Opera Scotland

Nozze di Figaro 1973Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Marriage of Figaro

For the spring 1973 revival of Figaro, Scottish Opera presented it in Italian for the first time - the company's language policy had previously been, by and large, to do comedy in English and tragedy in the original.

Many of the singers were familiar with the staging from the 1972 revival. Newcomers were led by Jill Gomez as the Countess (memorably launching the second verse of 'Dove sono' on the merest thread of sound, just as she had done with 'Per pietà' in the previous season's Così revival). Elizabeth Bainbridge and David Kelly were both familiar with their roles from Covent Garden. The two Counts were strongly contrasted - the Dutch baritone tall, youthful and dangerous, the Welshman's portrayal stout, red-faced, petulant, in a word - choleric - and not very bright. Figaro and Susanna, as well as the smaller roles, switched language with no difficulty at all.

We have received one fascinating piece of information concerning this tour.  John Duffus, who spent most of his career with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and other managerial posts in the far east, was, at this time, with Scottish Opera as Technical Controller. He remembers one performance on this tour as 'tri-lingual'.

Jill Gomez and Peter van der Bilt were  both indisposed.  Catherine Wilson, who had sung in the first run (1968) and given two performances in 1972, was available, singing Ellen Orford in the Peter Grimes revival.  She had never sung the work in Italian but was able to go on in place of Jill Gomez, but singing in English.  The Count was more problematic. However Peter-Christoph Runge was singing Ottone in Coronation of Poppea, also in English.  As that run was in full swing he was now commuting from his home in Düsseldorf.  However he was able to fly in early and go on in place of Peter van der Bilt, but singing in German! 

At the time of writing, we have not been able to identify the venue(s) involved, never mind the dates. The other singers were accustomed to roles being sung in English, but to have one of the artists singing in German is remembered as a strange experience. 

Performance Cast

Figaro the Count's valet

Stafford Dean

Susanna the Countess's maid

Patricia Hay

Cherubino the Count's page

Rosanne Creffield

Count Almaviva a Spanish grandee

Peter van der Bilt (Exc Apr 4, 6, 13, 14 & 1 other)

Delme Bryn-Jones (Apr 4, 6, 13, 14)

Peter-Christophe Runge (1 perf)

Bartolo a doctor, the Countess's former guardian

William McCue (Exc Apr 13, 14; May 8)

David Kelly (April 13, 14; May 8)

Marcellina Bartolo's housekeeper

Judith Pierce (Exc May 8, 9)

Elizabeth Bainbridge (May 8, 9)

Don Basilio a priest and music master

John Robertson

Countess Almaviva

Jill Gomez (Exc 1 perf)

Catherine Wilson (1 perf)

Antonio a gardener, Susanna's uncle

Malcolm Donnelly

Don Curzio a lawyer

David Fieldsend

Barbarina daugher of Antonio

Nan Christie

First Peasant Girl

Ann Dempsey

Second Peasant Girl

Elizabeth Ritchie

Performance DatesNozze di Figaro 1973

Map List

MacRobert Arts Centre | Stirling

22 Mar, 19.30 24 Mar, 19.30

Empire Theatre, Sunderland | Sunderland

30 Mar, 19.30 31 Mar, 19.30

Royal Court Theatre | Liverpool

4 Apr, 19.30 6 Apr, 19.30

Perth Theatre | Perth

13 Apr, 19.30 14 Apr, 19.30

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

8 May, 19.30 9 May, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

30 May, 19.30 31 May, 19.30

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

6 Jun, 19.30

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