Opera Scotland

Postman Always Rings Twice 1983Opera Theatre of St Louis

Read more about the opera Postman Always Rings Twice

Opera Theatre of St Louis maintains an excellent record for producing new work, and it was good to see them open their Edinburgh visit with a piece premiered only the year before. The source novel is a modern classic, popular in cinema adaptations. It didn't really make an ideal opera - all very well put together, but the bits that should have been highly dramatic rather hung fire, as though the composer was reluctant to go over the top. It was very well performed by a team of unfamiliar names (though Michael Myers would work with Scottish Opera again soon).


Opera at the Edinburgh Festival 1983

The operatic highlight of the 1983 Edinburgh Festival was undoubtedly the first visit by Opera Theatre of St Louis, with a new American work, The Postman Always Rings Twice (Paulus) and a rare British one, Fennimore and Gerda (Delius). Perhaps it enjoyed a lower profile, but Scottish Opera's staging of Britten's Death in Venice, derived from the novella by Thomas Mann, fitted in well to the Festival's Viennese theme. There was also the fourth appearance by the Hamburg company, their first since 1968. The Magic Flute production, at the vast Playhouse, was very different from its predecessors, and very entertaining. However a far more important event occurred at the more intimate King's Theatre, with the British premiere of two operas by Zemlinsky, both derived from Oscar Wilde, and presented as a double-bill. While the first piece, a three-hander called A Florentine Tragedy, worked well, it was overshadowed by the second piece. Zemlinsky's title, Der Zwerg (The Dwarf) was replaced by a restoration of Wilde's original, Der Geburtstag der Infantin (The Birthday of the Infanta). It proved to be a superb piece, well worthy of revival. The Usher Hall also contained two semi-operatic concerts, with Claudio Abbado on unfamiliar Wagnerian territory (Act 2 of Lohengrin), and Alexander Gibson and the local team tackling Schoenberg's huge Gurrelieder for the first time. Another Schoenberg rarity, the monodrama Erwartung, was also conducted by Abbado.

Performance Cast

Frank Chambers unemployed

David Parsons

Sackett District Attorney

Daniel Sullivan

Nick Papadakis owner of the Twin Oaks Tavern

Michael Myers

Cora Nick's wife

Karen Hunt

First Cop (Motorcycle)

David Evitts

Second Cop (Jail)

Gordon Holleman

Katz a lawyer

Carroll Freeman

Kennedy Katz's sidekick

David Evitts

Performance DatesPostman Always Rings Twice 1983

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

6 Sep, 19.30 9 Sep, 19.30

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