Opera Scotland

Billy Budd 1952Covent Garden Opera

Read more about the opera Billy Budd

This two week visit to Glasgow by the Covent Garden company gave Scottish audiences their first opportunity to see two new works - not just the Festival of Britain commission, Billy Budd, but also a fascinating late work by Vaughan Williams, The Pilgrim's Progress.

The schedule for the fortnight was:

Week commencing 17 March: Mon 17 Turandot;  Tue 18 Pilgrim's Progress;  Wed 19 Salome;  Thu 20 Magic Flute;  Fri 21 Aïda;  Sat 22 mat  Bohème;  Sat 22 eve  Tosca.

Week commencing 24 March: Mon 24  Aïda;  Tue 25  Salome;  Wed 26  Magic Flute;  Thu 27  Bohème;  Fri 28  Billy Budd;  Sat 29 mat  Tosca; Sat 29 eve  Turandot.

For Billy Budd, the cast was, with two exceptions, the same as for the first performance at Covent Garden.  Admittedly those two absentees were important - the composer himself on the podium, and Peter Pears as Captain Vere.  But the rest of the cast still makes this an event of historic importance, and the only occasion on which the original four-act version of the opera was performed in Scotland.

Cast details are from a programme in the Gardiner collection (Mitchell Library).

Performance DatesBilly Budd 1952

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King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

28 Mar, 19.30

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