Opera Scotland

Gondoliers 1969Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Gondoliers

After its opening sequence of five performances in Edinburgh before Christmas, this staging received a further nine during the spring, including a number of matinees. There were several changes in the cast, and while it may seem odd to mention two of the smaller roles, the husband-and-wife pair of Barbara Walker and Robert Ferguson did not appear again with Scottish Opera, but enjoyed long and successful years with ENO and Opera North. Three of the performances represented the debut of Nan Christie, a young Scottish soprano who went on to a notable international career. Also, with it being the main spring season, the SNO was available to play in the pit.

This run played in repertoire with further performances of Full Circle, Albert Herring and Così fan tutte. The most ambitious work in the season was Berlioz's epic The Trojans, mounted to commemmorate the centenary of the composer's death.


Scottish Opera's Eighth Season - 1969

The spring season contained one new production, The Trojans, with further performances of the recent Gondoliers and Full Circle, with revivals of Così fan tutte and Albert Herring.  The latter was taken on a three-stop German tour following up its visit to Florence in 1968.  A further new work was introduced at the Festival (on the Fringe) and the company's first full-scale Rossini at Christmas.

Western Theatre Ballet, had relocated to Glasgow as Scottish Theatre Ballet and so were available to collaborate on The Trojans and provide two  short works to partner Full Circle.

The seven operas performed during the year were:  Mozart (Così fan tutte);  Rossini (Cinderella);  Berlioz (The Trojans);  Sullivan (The Gondoliers); Britten (Albert Herring);  Orr (Full Circle);  and Purser (The Undertaker). 

The schedule was as follows:

Perth, w/c 31 March: Mon 31 np;  Tue 1 Apr np; Wed 2 np;  Thu 3 np;  Fri 4 np;  Sat 5 Così fan tutte.

Perth, w/c 7 April:  Mon 7 Così fan tutte; Tue 8 np; Wed 9 mat Full Circle & Ballet;  Wed 9 e Full Circle & Ballet;  Thu 10 Così fan tutte ;  Fri 11 Albert Herring;  Sat 12 Così fan tutte.

Glasgow, w/c 29 Apr:  Mon 28 np; Tue 29 np;  Wed 30 np;  Thu 1 May np;  Fri 2 np;  Sat 3 Trojans.

Glasgow, w/c 5 May:  Mon 5 Full Circle & Ballet;  Tue 6 np;  Wed 7 Così fan tutte; Thu 8 m Full Circle & Ballet;  Thu 8 e Full Circle & Ballet;  Fri 9 Così fan tutte;  Sat 10 Trojans.

Glasgow: w/c 12 May:  Mon 12 np;  Tue 13 Così fan tutte;  Wed 14 Trojans;  Thu 15 m Gondoliers;  Thu 15 e Gondoliers;  Fri 16 Albert Herring;  Sat 17 m Gondoliers;  Sat 17 e Gondoliers.

Edinburgh w/c 19 May:  Mon 19 Trojans;  Tue 20 Così fan tutte;  Wed 21 m Full Circle & Ballet;  Wed 21 e Full Circle & Ballet;  Thu 22 m Gondoliers;  Thu 22 e Gondoliers;  Fri 23 Così fan tutte;  Sat 24 Trojans.

Week comm 26/05:  Hanover Mon 26 Albert Herring;  Wed 28 Dortmund Albert Herring;  Fri 30 Augsburg Albert Herring.

Aberdeen, w/c 2 June:  Mon 2 np;  Tue 3 Così fan tutte;  Wed 4 Gondoliers;  Thu 5 Albert Herring;  Fri 6 Gondoliers;  Sat 7 Così fan tutte.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe saw 10 performances, late-night at the Gateway Theatre in Leith Walk, of a double bill of short works.  The serious and well-regarded Full Circle was now paired with a new piece by John Purser - The Undertaker, a black comedy.

Edinburgh, w/c 1 Sep:  Mon 1;  Tue 2;  Wed 3;  Thu 4;  Fri 5;  Sat 6.

Edinburgh, w/c 8 Sep:  Mon 8;  Tue 9;  Wed 10;  Thu 11,

The company followed the previous year's precedent by mounting a pre-Christmas season at the Edinburgh King's.  There was a new production of Rossini's Cenerentola.  Also, as Edinburgh had not seen it in the spring, there were two further performances of Albert Herring, as well as more ballet, this time allowed complete evenings.

Edinburgh, w/c 1 December:  Mon 1 np; Tue 2 np; Wed 3 np; Thu 4 np; Fri 5 Cinderella;  Sat 6 Albert Herring.

Edinburgh, w/c 8 December:  Mon 8 Cinderella; Tue 9 np;  Wed 10 Cinderella;  Thu 11 np;  Fri 12 Cinderella;  Sat 13 Albert Herring.

The small-scale, piano-accompanied Opera For All tour continued.  Early in the year, two long-running productions, Madam Butterfly and Don Giovanni, were joined by Don Pasquale, replacing The Barber of Seville.  In the Autumn they were in turn retired, and Don Pasquale was joined by two new productions, Martha and La traviata.

Performance Cast

Fiametta a Contadina

Ann Baird (Gla; Edi)

Nan Christie (Abn)

Francesco a Venetian Gondolier

Robert Ferguson

Giulia a Contadina

Barbara Walker

Antonio a Venetian Gondolier

John Lawson Graham

Giorgio a Venetian Gondolier

John Leishman

Vittoria a Contadina

Karen Russell

Marco Palmieri a Venetian Gondolier

John Wakefield

Giuseppe Palmieri a Venetian Gondolier

Ronald Morrison

Tessa a Contadina

Janet Hughes

Gianetta a Contadina

Patricia Hay

Duke of Plaza-Toro a Grandee of Spain

Ian Wallace

Duchess of Plaza-Toro

Johanna Peters

Casilda daughter of the Duke and Duchess

Jill Gomez (Gla; Edi)

Ann Baird (Abn)

Luiz the Duke's Attendant

John Robertson

Don Alhambra del Bolero the Grand Inquisitor

William McCue


Bruce Clark

Inez the King's Foster-mother

Elsa Kendal

Performance DatesGondoliers 1969

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

15 May, 14.00 15 May, 19.00 17 May, 14.00 17 May, 19.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

22 May, 14.00 22 May, 19.00

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

4 Jun, 19.00 6 Jun, 19.00 7 Jun, 14.00

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