Opera Scotland

Rigoletto 1942Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Rigoletto

The second visit to Scotland by Sadler's Wells Opera in 1942 only lasted two weeks and came rather later in the spring season than usual. Also, the Edinburgh week took place in the intimate Lyceum, not used for opera for some time now.

The repertoire was substantially different from that of the previous year, and in Glasgow only the Traviata production was returning. The company was larger than before, over 50 artistes and an orchestra of thirty. The services of the Scottish Orchestra were not this time called on - in June, the winter season having ended, they may not have been available anyway.

The Glasgow programme, for the week commencing 15 June was: Mon Rigoletto, Tue Barber of Seville, Wed mat Rigoletto, Wed eve Traviata, Thu Barber, Fri Magic Flute, Sat mat Magic Flute, Sat eve Traviata.

In Edinburgh the following week the Flute was replaced by further performances of Madam Butterfly, while the order was also adjusted: Mon Traviata, Tue Butterfly, Wed mat Barber, Wed eve Rigoletto, Thu Barber, Fri Butterfly, Sat mat Traviata, Sat eve Rigoletto.

This abbreviated Rigoletto cast is from the reviews of the opening performance in the Glasgow Herald. (15 June) and Scotsman (24 June). The production had opened at Sadler's Wells on 24 February 1937, while the new Dent translation remained in use for the next forty years.

The review in the Edinburgh Evening News said 'Tom Williams sang magnificently, the range and power of his voice and his acting ability providing a most moving and memorable interpretation of a very exacting role.' One welcome novelty was the removal of the traditional interval between the two scenes of the first act. Always disruptive, as it breaks the tension after the short first scene, this old habit continued at Covent Garden even in the otherwise excellent Zeffirelli staging that ran through the sixties and seventies.

Performance Cast

Duke of Mantua

Arthur Servent (Jun 15)

Ben Williams (Jun 24)

Rigoletto a jester

Tom Williams

Sparafucile a professional assassin

Roderick Lloyd (Jun 15)

Ronald Stear (Jun 24)

Gilda Rigoletto's daughter

Barbara Beaumont

Maddalena sister of Sparafucile

Edith Coates

Performance DatesRigoletto 1942

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

15 Jun, 19.00 17 Jun, 14.00

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

24 Jun, 19.00 27 Jun, 19.00

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