Opera Scotland

Barbiere di Siviglia 1971Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Barber of Seville

Scottish Opera took nearly a decade to get round to staging The Barber, and the production could not have been simpler – a gently sloping platform with balustrades at either side, and orange curtains forming a group of adjustable cubicles across the back. It proved highly versatile and could be toured to all sorts of spaces. A further point of interest was the alternation between mezzo-soprano (Anne Howells) and soprano (Pat Hay) in the role of Rosina. Honours were about even - sopranos only sound wrong if the voice is lighter or more shrill than the rich tone provided by Hay. David Hillman and Michael Maurel, both now regulars in Scotland, gave lively, excellently characterised performances. Judith Pierce was a larger than life Berta, making a far greater impression than this marginal character usually does. The Texan bass Elfego Esparza seemed far more in his natural element as a well-rounded Bartolo, than he had in 1968 in the Wagnerian world of Hagen.

This production also introduced the newly cleaned-up style of orchestration, with a much lighter, crisper sound than before. Gary Bertini had until now only appeared in Scotland with the SNO with whom he was a popular Chief Guest Conductor, but now he also returned for several operas over the next few seasons. The Scottish Baroque Ensenble, already used for the Britten chamber operas, was now expanded to chamber orchestra dimensions, with excellent results.


As well as the summer week at the Lyceum, the production was taken on a tour later in the year. This autumn itinerary also included a new staging by novice director David Pountney of The Rake's Progress, and a further revival of  the familia Don Giovanni.

Scottish Opera gave the opening performances at the newly-built MacRobert Centre at the University of Stirling and also visited Belfast for the first time.

Performance Cast

Fiorello servant of the Count

John Lawson Graham

Count Almaviva a young nobleman

David Hillman

Figaro a barber

Michael Maurel

Rosina Bartolo's ward

Anne Howells (Jul 26, 28, 31; Oct 2, 6, 8, 14, 16)

Patricia Hay (Jul 27, 29, 30; Oct 20, 22, 27, 29; Nov 3, 5)

Bartolo a doctor, Rosina's guardian

Elfego Esparza

Ambrogio Bartolo's servant

Peter Lyon

Berta Bartolo's housekeeper

Judith Pierce

Don Basilio a singing teacher

William McCue


John Lawson Graham


Ian Westrip

Performance DatesBarbiere di Siviglia 1971

Map List

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

26 Jul, 19.30 27 Jul, 19.30 28 Jul, 19.30 29 Jul, 19.30 30 Jul, 19.30 31 Jul, 19.30

MacRobert Arts Centre | Stirling

2 Oct, 19.30 6 Oct, 19.30 8 Oct, 19.30

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

14 Oct, 19.30 16 Oct, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

20 Oct, 19.30 22 Oct, 19.30

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

27 Oct, 19.30 29 Oct, 19.30

Grand Opera House, Belfast | Belfast

3 Nov, 19.30 5 Nov, 19.30

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