Opera Scotland

Comte Ory 1969Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Count Ory

This was the only appearance in Scotland of Anthony Besch’s delightful production of Rossini's bubbly late comedy. It had opened at Sadler's Wells on 20 February 1963, with Elizabeth Harwood as Adèle and Alexander Young as Ory. The conductor then was Alexander Gibson, on a rare visit to his old stamping ground. It is a great pity that Scottish Opera have not yet mounted the piece on its main stages - it was given in a small-scale, piano-accompanied tour in the early seventies, but financial cuts at that time meant the Opera For All touring structure was axed completely, and the work's exposure was limited.

It is a lovely opera - much of the music was recycled in a simplified form from his grandiose Coronation farce The Journey to Rheims, which has only fairly recently come back into circulation. The quality of the whole piece is nevertheless very high.

Peter Rice's set designs consisted of a turquoise backcloth covered with silver fleurs de lys, and a miniature castle constructed on stage. These combined with elements influenced by a medieval book of hours. The knights riding off in the overture and returning at the end were attached to hobby-horses. It was all very elegant and charming, and Besch's stylish direction ensured that the farcical elements of the plot, such as the fake nuns' drunken debaucheries, never became too crude.

Cast details from a programme in the OperaScotland collection


Sadler's Wells Opera in Scotland - 1969

The 1969 tour was the last occasion on which Sadler's Wells visited Aberdeen.  There was a single week in Edinburgh (King's Theatre), followed by one in Aberdeen (His Majesty's) and three in Glasgow (King's).  Eight operas were brought, four being seen in all three cities and a further four just in Glasgow.

The operas were:  Mozart (Magic Flute);  Rossini (Count Ory);  Verdi (Force of Destiny);  Offenbach (Bluebeard);  Sullivan (Patience);  Puccini (Madam Butterfly);  Strauss (Ariadne on Naxos) and Stravinsky (Rake's Progress).

The tour schedule was as follows:

Edinburgh, w/c 13 October:  Mon 13 Magic Flute;  Tue 14 Rake's Progress;  Wed 15 Bluebeard;  Thu 16 Magic Flute;  Fri 17 Force of Destiny;  Sat 18 Bluebeard

Aberdeen, w/c 20 October:  Mon 20 Magic Flute;  Tue 21 Rake's Progress;  Wed 22 Bluebeard;  Thu 23 Magic Flute;  Fri 24 Force of Destiny;  Sat 25 Bluebeard.

Glasgow, w/c 27 October:  Mon 27 np;  Tue 28 Magic Flute;  Wed 29 Count Ory;  Thu 30 Bluebeard;  Fri 31 Rake's Progress;  Sat 1 Nov Bluebeard.

Glasgow, w/c 3 November:  Mon 3 Count Ory;  Tue 4 Bluebeard;  Wed 5 Force of Destiny;  Thu 6 Rake's Progress;  Fri 7 Magic Flute;  Sat 8 Force of Destiny.

Glasgow, w/c 10 November:  Mon 10 Patience;  Tue 11 Ariadne on Naxos;  Wed 12 Madam Butterfly;  Thu 13 Ariadne on Naxos;  Fri 14 Patience;  Sat 15  Madam Butterfly.

Performance Cast

Raimbaud a friend of Ory

Denis Dowling

Alice a peasant girl

Frances Reid

Ragonde housekeeper at Formoutiers Castle

Katherine Pring

Count Ory a dissolute young nobleman

Francis Egerton

Gouverneur Ory's tutor

Anthony Raffell

Isolier Ory's page

Maureen Morelle

Countess Adèle of Formoutiers

Catherine Wilson

First Chevalier Ory's companion

Elvet Hughes

Second Chevalier Ory's companion

Peter Tracey

Court Lady

Jean Manning

Performance DatesComte Ory 1969

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

29 Oct, 19.30 3 Nov, 19.30

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