Opera Scotland

Dream of Gerontius 1986Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Dream of Gerontius

By 1986 it was clear that the relationship between Simon Rattle and the Birmingham orchestra was rather special, and that year saw them in what amounted to a residency in Edinburgh.

Dame Janet had retired from the strains of fully-staged opera in 1982 and had made it known that even her concert career would end fairly soon. Every performance by her was therefore to be treasured, and this was her last year at the Festival. She returned to Scotland in December for a final tour with the SCO as Purcell's Dido.  She showed scarcely any diminution of her powers at any of these events - Gerontius and Mahler 2 at the Festival or Dido and Aeneas at the end of the year.

The men were also nearing the end of their singing careers, but still on excellent form. John Mitchiinson was a replacement for Anthony Rolfe Johnson, who was listed in the original Festival brochure.


The 1986 Festival

The Edinburgh Festival's Director, Frank Dunlop, was definitely a man of the theatre, and many Festivals had enjoyed the fruits of his labour since the sixties. He had not previously directed an opera, but the highlight in 1986 was clearly his staging of Weber's Oberon, the pantomime elements of which suited him to a tee. The Maly Theatre from Leningrad were the first Russian opera company to visit the Festival, bringing three productions, at a time when it was quite unthinkable that the Kirov and Bolshoi would be almost frequent visitors within a few years. Two fitted the Festival's Tchaikovsky theme. The Toronto Symphony brought a Stravinsky double-bill, simply staged in the Usher Hall, where The Soldier's Taleand Oedipus Rex came over well. A second theme of the Festival was the Scottish Enlightenment and the works of Walter Scott and James Macpherson ('Ossian'), for which the SNO and conductor Neeme Järvi assembled a fascinating evening that ended with a concert performance of Mehul's Ossian opera Uthal

Non-operatic events included notable performances by Simon Rattle and the CBSO of Dream of Gerontius and Mahler's Resurrection Symphony.

Performance DatesDream of Gerontius 1986

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Usher Hall | Edinburgh

29 Aug, 20.00

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