Opera Scotland

Nozze di Figaro 1959Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Marriage of Figaro

This further revival of the Seale staging had a cast dominated by Australians - John Cameron,  Patricia Howard,  Patricia Bartlett, Kevin Miller - and not forgetting choreographer Philippe Perrottet.


Dundee Press Opinion

Dundee Courier & Advertiser: Friday, May 1, 1959

“Figaro” is still a favourite

'Only a few seats were empty at Sadler's Wells Opera's Marriage of Figaro at Dundee Gaumont Theatre last night, though it was the third year in succession there of Mozart's comedy.  Such is the rightful fame of this Sadler's Wells production, which has been running steadily in London and other parts of the country all that time.  With the beautiful dressing, superb mounting and the quality of its singing and playing (which seemed even better last night than on the previous Dundee occasions), Figaro well repaid those making return visits.  The satirical comedy of manners and complicated intrigue was played and sung with joyous delicacy, sparkling with animated wit.

'Eleven excellent principals, each with individual voices well chosen as to character, presented the stream of melodies and the frequent masterly concerted pieces with delicious effect.  The achievement of such precision in the finale to Act II, with seven giving vent to the personal points of view, brought a storm of applause.  Much of the verve which was a feature of the whole performance was due to James Robertson's conducting.

'Several changes in the cast compared with the last two years added to the interest.  The Australian baritone, John Cameron, appeared as the new Figaro, and gave a highly diverting study.  Vigorous and facile singing, mobile stagecraft, and a well-developed comic sense made his Figaro outstanding. Twice before we have heard Patricia Howard's vivacious Susanna in Dundee, and last night she was in finely agile voice. A most versatile soprano, she was equally attractive in melody as in arch recitative.

'John Hargreaves returned to sing Count Almaviva with his customary smoothness of tone and to give that air of dignity mixed with sly cynicism which I always find so delightful. Patricia Bartlett, as the Countess, was excellent in legato singing, and in the bravura weight required in Mozart's arias for soprano seria.

'A new Cherubino, Ann Robson, won high opinions for quality of mezzo tone. Basso Harold Blackburn was a sonorous Dr Bartolo, and Barbara Howitt an excellent Marcellina.  Kevin Miller's Don Basilio, oily and amusing, revealed his fine tenor quality; and other parts were taken by Leon Greene (Antonio), Edwin Jepps (Don Curzio), and Beryl Cornish (Barbarina).'

The cast shown is as performed in Dundee


Sadler's Wells Opera in Scotland - 1959

This tour was extremely unusual in that it lasted three weeks, spread across three cities.  The same repertoire was presented in each of the venues - Edinburgh (King's Theatre), Dundee (Gaumont Theatre) and Glasgow (King's Theatre).

The six operas performed in each city were Mozart (Marriage of Figaro); Beethoven (Fidelio);  Verdi (Rigoletto);  Bizet (Carmen);  Puccini (Madam Butterfly) and  Lehár (Merry Widow).

The tour schedule was:

Edinburgh, w/c 20 Apr:  Mon 20 Merry Widow;  Tue 21 Carmen;  Wed 22 Fidelio;  Thu 23 Marriage of Figaro;  Fri 24 Madam Butterfly;  Sat 25 m Merry Widow;  Sat 25 e Rigoletto.

Dundee, w/c 27 Apr:  Mon 27 Merry Widow;  Tue 28  Madam Butterfly;  Wed 29 Carmen;  Thu 30 Marriage of Figaro;  Fri 1 May Fidelio;  Sat 2 m Merry Widow;  Sat 2 e Rigoletto.

Glasgow, w/c 4 May:  Mon 4 Merry Widow;  Tue 5 Madam Butterfly; Wed 6 Marriage of Figaro;  Thu 7 Fidelio;  Fri 8 Carmen;  Sat 9 m Merry Widow;  Sat 9 e Rigoletto

Performance Cast

Figaro the Count's valet

John Cameron (Apr 30)

Susanna the Countess's maid

Patricia Howard (Apr 30)

Bartolo a doctor, the Countess's former guardian

Harold Blackburn (Apr 30)

Marcellina Bartolo's housekeeper

Barbara Howitt (Apr 30)

Cherubino the Count's page

Ann Robson (Apr 30)

Count Almaviva

John Hargreaves (Apr 30)

Don Basilio a priest and music master

Kevin Miller (Apr 30)

Countess Almaviva

Patricia Bartlett (Apr 30)

Antonio a gardener, Susanna's uncle

Leon Greene (Apr 30)

Don Curzio a lawyer

Edwin Jepps (Apr 30)

Barbarina daugher of Antonio

Beryl Cornish (Apr 30)

First Peasant Girl

Pamela Cotton (Apr 30)

Second Peasant Girl

Anne Caswell (Apr 30)


Sophia Trant (Apr 30)

Shirley Roberts (Apr 30)

Robert Blake (Apr 30)

Michele Greenberg (Apr 30)

Performance DatesNozze di Figaro 1959

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

23 Apr, 19.30

Gaumont Theatre | Dundee

30 Apr, 19.30

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

6 May, 19.30

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