Opera Scotland

Khovanshchina 1962Belgrade Opera

Read more about the opera Khovanshchina

As part of the Edinburgh International Festival, the company from Belgrade were imported to fill a gap in the repertoire - Russian opera had hitherto been ignored, and the Yugoslavs provided the closest to an authentic slavonic sound that we were likely to hear at the height of the Cold War, even if some of the singers had a tendency to perform in Serbo-Croat.

The repertoire they brought was wonderfully unusual and enterprising. In addition to Khovanshchina, the Russian works were Borodin's Prince Igor and Prokofiev's Gambler and Love for Three Oranges, both receiving British premieres. The non-Russian rarity was Massenet's Don Quichotte. Most of these works have now entered the programmes of several British companies, though none is seen with any frequency.

The other opera at the Festival was presented by the English Opera Group - a new staging of Britten’s tense little masterpiece, The Turn of the Screw, with two of the original cast from 1954, Peter Pears and Jennifer Vyvyan, still in the roles they created.

Khovanshchina was definitely a rarity, even in the old Rimsky-Korsakov edition, and this newly-completed realisation, by Shostakovich, was performed the same year both in Edinburgh and in a new production at Covent Garden (also directed by a Yugoslav, Vlado Habunek).

Cast details are from a copy of the programme.

Performance DatesKhovanshchina 1962

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King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

27 Aug, 19.00 29 Aug, 19.00 1 Sep, 19.00

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