Opera Scotland

Rigoletto 1959Royal Opera, Stockholm

Read more about the opera Rigoletto

The star of the first three performances was clearly the great Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda. It is also good to see major company artists like Kerstin Meyer, Birgit Nordin, Anders Näslund and Erik Saedén in relatively short roles. By the seventies, Ingvar Wixell became a major Verdi baritone with an international career, and was an excellent performer of the title role at Covent Garden and elsewhere.

The company's guest conductor, Fausto Cleva, was a highly experienced Italian veteran with several excellent recordings to his credit. He was an excellent pianist, and before the war had also toured Scotland, indeed the whole UK, as accompanist on one of Beniamino Gigli's highly popular and extensive tours.


Royal Swedish Opera at the Edinburgh Festival 1959

For its first Edinburgh visit, the Royal Opera, Stockholm, brought a typically ambitious programme of Verdi, Wagner, Berg and Blomdahl.  While the Rigoletto and Walküre may have been fairly conventional,  Un ballo in maschera showed a clear attempt by the director to get as close as possible to Swedish history.  Wozzeck was a Scottish premiere, and Aniara saw the British premiere of an interesting new piece only launched in May.

The five operas given were by Wagner (Die Walküre);  Verdi (Rigoletto,  Un ballo in maschera);  Berg (Wozzeck) and Blomdahl (Aniara).

The three week performance schedule was:

Week One, w/c 24 August:  Mon 24  Ballo in maschera;  Tue 25 Rigoletto;  Wed 26 Walküre;  Thu 27  Rigoletto;  Fri 28  Walküre;  Sat 29  Ballo in maschera.

Week Two,  w/c 31 August:  Mon 31 Walküre;  Tue 1 Sep  Rigoletto;  Wed 2 Walküre;  Thu 3  Aniara;  Fri 4  Ballo in maschera;  Sat 5  Aniara.

Week Three, w/c 7 September:  Mon 7 Walküre;  Tue 8  Wozzeck;  Wed 9 Rigoletto;  Thu 10  Wozzeck;  Fri 11  Rigoletto;  Sat 12  Ballo in maschera.

Performance Cast

Duke of Mantua

Nicolai Gedda (Aug 25, 27; Sep 1)

Uno Stjernquist (Sep 9, 11)

Matteo Borsa a courtier

Olle Sivall

Marullo a courtier

Anders Näslund (Aug 25; Sep 1, 11)

Erik Saedén (Aug 27; Sep 9)

Count Ceprano a courtier

Ingvar Wixell

Countess Ceprano

Ingeborg Kjellgren

Rigoletto a jester

Hugo Hasslo

Count Monterone

Sigurd Björling (Aug 25; Sep 1, 9, 11)

Anders Näslund (Aug 27)

Sparafucile a professional assassin

Arne Tyrén

Gilda Rigoletto's daughter

Margareta Hallin

Giovanna Gilda's duenna

Barbro Ericson (Aug 25; Sep 1)

Margit Sehlmark (Aug 27; Sep 9, 11)

Page to the Duchess

Birgit Nordin


Bo Lundborg

Maddalena sister of Sparafucile

Kerstin Meyer (Aug 25; Sep 1, 9)

Barbro Ericson (Aug 27; Sep 11)

Performance DatesRigoletto 1959

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

25 Aug, 19.00 27 Aug, 19.00 1 Sep, 19.00 9 Sep, 19.00 11 Sep, 19.00

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