Opera Scotland

Dalibor 1970National Theatre, Prague

Read more about the opera Dalibor

Dalibor was still a great rarity in Britain in 1970, so it was quite justifiable that the Czechs should bring back a staging which had been very successful on their first visit in 1964.

The massive blocks forming the set still seemed modern and deeply impressive.   The production team of Václav Kašlik and Josef Svoboda were seen as leaders in their field at the time, particularly because of their revolutionary use of lighting techniques. Though they did not produce any original work in Scotland, they did go on very soon to stage two productions at Covent Garden - a hugely successful Pelléas et Mélisande and a rather less appreciated Nabucco.   Svoboda would also be the designer of the sets for Covent Garden's spectacular Ring Cycle directed by Götz Friedrich.

The visit ended with the third performance of Dalibor in which the title role was again taken by Vilém Pribyl, repeating his success from 1964, and giving a heroic performance opposite the fiery Milada of Nadĕžda Kniplová.  Benes, the jailer, was taken by the veteran Eduard Haken, no longer in the freshest voice.  The rest of the cast gave a fully committed performance, with the company's principal conductor,  Jaroslav Kromholc, producing a highly dramatic account of the lovely score.  It was received with delight by the packed audience.


Operas at the Edinburgh Festival - 1970

The second visit by the National Theatre from Prague was every bit as interesting as the first had been, six years previously.  There was again a British premiere, Janáček's The Excursions of Mr Brouček. (In Britain this has generally since been translated more conventionally as Adventures).  The others were two by Smetana - the popular Bartered Bride and Dalibor (repeated from 1964). There were also two more Janáček works, familiar in London but new to Scotland - The Cunning Little Vixen and The Makropulos Case. or Affair as it was billed here.

The two other Festival operas were also great rarities. Proceedings opened with the Frankfurt Opera, who brought their controversial staging of Prokofiev's Fiery Angel. The director and designer were the Czech pair responsible for Dalibor (and the 1964 Rusalka). Scottish Opera's excellent contribution was just as enterprising - Henze's acerbic Elegy for Young Lovers, directed by the composer himself.

In summary, the operas were:  Smetana (Bartered BrideDalibor);   Janáček (Adventures of Mr Brouček,  Cunning Little Vixen Makropulos Case);  Prokofiev (Fiery Angel);  Henze (Elegy for Young Lovers).

The performance schedule was as follows:

First week, commencing 24 Aug:  Mon Fiery Angel;  Tue Elegy for Young Lovers;  Wed Fiery Angel;  Thu Elegy for Young Lovers;  Fri -;  Sat Elegy for Young Lovers.

Second week, commencing 31 Aug:  Mon Bartered Bride;  Tue Dalibor;  Wed Cunning Little Vixen;  Thu Makropulos Case;  Fri Bartered Bride;  Sat Excursions of Mr Brouček.

Third week, commencing 7 Sep:  Mon Dalibor;  Tue Makropulos Case;   Wed Excursions of Mr Brouček;  Thu Cunning Little Vixen;  Fri Bartered Bride;  Sat Dalibor.

Performance Cast

Jitka Dalibor's ward

Eva Zikmundová (Sep 1, 7)

Helena Tattermuschová (Sep 12)

Vladislav King of Bohemia

Jindřich Jindrák

Milada sister of the Burgrave of Ploškovice

Nadĕžda Kniplová (Sep 1, 12)

Alena Míková (Sep 7)

Dalibor a knight

Vilém Přibyl (Sep 1, 12)

Ivo Žídek (Sep 7)

Chief Judge

Dalibor Jedlička (Sep 1, 7)

Jaroslav Horáček (Sep 12)

Vitek Dalibor's squire

Viktor Kočí

Budivoj captain of the guard

Rudolf Jedlička

Beneš a gaoler

Jaroslav Horáček (Sep 1, 7)

Eduard Haken (Sep 12)

Performance DatesDalibor 1970

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

1 Sep, 19.30 7 Sep, 19.30 12 Sep, 19.30

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