Opera Scotland

Ernani 1967Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Ernani

The early operas of Verdi were still very little known in Britain at this stage. Welsh National Opera had explored several, including Nabucco and I Lombardi. Sadler's Wells then mounted Attila, and toured it, though it did not come to Scotland. Macbeth had appeared at the very first Edinburgh Festival, and Nabucco was done by amateur groups. Ernani had also been done by Glasgow Grand, but was otherwise unfamiliar.

Peter Coe was recognised as an excellent director of musicals, so should have been a sensible choice to direct an opera which features lots of catchy tunes and jolly choruses, even if it does not quite convince of its dramatic truth. When it opened at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 19 January 1967, this staging proved highly controversial, since it appeared to emphasise the artificiality of the work. No doubt it would all seem very tame today.

As preparation for the two performances of this rarity, Sadler's Wells collaborated with the Scottish Opera Club to present an introductory Lecture/Recital at 3.00pm on Sunday 22 October 1967. This took place at the Close Theatre, and was in the form of a series of extracts performed by four of the principals - Anne Edwards, Donald Pilley, Robert Bickerstaff and Don Garrard. The linking narrative was provided by Tom Hammond, who was responsible for the new translation.


Sadler's Wells Opera's Glasgow Season - 1967

Sadler's Wells Opera only came to Glasgow in October 1967, but the four week stay was an unusually long one. They gave three performances of a brand new production of The Magic Flute, four of the familiar 1960 Barber of Seville, three of Orpheus in the Underworld (also from 1960) and three of a vintage       Samson and Delilah, a staging from the early 'fifties receiving a brief revival. The Cenerentola from 1959 returned for a final visit.  Gluck's Orpheus and Euridice was seen in the unfamiliar version for tenor,  Ernani had a rather controversial staging on its only tour, and Malcolm Williamson's Violins of Saint Jacques proved to be a genuinely popular new work.


The performance schedule was as follows:

Week 1, w/c Monday, 23 October:  Mon 23 Magic Flute;  Tue 24 Barber oSeville;  Wed 25 Orpheus and Euridice;  Thu 26 np;  Fri 27 Orpheus and Euridice;  Sat 28 Magic Flute.

Week 2, w/c Monday, 30 October:  Mon 30 np;  Tue 31 Samson and Delilah;  Wed 1 Nov Barber of Seville; Thu 2 Magic Flute;  Fri 3 Orpheus and Euridice;  Sat 4 Samson and Delilah.

Week 3, w/c Monday, 6 November:  Mon 6 np;  Tue 7 Violins of Saint-Jacques;  Wed 8 Ernani;  Thu 9 m Barber of Seville;  Thu 9 e Cenerentola;  Fri 10 Orpheus in the Underworld;  Sat 11 Ernani.  

Week 4, w/c Monday 13 November:  Mon 13  Cenerentola;  Tue 14 Samson and Delilah;  Wed 15 Orpheus in the Underworld;   Thu 16 Barber of Seville;  Fri 17 Violins of Saint-Jacques;  Sat 18 Orpheus in the Underworld.

Cast details are from copies of the programme for both nights in the OperaScotland archive.

Performance Cast

Ernani a bandit chief, in fact Don Juan of Aragon

Donald Pilley

Don Carlo King of Castile

Robert Bickerstaff

Don Ruy Gomez da Silva a Spanish grandee, Elvira's guardian

Don Garrard

Elvira Silva's niece

Pauline Tinsley (Nov 8)

Anne Edwards (Nov 11)

Giovanna Elvira's duenna

Marie Robinson

Jago Silva's steward

Peter Tracey

Don Riccardo adviser to the king

Brian O'Keeffe

Performance DatesErnani 1967

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

8 Nov, 19.30 11 Nov, 19.30

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