Opera Scotland

Don Giovanni 1973Edinburgh Festival Opera

Read more about the opera Don Giovanni

The operatic component of the 1973 Edinburgh Festival took the form of three elements with little to link them. The schedule was dominated by a staging of Don Giovanni by Peter Ustinov, the elements of which promised well. The English Opera Group made its final appearance with the much-heralded masterpiece of Britten's final years, Death in Venice. The Hungarian State Opera and Ballet had previously visited Edinburgh in 1963, with a triple bill of Bartók's stage works. This time they brought just a pair of them, but compensated by introducing Blood Wedding, a decade-old piece by Szokolay derived from Lorca's play. Their programme as initially announced had also included Handel's Rodelinda, with Eva Marton in the lead, but this was dropped before the final programme was confirmed.

This production of Don Giovanni had a distinctly mixed reception at the time. Daniel Barenboim had not conducted opera before, but still produced an excellent performance from the English Chamber Orchestra, though there was not much sense of structure or drive. Peter Ustinov directed as well as designing sets and costumes (based on Goya). The cast was variable, with several soloists perhaps no longer ideal for their roles, and Antigone Sgourda unpredictable as Anna. But Roger Soyer gave a very good performance as Giovanni and Helen Donath was a lovely Zerlina, well supported by Alberto Rinaldi's Masetto.

Performance Cast

Leporello Giovanni's servant

Geraint Evans

Donna Anna the Commendatore's daughter

Antigone Sgourda

Don Giovanni a young nobleman

Roger Soyer

Commendatore an elderly aristocrat

Peter Lagger

Don Ottavio engaged to Anna

Luigi Alva

Donna Elvira a lady from Burgos

Heather Harper

Zerlina a peasant girl

Helen Donath

Masetto a peasant, engaged to Zerlina

Alberto Rinaldi

Performance DatesDon Giovanni 1973

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

20 Aug, 19.30 23 Aug, 19.30 25 Aug, 19.30 6 Sep, 19.30 8 Sep, 19.30

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