Opera Scotland

Barbiere di Siviglia 1961Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Barber of Seville

A second visit to Scotland for this successful 1960 production (which would continue in repertoire in London for nearly twenty years). Edinburgh was seeing it for the first time, and Glasgow and Dundee for the second time in six months. This was unusual for Glasgow, and for Dundee unique – but the Sadler’s Wells management had heard that the Gaumont was to close for conversion to widescreen cinema – no more stage or proscenium, therefore no more tours – and decided to fit in another visit, since Dundee had rapidly established itself as a very successful touring venue for the company. Future visits to Scotland would be restricted to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Unusually, this opera would also feature in the 1960 Edinburgh Festival programme, in a new staging not yet seen in London. This was part of a rare Scottish visit by the company from Covent Garden.


Dundee Press Report

Dundee Courier & Advertiser: Friday, May 5, 1961

Recaptured pleasure at Gaumont

'For the second night in succession Dundee operagoers were following the fortunes of Figaro, Rosina, and her Count, the characters in the Beaumarchais comedies.  But last night was Book I, in The Barber of Seville, Rossini’s sparkle-piece.  Sadler’s Wells Opera’s seven month old production of The Barber made a delightful impression at the Gaumont Theatre last autumn, and the applause at last night’s repeat showed that the pleasure had been recaptured.

'It was more than a repeat, however, for last night there was the interest of a fresh cast.  John Heddle Nash was to have sung Figaro.  But in view of his appearance in The Land of Smiles tonight and tomorrow afternoon, the comic barber’s part was taken by Julian Moyle.  The latter shares the role on tour with Mr Nash.

'The music of The Barber is the essence of gaiety.  With an air of mocking slyness - all to be delivered at a breathless pace, and much depending on a bubbling Figaro.  Conductor William Reid drove the orchestra headlong, but assuredly - and an outstanding performance by Julian Moyle gave Figaro the desired quality of effervescence. His deftness in comedy and his stentorian baritone stamped personality from his first appearance in the famous ‘Factotum’ bravura aria.  Mr Moyle went from strength to strength - organising, disorganising and leading fun with brilliant effect.

'Another particularly fine performance was that of Patricia Kern as Rosina.  It was notable for her technical skill in coloratura singing, especially in the letter and music lesson scenes.  Her voice in the middle and lower registers had the warm, darker tinge of the mezzo, which is intended to be heard in the part to give point to the coloratura scales.  Not often does a singer turn up in this part giving such a fine account of the whole of the florid passages.

'John Stoddart, as Count Almaviva, displayed a pleasing light tenor, and a similar skill in negotiating Rossini’s florid style.  The Count’s first act serenade was beautifully sung, but one felt that the voice of the Count had not sufficient weight for some of the later passages.  Dr Bartolo, the outwitted old grumph of a guardian, had a well-studied showing from Bernard Turgeon for vocal and comedy effect.  And the rumbustious bass of Howell Glynne made Don Basilio’s “Calumny” song a delight.  Rita Hunter, in another Marcellina character, impressed again with her powerful tone.'


Sadler's Wells Opera in Scotland - 1961

There were two Scottish visits, with Aberdeen omitted altogether.  The Spring tour of three weeks began on 17 April and visited Glasgow (Empire), Edinburgh (King's) and Dundee (Gaument). This was the final visit to Dundee before the Gaumont's closure. In Autumn the company returned on 13 November to the Glasgow Empire followed by a week in Edinburgh.

The ten operas on the tour were:  Mozart (Marriage of Figaro);  Rossini (Barber of SevilleCinderella);  Wagner (Tannhäuser);  Verdi (Traviata);  Offenbach (Orpheus in the Underworld);  J Strauss (Fledermaus); Puccini (BohèmeTosca);  Lehár (Land of Smiles).

The Scottish tour schedule was:

Glasgow, w/c 17 April:  Mon 17 Traviata;  Tue 18 Barber of Seville;  Wed 19 Marriage of Figaro;  Thu 20 Fledermaus;  Fri 21 Tosca;  Sat 22 m Fledermaus;  Sat 22 e Barber of Seville.

Edinburgh, w/c 24 April:  Mon 24 Traviata;  Tue 25 Barber of Seville;  Wed 26 Tosca;  Thu 27 Land of Smiles;  Fri 28 Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 29 m Land of Smiles;  Sat 29 e Barber of Seville.

Dundee, w/c  1 May:  Mon 1 Tosca;  Tue 2 Traviata;  Wed 3 Marriage of Figaro;  Thu 4 Barber of Seville;  Fri 5 Land of Smiles;  Sat 6 m Land of Smiles;  Sat 6 e Barber of Seville.

Edinburgh, w/c 6 November:  Mon 6 Orpheus in the Underworld;  Tue 7 Bohème;  Wed 8 Cinderella;  Thu 9 Traviata;  Fri 10 Tannhäuser;  Sat 11 m Orpheus in the Underworld;  Sat 11 e Bohème.

Glasgow, w/c 13 November:  Mon 13 Orpheus in the Underworld;  Tue 14 Tannhäuser;  Wed 15 Bohème;  Thu 16 Traviata;  Fri 17 Cinderella;  Sat 18 m Orpheus in the Underworld;  Sat 18 e Bohème.  

Cast details are from copies of the Glasgow (18 April) and Dundee (4 May) programmes in the OperaScotland collection, supplemented by programmes in the ENO archives and Edinburgh City Library.

Performance Cast

Fiorello servant of the Count

Kenneth Fawcett

Count Almaviva

John Stoddart 2 (Apr 18, 25, 29; May 4)

Gerald Davies (May 6)

Figaro a barber

John Heddle Nash (Apr 18)

Julian Moyle (Apr 25, 29; May 4, 6)

Rosina Bartolo's ward

Patricia Kern (Apr 18, 25; May 4, 6)

Catherine Wilson (Apr 29)

Bartolo a doctor, Rosina's guardian

Bernard Turgeon

Ambrogio Bartolo's servant

William Booth

Berta Bartolo's housekeeper

Rita Hunter

Don Basilio a singing teacher

Stanislav Pieczora (Apr 18, 25, 29)

Howell Glynne (May 4, 6)


Gwilym Jones


Neville Griffiths

Alcalde Mayor

Henry Whimpanny

Performance DatesBarbiere di Siviglia 1961

Map List

Empire Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

18 Apr, 19.30 22 Apr, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

25 Apr, 19.00 29 Apr, 19.00

Gaumont Theatre | Dundee

4 May, 19.15 6 May, 19.15

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