Opera Scotland

Traviata 1950Covent Garden Opera

Read more about the opera Traviata

The Covent Garden Opera visited the Edinburgh Empire for a two week season commencing Monday, April 17 1950.  The entire tour lasted eight weeks, with three each in Manchester and Birmingham, followed by the Edinburgh stay.  Peter Grimes, The Olympians and Lohengrin featured in the repertoire.

In those days nearly all performances were in English - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf had been a member of the company since 1948 and was quite comfortable with the language.  Her other roles at this time included Butterfly, Gilda and Manon.  Rudolf Schock also sang frequently at the Royal Opera House.

The director, Tyrone Guthrie, also directed several operas at Sadler's Wells as well as Covent Garden.  He is probably remembered now as a director of plays, especially in Canada, at the festival in Stratford, Ontario.  At the early Edinburgh Festivals he achieved the important feat of exhuming the first important Scottish drama, Sir David Lindsay's Ane Satyre of the Three Estates.

Sophie Fedorovitch's new designs for La traviata were replaced in 1964 by the famous 'black and white'  Visconti staging.  Her sets and costumes for Robert Helpmann's staging of Madama Butterfly, which had opened in January (also with Schwarzkopf and Schock) remained in use for the next thirty years.

The conductor,  Reginald Goodall,  was on the music staff at Covent Garden, and generally had to conduct any operas that came his way.  He was not particularly fond of Verdi, being much more enthusiastic about Wagner.

The repertoire for the visit included La traviata on the first Thursday,  The only Scottish performance of the new Bliss opera The Olympians followed on the Friday, with Lohengrin on the second Tuesday.

Cast details for La traviata are from a programme in the Edinburgh Room collection at Edinburgh City Library.

Performance Cast

Violetta Valéry a courtesan

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

Baron Douphol Violetta's protector, a rival of Alfredo

Marian Nowakowski

Doctor Grenvil

Ernest Davies

Flora Bervoix Violetta's friend

Rosina Raisbeck

Marquis d' Obigny

Ronald Lewis

Gaston Vicomte de Letorières, a man about town

Edgar Evans

Alfredo Germont Gaston's friend

Rudolf Schock

Annina Violetta's maid

Enid Stone

Giuseppe Violetta's servant

David Tree

Giorgio Germont Alfredo's father

John Cameron


Emlyn Lewis

Servant in Flora's household

Charles Morris

Performance DatesTraviata 1950

Map List

Empire Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

20 Apr, 19.00

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