Opera Scotland

Marriage 1982Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Marriage

This was a real curiosity at the 1982 Festival, performed in the Lyceum intensively from Thursday through to Tuesday, with two shows on Saturday and one on Sunday. Peter Ustinov had been commissioned by La Scala to concoct a performing version of Musorgsky's unfinished early comic fragment, The Marriage, of which little more than thirty minutes of the first act was composed, and none orchestrated. This episode had received its British premiere in London in 1981, though that was in a version orchestrated by Colin Matthews and Oliver Knussen.

The result was this play, which contained a performance of the work as the composer left it, delivered by an excellent international cast of four singers, with supplementary roles taken by a small team of actors (including Ustinov himself).

The context was a Pirandellian one where the performers have come together regularly over some years, in the hope that the nororiously unreliable author will have made sufficient progress with composition to make their rehearsals meaningful. The four singers therefore play the actors who will take their stage roles, so Rintzler plays Drozdov, who performs Podkolyosin. Wilson-Johnson plays an actor Erofeyev, Johnson the actress Rudina and Egerton the actor Mokrovsky. The actors who joined in as characters in the backstage activities were Peter Ustinov (Stage Manager), Barry Thomas (Prompter), Pavla Ustinov (a Girl), John Bett (a Man), Charles Kay (Rimsky-Korsakov), pianist Roger Vignoles (Professor Shpanko, the Director) and Faith Brook (Madame Shpanko).

The scenery was minimal, befitting the backstage conditions of a rehearsal, and the required elements were provided by Scottish Opera.

Performance Cast

Podkolyosin an unmarried lawyer

Marius Rintzler

Stepan Podkolyosin's servant

David Wilson-Johnson

Fyokla Ivanovna a marriage broker

Patricia Johnson

Kochkarov a friend of Podkolyosin

Francis Egerton

Performance DatesMarriage 1982

Map List

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

2 Sep, 20.30 3 Sep, 20.30 4 Sep, 14.30 4 Sep, 20.30 5 Sep, 19.30 6 Sep, 20.30 7 Sep, 20.30

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