Opera Scotland

Traviata 1951Covent Garden Opera

Read more about the opera Traviata

The Covent Garden Opera's spring 1951 tour took in only two venues over four weeks - the Edinburgh Empire from the fifth to the seventeenth March and the Manchester Palace from the nineteenth to the thirty-first.

The Edinburgh programme was as follows:

First week: Mon Lohengrin; Tue Rigoletto; Wed Fidelio; Thu Carmen; Fri Traviata; Sat mat Butterfly; Sat eve Figaro.

Second week: Mon Figaro; Tue Lohengrin; Wed Carmen; Thu Rigoletto; Fri Butterfly; Sat mat Traviata; Sat eve Rosenkavalier.

While the original director of this staging is no longer credited in the programme, the sets and costumes by Sophie Fedorovitch remained in the repertoire of the Covent Garden Opera until succeeded in 1964 by the famous 'black and white' production of  the great Italian film and theatre director Luchino Visconti. In the fifties, sopranos to appear as Violetta in this decor included Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Maria Callas.

It is interesting to see an early solo appearance by Charles Craig as Gaston. His career took him around the world in major parts. He was soon to leave the Covent Garden chorus to become leading tenor of the Carl Rosa, then Sadler's Wells. He returned to Covent Garden as a major performer after a decade away. From its first season in 1962 he was also an important member of the Scottish Opera 'team'.

The translation used, by Professor Dent, made a serious attempt to replace Piave's Italianate characters, in order to restore the original names from the the Dumas novel. Thus Violetta becomes Marguerite, while Alfredo and Giorgio Germont are known as Armand and Georges Duval. Nowadays the Italian version has been restored even when the opera is performed in English.

Cast details for the Saturday matinee on 17 March are from a programme in the OperaScotland collection.

Performance Cast

Violetta Valéry a courtesan

Audrey Bowman

Baron Douphol Violetta's protector, a rival of Alfredo

Bryan Drake

Flora Bervoix Violetta's friend

Jean Watson

Gaston Vicomte de Letorières, a man about town

Charles Craig

Alfredo Germont Gaston's friend

Edgar Evans

Marquis d' Obigny

Ronald Lewis

Doctor Grenvil

Ernest Davies

Annina Violetta's maid

Enid Stone

Giuseppe Violetta's servant

David Tree

Giorgio Germont Alfredo's father

John Cameron

Commissar in Flora's household

Emlyn Lewis

Servant in Flora's household

Charles Morris

Performance DatesTraviata 1951

Map List

Empire Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

17 Mar, 14.30

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