Opera Scotland

Concert 1964Scottish National Orchestra

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This was the last appearance in Scotland by the hugely popular Australian soprano Dame Joan Hammond. The following year heart trouble was diagnosed and she was forced to retire.

This illness probably also restricted Hammond's favourite pastime, which was golf. Touring Scotland in the spring would have been a pleasant time for a return to some of her favourite courses. 

During her most recent Scottish visit, with Sadler's Wells Opera in 1959, Hammond had sung Cio-Cio-San in Madam Butterfly, also conducted by Alexander Gibson. Most importantly, she had been able to park her caravan at various golf courses before driving in to the performances. Whether this was still possible in 1964 is not yet known.

This concert was the closing programme of the SNO's 1963/64 winter season, and was clearly seen as a special event.  The Dundee audience, exceeding 2000, was somewhat larger than usual.

The concert programme was:

Wagner: Suite Die Meistersinger.

Berlioz: Royal Hunt and Storm Les Troyens.

Verdi: 'Son giunta!...Madre pietosa vergine' La forza del destino.

Verdi: 'Pace, pace, mio Dio' La forza del destino.

Dvorak: Carnival Overture.

Dvorak: 'O Silver Moon' Rusalka.

Puccini: 'One Fine Day' Madam Butterfly.

Puccini: 'O My Beloved Father' Gianni Schicchi (encore).

Sibelius: Symphony no3.

The encore, 'O mio babbino caro', sung in English, reminded audiences of her hugely successful 1941 78rpm disc with 'Vissi d'arte' (Love and Music) from Tosca on the other side. She had recorded 'One Fine Day' in the same year.

'O Silver Moon' was also a popular item, though a much more recent discovery. Hammond's recording of the aria was made in 1952, and she sang the British professional premiere of Rusalka at Sadler's Wells in 1959.  The opera was about to be seen in Scotland for the first time at the 1964 Edinburgh Festival.

The opening Wagner extract, described as a 'suite' may have had the Dance of the Apprentices and/or the Prelude to Act 3 added to the Overture.  Confirmation required.

Performance Cast


Joan Hammond

Performance DatesConcert 1964

Map List

Music Hall, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

28 Apr, 19.30

Caird Hall | Dundee

29 Apr, 19.30

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

1 May, 19.30

City Halls, Glasgow | Glasgow

2 May, 19.30

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