Opera Scotland

Clemenza di Tito 1938Barony Musical Association

Read more about the opera Clemenza di Tito

The importance of Erik Chisholm's contribution to Scottish musical life between the wars can scarcely be understated. In 1934, one of his earliest successes with Glasgow Grand had been to give the British premiere of Mozart's wonderful opera seria Idomeneo. It is hardly surprising that he would want to exploit this seam further. The Trojans by Berlioz, given in 1935, was a distant descendant of that style, but the big amateur company may have seen further exploration of rare Mozart, even of Gluck, as somewhat too esoteric, even for them.

Thus, while still conducting Glasgow Grand in a mixed repertoire of large-scale works, he also worked through contacts at his local Barony Church to establish the Barony Musical Association. In 1937 and 1939 they mounted Scottish premieres of two of Gluck's French masterworks, Iphigénie en Tauride and Armide. In between came the obvious follow-up to Idomeneo in La clemenza di Tito. Needless to say, the sequence ground to a halt on the outbreak of war.

Three of his collaborators from 1934 joined him in this new venture, Thomas Reid, William Noble and, rather more importantly, the tenor James Newall, who followed one troubled Mozartian ruler with another. Distinctly more controversial today is the decision on casting of two of the male characters, Sesto and his friend Annio. Composed at alto pitch, they are nowadays invariably seen as 'trouser roles' and performed by mezzos. Chisholm here casts men in the parts, either at tenor or lower pitch.

As with Idomeneo, the translation used, by the Radford sisters, had been prepared, this time in 1930, for their first modern British performances at Falmouth.

Performance Cast

Tito Titus Vespasianus, Emperor of Rome

James Newall

Vitellia daughter of the deposed Emperor, Vitellius

Mary Brown

Sesto Sextus, friend of Titus, in love with Vitellia

Alex Abernethy

Servilia sister of Sextus, in love with Annius

Elise Lyle

Annio Annius, friend of Sextus, in love with Servilia

Thomas Reid

Publio Publius, Captain of the Praetorian Guard

William Noble

Performance DatesClemenza di Tito 1938

Map List

Athenaeum Theatre | Glasgow

8 Apr, 17.30 8 Apr, 19.30 9 Apr, 19.30

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