Opera Scotland

Fidelio 1970Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Fidelio

Scottish Opera celebrated the Beethoven bi-centenary by mounting its first production of Fidelio. Peter Ebert again collaborated with the designers of last year’s Trojans, and Fidelio suited them far better. The spring also included a memorable new staging of The Turn of the Screw, with revivals of Cinderella and Don Giovanni.

On the Autumn tour a further series of performances was given, in tandem with a Magic Flute created in July for the Edinburgh staging of the Commonwealth Games, along with Hans Werner Henze's own production of his Elegy For Young Lovers, mounted at the Edinburgh Festival.

Charles Bristow's lighting made a great effect. Particularly strong was the Prisoners' Chorus scene, when they crawled from the stygian gloom of their cells to cluster under the grille-pattern of light coming in from above. More dramatic still was the final scene, as the back wall of the prison disappeared, the crowd rushed in to liberate the prisoners and the audience was dazzled by the sudden direct light in their eyes. Gibson's conducting of the SNO was beautifully paced - highly lyrical to begin, but developing a tremendous sense of depth as the tensions developed.

Ronald Dowd, last year’s Aeneas, returned as Florestan, repeating a role he had sung on tour with Sadler’s Wells in 1959. The great talking point of the production was the first stage performance of Leonore by Helga Dernesch, even before she sang it with Karajan. She was always a highly involved actress, and her vocal performance was effortlessly thrilling. Donald McIntyre made an appropriately domineering and chilling Pizarro. Bill McCue also made a great impression as Rocco, which became one of his most important roles, to be repeated and deepened over a number of revivals. Werner Krenn had a beautiful, mellifluous tenor and he was also a good actor.

When the staging was given further performances in the autumn, there were a couple of cast changes, but, most importantly, the SNO's winter season was under way. They could be released for a few performances of Elegy For Young Lovers, carried over from the Edinburgh Festival, however they were not available for Fidelio. Since the BBC SSO had already played The Magic Flute at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games in July, and it was now receiving further performances, it made sense for them to add Fidelio to their repertoire.

Performance Cast

Jaquino Rocco's assistant

Werner Krenn (May)

Alexander Oliver (Sep)

Marzelline Rocco's daughter

Josephine McQueen (May, exc May 30)

Heather Howson (May 30; Sep)

Rocco gaoler

William McCue

Leonore Florestan's wife, disguised as Fidelio

Helga Dernesch

Don Pizarro prison governor

Morley Meredith (May 1, 5, 8, 15)

Donald McIntyre (May 23, 26, 28, 30)

Werner Mann (Sep)

First Prisoner

Derek Blackwell

Second Prisoner

John Leishman

Florestan a Spanish nobleman

Ronald Dowd (Exc May 15)

Gregory Dempsey (May 15)

Don Fernando the King's Minister

Ronald Morrison (May)

John Lawson Graham (Sep)

Performance DatesFidelio 1970

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

1 May, 19.30 5 May, 19.30 8 May, 19.30 15 May, 19.30 15 Sep, 19.30 18 Sep, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

23 May, 19.30 26 May, 19.30 28 May, 19.30 30 May, 19.30

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

23 Sep, 19.30 26 Sep, 19.30

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