Opera Scotland

Jolie Fille de Perth 1971Scottish Opera for All

Read more about the opera Fair Maid of Perth

Perhaps surprisingly, given its fondness for The Pearl Fishers, Scottish Opera has never given The Fair Maid of Perth a full-scale staging. However their Opera for All company selected the work as one of three operas to tour Britain with piano accompaniment in the winter of 1971-72. Rossini’s Cinderella was included on the tour as well as two works to commemorate the bicentenary of Sir Walter Scott’s birth. Lucia di Lammermoor was inevitably one, and Fair Maid the other.

The tour ran from 18 October to 4 March, with 60 performances in total. The Bizet was launched in Ayr on 23 October. Malcolm Rayment, Music Critic of the Glasgow Herald, caught up with it at the Close Theatre Club in Glasgow just before Christmas. He was not keen on the opera, being particularly hard on the libretto, but still seems to have enjoyed the performance. The production was reviewed enthusiastically by Elizabeth Forbes in the April 1972 issue of Opera. She had attended a later performance at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, which is also a source for our cast listing. Alternate performers are to be confirmed.

The cast included the company debuts of Dennis O'Neill and Malcolm Donnelly, both of whom spent several seasons with Scottish Opera before going on to notable international careers. On the tour there were two sopranos who could alternate as both Catherine and Lucia. Presumably they both appeared as sisters on Cinderella nights. These young singers also provided cover for the main company if required, and Alexandra Gordon was available to go on as a late replacement Woodbird in the Ring Cycle Siegfried on Thursday 16 December.

The Fair Maid received a total of eight performances before Christmas, with a further fifteen from January to March. The first group were as follows: 23 Oct (Ayr), 25 Oct (Dollar), 2 Nov (St Andrews), 4 Nov (Forfar), 16 Nov (Invergordon), 25 Nov (Dunoon), 21 & 23 Dec (Glasgow).

The tour schedule is from Richard Telfer's archive in Scottish Opera's collection.

Performance Cast

Simon Glover a glove-maker

Norman White

Catherine Glover Simon's daughter

Helen Roy (Dec 21)

Alexandra Gordon

Mab Queen of the Gypsies

Moyra Paterson

Henry Smith an armourer

Geoffrey Shovelton

Duke of Rothesay

Dennis O'Neill

Ralph Glover's apprentice

Malcolm Donnelly

Performance DatesJolie Fille de Perth 1971

Map List

Gaiety Theatre, Ayr | Ayr

23 Oct, 19.30

Dollar Academy | Dollar

25 Oct, 19.30

Byre Theatre | St Andrews

2 Nov, 19.30

Reid Hall | Forfar

4 Nov, 19.30

Queen's Hall, Dunoon | Dunoon

25 Nov, 19.30

Close | Glasgow

21 Dec, 19.30 23 Dec, 19.30

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