Opera Scotland

Oedipus Rex 1986Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Oedipus Rex

The Edinburgh Festival's Director, Frank Dunlop, was definitely a man of the theatre, and many Festivals had enjoyed the fruits of his labour since the sixties. He had not previously directed an opera, but the highlight in 1986 was clearly his staging of Weber's Oberon, the pantomime elements of which suited him to a tee. The Maly Theatre from Leningrad were the first Russian opera company to visit the Festival, bringing three productions, at a time when it was quite unthinkable that the Kirov and Bolshoi would be almost frequent visitors within a few years. Two fitted the Festival's Tchaikovsky theme. The Toronto Symphony brought a Stravinsky double-bill, simply staged in the Usher Hall, where The Soldier's Tale and Oedipus Rex came over well. A second theme of the Festival was the Scottish Enlightenment and the works of Walter Scott and James Macpherson ('Ossian'), for which the SNO and conductor Neeme Järvi assembled a fascinating evening that ended with a concert performance of Mehul's Ossian opera Uthal

Non-operatic events included notable performances by Simon Rattle and the CBSO of Dream of Gerontius and Mahler's Resurrection Symphony.


The 1986 Festival had a substantial Canadian presence, and at this evening in the Usher Hall the Toronto Symphony under its chief conductor, Andrew Davis, performed a Stravinsky double bill. The Soldier’s Tale was fully danced on an open stage, and for Oedipus the Edinburgh Festival Chorus stayed in the choir stalls and the soloists performed as in a concert performance – not really that different from most fully staged performances of the piece. The cast included a rare operatic performance by Alfreda Hodgson, and an early appearance by Anthony Michaels-Moore. The narrator for both pieces was the excellent English actor John Neville, who, having been a leading performer in major companies in the 1960s (and having appeared in Edinburgh with the Prospect Company in 1970) had long been resident in Canada.

Performance DatesOedipus Rex 1986

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Usher Hall | Edinburgh

28 Aug, 19.30

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