Opera Scotland

Pagliacci 1963Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Pagliacci

The February visit was for one week only, to Glasgow Empire, with a programme schedule that ran: Mon Carmen; Tue Cav & Pag; Wed Traviata; Thu Girl of the Golden West; Fri Carmen; Sat mat & eve Mikado. In the autumn a three week Scottish tour started at Edinburgh King's on 4 November, followed by Aberdeen then Glasgow. The schedule for Edinburgh King's was Mon Magic Flute; Tue Don Pasquale; Wed Carmen; Thu Magic Flute; Fri Cav & Pag; Sat mat & eve Belle Hélène. The order of the first three nights varied, but otherwise the programme in each city was the same.

A decade later, when John Blatchley directed both Cav & Pag for ENO at the Coliseum (a staging that came to Edinburgh in 1972), he updated both operas to the post-war period, with the players arriving on an army-surplus lorry. This staging was more traditional, and features several of the company's leading singers, led by the Canadian conductor Mario Bernardi, soon to succeed Colin Davis as the Musical Director.

The February cast is from the highly enthusiastic Herald review. Both operas had in common 'staging in detail of an interest and significance to hold the eye, staging that in its broader sweeps was of a quite uninhibited, gripping realism.' Victoria Elliott's Nedda was singled out as 'suitably shrewish and coarse-grained'.


Sadler's Wells Opera in Scotland - 1963.

The first Scottish visit consisted of a single week in February at the Glasgow Empire.  The company returned for three weeks in November, one each at Edinburgh (King's), Aberdeen (His Majesty's) and Glsgow (King's).

The nine operas performed were by Mozart (Magic Flute); Donizetti (Don Pasquale);  Verdi (Traviata); Offenbach (Belle Hélène);  Bizet (Carmen);  Sullivan (Mikado);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Puccini (Girl of the Golden West); Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana).

The Scottish tour schedule was as follows:

Glasgow, w/c 19 February:  Mon 18 Carmen;  Tue 19 Cav & Pag;   Wed 20 Traviata;  Thu 21 Girl of the Golden West;  Fri 22 Carmen;  Sat 23 m Mikado;  Sat 23 e Mikado.

Edinburgh, w/c 4 November:  Mon 4 Magic Flute;  Tue 5 Don Pasquale;  Wed 6 Carmen;  Thu 7 Magic Flute;  Fri 8 Cav & Pag;   Sat 9 m Belle Hélène;  Sat 9 e Belle Hélène

Aberdeen,  w/c 11 November:  Mon 11 Magic Flute;  Tue 12 Carmen;  Wed 13 Don Pasquale;  Thu 14 Cav & Pag; Fri 15 Magic Flute;  Sat 16 m Belle Hélène;  Sat 16 e Belle Hélène.

Glasgow, w/c 18 November: Mon 18 Don Pasquale;  Tue 19 Magic Flute;  Wed 20 Carmen;  Thu 21 Magic Flute;  Fri 22 Cav & Pag;  Sat 23 m Belle Hélène;  Sat 23 e Belle Hélène.


Cast details for Glasgow 22 November are from our copy of the programme. For the identical team in Aberdeen on 14 November the source is a programme in Aberdeen City Library.

Performance Cast

Tonio a player

Neil Easton (Feb 19)

Gwyn Griffiths (Nov 15, 22)

Canio leader of the players

Donald Smith (Feb 19)

William Aitken (Nov 15, 22)

Nedda Canio's wife

Victoria Elliott

Beppe a player

Stanley Bevan

Silvio a villager

Lawrence Folley (Nov 15, 22)

John Heddle Nash (Feb 19)

First Villager

Gordon Traynor (Nov 15, 22)

Second Villager

Cragg Sinkinson (Nov 15, 22)

Performance DatesPagliacci 1963

Map List

Empire Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

19 Feb, 00.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

8 Nov, 00.00

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

15 Nov, 19.30

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

22 Nov, 19.00

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