Opera Scotland

Don Giovanni 1965Edinburgh Festival Opera

Read more about the opera Don Giovanni

The expression “fully staged” is perhaps stretching a point for this distinctly controversial Edinburgh Festival event. The enterprise was a co-production with the Holland Festival (previous employer of the new Festival director, Peter Diamand). In the Netherlands it was conducted by Giulini, directed by Virginio Puecher and designed by Luciano Damiani. It seems that the maestro had disliked the staging intensely, so for Edinburgh he took over, and directed the singers on what was essentially a blank stage with panoramic sky effects – it all sounds quite contemporary in fact. New costumes in the style of Velázquez were provided by a young British designer.

Giulini was so turned off by the whole episode that he withdrew from performing live opera altogether, and it took until 1982 before he could be persuaded to go near an opera house again (for Falstaff in Los Angeles and Covent Garden).

There can have been no complaints about the cast. Luisa Bosabalian was already a favourite with Scottish Opera. Ilva Ligabue was a lovely soprano who, sadly, never returned to Scotland. Capecchi and Montarsolo would both feature in the excellent Cenerentola led by Claudio Abbado in 1971.


Opera at the Edinburgh Festival 1965

The 1965 Edinburgh Festival presented an interesting group of five works. The foreign guest company was the Bavarian State Opera, from Munich, making its only Edinburgh appearance - their own Munich Festival tends to run around the same same time. The two pieces they brought were a beautifully cast, if conventional, staging of Così fan tutte, and the British premiere of a then little-known Strauss comedy, Intermezzo. The English Opera Group brought Albert Herring, which was just returning to the repertoire. The Festival itself mounted two operas in conjunction with the Holland Festival which was also run by Festival director Peter Diamand. These were a staging of Don Giovanni and a delightful introduction to Haydn opera, with Le pescatrici.

Performance Cast

Leporello Giovanni's servant

Paolo Montarsolo

Donna Anna the Commendatore's daughter

Luisa Bosabalian

Don Giovanni a young nobleman

Renato Capecchi

Commendatore an elderly aristocrat

Giorgio Tadeo

Don Ottavio engaged to Anna

Richard Lewis

Donna Elvira a lady from Burgos

Ilva Ligabue

Zerlina a peasant girl

Mariella Adani

Masetto a peasant, engaged to Zerlina

Leonardo Monreale

Performance DatesDon Giovanni 1965

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

23 Aug, 19.00 25 Aug, 19.00 28 Aug, 19.00 1 Sep, 19.00 3 Sep, 19.00

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