was a first attempt at William Tell in 1973, and two of Turandot, one of them in 1990. Haydn's L'incontro improvviso and Verdi's Attila remain rarities. The Pearl Fishers (1975), and La traviata (2002) are perhaps less scarce nowadays. The works of Vaughan Williams, who had been a teacher of Lady Aberdeen's, were also featured, with stagings including Hugh the Drover and The Poisoned Kiss.

It is likely also that we will add details of some of the oratorios performed, including Handel's Hercules, staged in 2000.



Sources: various, including some of the later Haddo House programmes. We are most grateful to Alice Dennis for the loan of this material.

However, it is likely that research to recover and list details of all opera performances will take some considerable time. If you can help us with any information or reminiscence, particularly in relation to some of the earlier opera performances, please let us know.

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