Opera Scotland

Billy Budd 1987Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Billy Budd

Billy Budd had not been performed in Scotland since the Covent Garden company visited Glasgow shortly after the premiere, and this was the first appearance in Scotland of the revised version.  It was also one of a group of productions described as "Twentieth Century Masters" mounted in conjunction with Opera North.

In many respects it was a great success, but it somehow fell short of the stomach-churning effect on its audiences that this great work should have. Comparisons were inevitable with the previous "provincial" staging, by Michael Geliot for Welsh National in 1973, which had quickly achieved legendary status. So many things worked wonderfully well here - Philip Langridge was the perfect Vere, and John Tomlinson, singing his only solo role with the company (in his first visit since his student days in the 1968 Boris and Götterdämmerung) was a rivetingly nasty Claggart. The cast also boasted such natural creatures of the stage as Andrew Shore as the sailing master Mr Flint and Henry Newman (who had been the Bosun in that Welsh staging) now taking on Donald.

The young Canadian baritone Mark Tinkler was a good Billy, but the great ones such as Theodor Uppman, Peter Glossop, Thomas Allen and Simon Keenlyside have sung the part successfully even when their age should have precluded their success. Perhaps the part is like Romeo, where an actor who is experienced enough to be able to act the character no longer looks sufficiently youthful. He went on to a useful career directing opera and teaching.


Scottish Opera's Season - 1986/87

This season comprised Nine main stage productions plus an Opera-Go-Round staging with piano, and a most unusual Edinburgh Festival event.   The new productions were Carmen, Iolanthe, Intermezzo, Flying DutchmanFrom the House of the DeadBilly Budd,  and  Madama Butterfly.  There were two revivals, The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville.  The Opera-Go Round production was of Verdi's Macbeth,  The season opened at the Edinburgh Festival, with a concert including music from Gershwin's Girl Crazy.

Performance DatesBilly Budd 1987

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

21 May, 19.15 23 May, 19.15 3 Jun, 19.15 6 Jun, 19.15

Tyne Theatre | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

28 May, 19.15

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

23 Jun, 19.15 26 Jun, 19.15

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