Opera Scotland

Don Giovanni 1964Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Don Giovanni

Scottish Opera’s first attempt at Don Giovanni was dominated by Ralph Koltai’s wonderfully dramatic set – two large panels of masonry, one black, one white, with varied patterns which reacted differently to the fall of the light. Over the years as lighting improved and more appropriate costumes were introduced, the staging gained in drama. No subsequent production in Scotland of this impossible masterpiece has come close to its longevity, and most have only managed to stagger to the end of the first scheduled run before limping off to oblivion.

This cast featured the discovery of Dutch baritone Peter van der Bilt – he was a fixture in this production for a decade, and was in many ways close to the ideal Giovanni. He returned for other roles by Mozart and Gluck as well as Stravinsky and Janáček. Sadly, he died at a young age before his quality was fully recognised internationally.

The two Donna Annas were well known singers, though not so much associated with this repertoire, and the Zerlina was the young Dundee-born soprano Elizabeth Robson, already launched on a substantial career at Sadler’s Wells, Covent Garden, and internationally.

There were six performances in this run, three in each city. A wonderful innovation was the introduction of the midweek schools matinee, one in each city (Glasgow on the 21st, Edinburgh on the 29th). This tradition continued for several seasons.


Schedule of Scottish Opera Performances (3rd Season) - 1964

There were sixteen performances in the season as a whole - six of Don Giovanni, and five each of Faust and Otello.  The first performances were in Glasgow, and then the company performed in Edinburgh.

Glasgow, w/c 11 May:  Thu 14  Faust;  Sat 16 Don Giovanni.

Glasgow, w/c 18 May:  Tue 19 Otello;  Wed 20 Faust;  Thu 21 m Don Giovanni:  Thu 21 e Otello:  Fri 22 Don Giovanni; Sat 23 m Faust;  Sat 23 e Otello.

Edinburgh, w/c 25 May:  Mon npTue 26 e Don Giovanni;  Wed 27 Otello;  Thu 28 Faust;  Fri 29 m Don Giovanni; Fri 29 e Otello; Sat 30 m Faust; Sat 30 e Don Giovanni.

Performance Cast

Leporello Giovanni's servant

Harold Blackburn

Donna Anna the Commendatore's daughter

Elizabeth Fretwell (May 16, 21, 22)

Jennifer Vyvyan (May 26, 29, 30)

Don Giovanni a young nobleman

Peter van der Bilt

Commendatore an elderly aristocrat

David Ward (May 16, 26)

William McCue (May 21, 22, 29, 30)

Don Ottavio engaged to Anna

Alexander Young

Donna Elvira a lady from Burgos

Marilyn Tyler

Zerlina a peasant girl

Elizabeth Robson

Masetto a peasant, engaged to Zerlina

Michael Maurel

Performance DatesDon Giovanni 1964

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

16 May, 19.00 21 May, 14.00 22 May, 19.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

26 May, 19.00 29 May, 14.00 30 May, 19.00

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