Opera Scotland

Madam Butterfly 1962Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Madama Butterfly

The first season of performances by Scottish Opera, a single week at Glasgow's King's Theatre, presented two operas alternately. The popular favourite was Madama Butterfly - seen frequently in performances by Sadler's Wells in English. But these were in Italian, with some singers already familiar, but others completely new. The second piece, Pelléas et Mélisande, was extremely unusual, indeed not seen in Scotland since the twenties. It also presented the orchestra with a challenge.

Elaine Malbin was a little-known American soprano, but the other singers were largely familiar. Charles Craig was almost the company's resident "Italian" tenor in those early days.

Laura Sarti returned to Scottish Opera several times in those early years. She later sang with theatre companies as well, touring to Edinburgh in Jonathan Miller's National Theatre staging of The Merchant of Venice (with Laurence Olivier as Shylock).

Bill McCue, coming home from a period singing short parts at Covent Garden, devekoped rapidly into an excellent performer of major roles. It is perhaps surprising that the Australian baritone John Cameron, a Sadler's Wells favourite also familiar from concerts, did not sing with the company again.

This was also the only appearance by the young Scottish conductor James Lockhart, who had a notable career elsewhere, particularly running running Welsh Nationak Opera, before moving to the German 0pera house at Kassel.

Roderick Brydon, a recent graduate of Edinburgh University, who would play a vital role in future years, especially conducting the Britten repertoire, on this occasion was a rehearsal pianist.


Schedule for Scottish Opera's First Season - 1962

There were six performances only - at 7pm, with a 2pm matinee at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow.

The schedule was:

Glasgow, w/c 6 June:  Tue 6 Madama Butterfly;  Wed 7 Pelléas et Mélisande;  Thu 8 Madama Butterfly;  Fri 9 Pelléas et Mélisande;  Sat 10 m Pelléas et Mélisande;  Sat  10 e Madama Butterfly.

Performance Cast

Lieutenant F B Pinkerton U S Navy

Charles Craig

Goro marriage broker

Andrew Gold

Suzuki Cio-Cio-San's servant

Laura Sarti

Sharpless U S Consul in Nagasaki

John Cameron

Cio-Cio-San known as Madam Butterfly

Elaine Malbin

Imperial Commissioner

John Shiels

Bonze a priest, Cio-Cio-San's uncle

William McCue

Prince Yamadori

John Shiels

Kate Pinkerton

Norma Goldie

Performance DatesMadam Butterfly 1962

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

5 Jun, 19.00 7 Jun, 19.00 9 Jun, 19.00

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