Opera Scotland

Oedipus Rex 1956Hamburg State Opera

Read more about the opera Oedipus Rex

Leopold Ludwig and his Hamburg forces had gained invaluable experience in 1952 when they had brought substantial pieces such as Fidelio, Meistersinger and Rosenkavalier to the diminutive King's Theatre. Perhaps that is why the only truly large-scale item on the 1956 programme was Salome. Then again, in 1968 they would come back with the Dutchman and Elektra.

In addition to Salome, the 1956 visit included Die Zauberflöte, a double-bill of little-known Stravinsky pieces, Oedipus Rex and Mavra, with a real rarity in the delightful comedy The Barber of Bagdad by Peter Cornelius.

A stimulating double bill of Stravinsky - both works receiving Scottish premieres, and the lighter second item Mavra, was given its first performance in the UK. Indeed, even Oedipus had only been given as a concert item before this.

The Rennert staging was not thought to take most advantage of the opportunity, since the soloists were further back than usual, so failed to project as they should. A further problem arose simply because Helmut Melchert's performance was seriously hindered by a severe cold. The important role of the narrator was played by a Scottish actor.

Performance Cast

Oedipus King of Thebes

Helmut Melchert

Creon Jocasta's brother

James Pease

Tiresias a blind soothsayer

Arnold van Mill

Jocasta wife of Oedipus

Maria von Ilosvay


Fritz Lehnert


Caspar Bröcheler

Performance DatesOedipus Rex 1956

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

21 Aug, 19.00 28 Aug, 19.00 5 Sep, 19.00

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