Opera Scotland

Salome 1952Covent Garden Opera

Read more about the opera Salome

This two week visit to Glasgow by the Covent Garden company gave Scottish audiences their first opportunity to see two new works - not just the Festival of Britain commission, Billy Budd, but also a fascinating late work by Vaughan Williams, The Pilgrim's Progress.

The schedule for the fortnight was:

Week commencing 17 March: Mon 17 Turandot;  Tue 18  Pilgrim's Progress;  Wed 19  Salome;  Thu 20  Magic Flute;  Fri 21  Aïda; Sat 22 mat  Bohème; Sat 22 eve  Tosca.

Week commencing 24 March: Mon 24  Aïda;  Tue 25  Salome;  Wed 26  Magic Flute;  Thu 27  Bohème;  Fri 28  Billy Budd;  Sat 29 mat  Tosca; Sat 29 eve  Turandot.

This appears to have been the Scottish premiere of Salome.  The new production had opened at the Royal Opera House on 11 March 1949, creating a scandal that reverberated for years.  The original director was the brilliant young star Peter Brook.  His designer was even more famous - the great Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dalì.

By the time the staging reached Glasgow, the programme gave no hint of these wonders.  The production was ascribed to the house director, Christopher West.  The programme gives detailed information on the staff who made the sets and costumes, but there is no mention of anyone being responsible for the design.

Cast details are from a copy of the programme for 19 March in the OperaScotland collection.

One point that should be emphasised is that in these post-war years all Covent Garden's productions were sung in English, even when there were guest principals from other cultures.   This cast is excellent, led by Christel Goltz, who would return to Scotland a few years later, repeating the role in German, with the Hamburg company.  Marko Rothmüller was renowned for the dramatic intensity of his performances, and the rest of the cast included a number of excellent British singers.  The list includes several future stars - Monica Sinclair,  William McAlpine and Michael Langdon.

Performance DatesSalome 1952

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King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

19 Mar, 19.00 25 Mar, 19.00

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