Opera Scotland

Straniera 1972Teatro Massimo, Palermo

Read more about the opera Straniera

The Festival 's guest company in 1972 was the Teatro Massimo from Palermo. The quality of the productions and performances was mixed, and the reception by the critics was on the whole cool.  While orchestra and chorus were not of the first rank, there was still lots to enjoy from the singers.  It was unfortunate that the Verdi, in particular, was hampered by ill-health on the part of some soloists.

Three rareties from the Italian ottocento repertoire were presented.  The Rossini was the first of his important Naples commissions, Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra.  The Verdi was Attila.  It was also essential that this company should feature a work by a Sicilian composer.  The obvious candidate, Bellini, was represented by La straniera.

This was a very rare revival, and the most successful of the pieces brought to Edinburgh by the Sicilians. Renata Scotto was excellent at this type of work, giving an object-lesson in the art of dramatically effective bel canto, making it hard to understand the work's neglect.

Domenico Trimarchi, a baritone better known for buffo parts, here showed his lyric credentials, and the young soprano Elena Zilio made her little aria into a real gem.  The basses sounded completely distinctive in their short roles, and Garaventa gave a workmanlike performance as a character difficult to take seriously.

The production was also beautifully designed, with stylishly lavish medieval costumes and unusually atmospheric lighting.


Opera at the Edinburgh Festival - 1972

The Festival 's opening week contained Scottish Opera's 1969 staging of The Trojans, revived with Janet Baker as Dido and Helga Dernesch as Cassandra.

There was a guest company - an unfamiliar German team, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein from Düsseldorf and Duisberg.  They brought two highly contrasted pieces.  Die Soldaten, by the late Bernd Alois Zimmermann, was a large-scale modern piece of music theatre.  Their other work was a complete contrast - a very early example of opera, or perhaps staged oratorio, Emilio de' Cavalieri's Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo.

The second team of visitors was the Teatro Massimo from Palermo.  Three rarities from the Italian  ottocento repertoire were presented.  The Rossini was the recently-revived first of his important Naples commissions, Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra.  The Verdi was the early Attila.  It was also essential that this company should feature a work by a Sicilian composer.  The obvious candidate, Bellini, was represented by an unknown early work,  La straniera.

In sum, the operas were by Cavalieri (Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo);  Rossini (Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra);  Bellini (La straniera);  Berlioz (The Trojans);  Verdi (Attila); Zimmermann (Die Soldaten)

Among the concerts at the Usher Hall, Daniel Barenboim conducted the London Philharmonic in two performances of the Brahms German Requiem.  Mahler's vocal symphony Das Lied von der Erde was presented by the Berlin Philharmonic and Herbert von Karajan.

The opera schedule was as follows:

Week commencing 21 August:  Mon 21 Die Soldaten; Tue 22 Die Soldaten; Wed 23 np;  Thu 24 Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo & The Trojans;  25 Rappresentatione;  26 The Trojans.

Week commencing 28 August: Mon 28 Attila;  Tue 29 np;  Wed 30 Attila;  Thu 31 La straniera;  Fri 1 Sep Attila;  Sat 2 La straniera.

Week commencing 4 September: Mon 4 Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra;  Tue 5 La straniera;  Wed 6 The Trojans;  Thu 7 Elisabetta;  Fri 8 La straniera;  Sat 9 Elisabetta.


Bellini Operas at the Edinburgh Festival

During his ten year composing career, Vincenzo Bellini produced ten operas.  If only five of these have been seen at the Festival, at  least the casts have displayed five of the leading sopranos of the age - Maria Callas,  Joan Sutherland,  Anna Moffo,  Renata Scotto and Cecilia Bartoli - as well as some decent tenors (including Luciano Pavarotti , Nicola Monti and Giacomo Aragall).

The ten operas are:  Adelson e Salvini (1825);  Bianca e Fernando (1826);  Il pirata (1827);  La straniera (1829);  Zaira (1830);  I Capuleti e i Montecchi (1830);   La sonnambula  (1831);   Norma (1831);  Beatrice di Tenda (1833);  I puritani (1835).

Performance Cast

Agnese of Pomerania disguised as Alaide

Renata Scotto

Leopoldo Agnese's brother, disguised as Baron Valdeburgo

Domenico Trimarchi

Arturo Count of Ravenstel

Ottavio Garaventa

Isoletta betrothed to Arturo

Elena Zilio

Duke of Montolino Isoletta's father

Guido Mazzini

Osburgo Arturo's friend

Gian Paolo Corradi

Prior of the Knights Hospitaller

Enrico Campi

Performance DatesStraniera 1972

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

31 Aug, 19.30 2 Sep, 19.30 5 Sep, 19.30 8 Sep, 19.30

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