Opera Scotland

Boris Godunov 1965Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Boris Godunov

The new large-scale chorus-dominated opera production for 1965 was Scottish Opera's first attempt at one of the great Russian works.  Boris was receiving its first Scottish outing in half a century.  The new edition, including a fine translaton,  had been prepared by David Lloyd-Jones.   It was an attempt to return to the composer's original ideas, without the romantic Polish act that was added later.

As with Otello in the previous two seasons, a sensible decision was taken to save costs by borrowing the excellent period costumes from the Covent Garden production, which had been presenting the great Boris Christoff in the title role since the early fifties.

The performance, dramatically conducted by Gibson, was dominated by David Ward's moving interpretation of the title role. Pimen was sung by Norman Lumsden, whose career went back to the early performances with the English Opera Group of The Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring. This season also saw the first of many visits by Francis Egerton and Donald McIntyre.

For the first time, the company ventured beyond the central belt, by playing a week in Aberdeen. With this expansion of the company's activities it was therefore particularly unfortunate that the excellent theatre in Dundee, available for touring companies until as recently as 1961, had been converted to wide-screen cinema, and no longer had a stage or proscenium.


In addition to Boris Godunov, the season included a new production, the company's second, of Madama Butterfly.  There was also a revival of the previous season's Don Giovanni, in which the future Dame Margaret Price made her only company appearance.


The programme for Scottish Opera's Fourth Season - 1965

The season consisted of performances of Boris Godunov (6); Madam Butterfly (8); and Don Giovanni (5), carried out in Glasgow (King's Theatre), Aberdeen (His Majesty's Theatre) and Edinburgh (King's Theatre).  Performances were in the evening at 7pm with schools matinees at 2.30pm.

The schedule for the season was as follows:-

Glasgow, w/c 10 May:  Fri 14 Boris Godunov;  Sat 15 Madam Butterfly.

Glasgow, w/c 17 May:  Tue 18 Boris Godunov;  Wed 19 Madam Butterfly;  Thu 20 Don Giovanni;  Fri 21 m Madam Butterfly;  Fri 21 e Boris Godunov;  Sat 22 Don Giovanni.

Aberdeen, w/c 24 May: Tue 25 Don Giovanni; Wed 26 Madam Butterfly; Thu 27 Don Giovanni; Fri 28 Madam Butterfly; Sat 29 Boris Godunov.

Edinburgh, w/c 31 May:  Tue 1 Jun Boris Godunov;  Wed 2 Madam Butterfly;  Thu 3 Don Giovanni;  Fri 4 m Madam Butterfly;  Fri 4 e Boris Godunov;  Sat 5 Madam Butterfly.

Performance Cast

Mitiukha a peasant

John Shiels

Peasant Woman

Dorothy Miller

Nikitich a police officer

William McCue

Andrei Shchelkalov a Boyar, secretary to the Duma

Raymond Hayter (May 14, 18, 21)

Benjamin Luxon (May 29; Jun 1, 4)

Shuisky Prince Vasily Ivanovich Shuisky

Emile Belcourt

Boris Godunov Tsar of Russia

David Ward

Pimen a monk and chronicler

Norman Lumsden

Grigory Otrepiev a novice monk

William McAlpine

Hostess at the inn

Elizabeth Bainbridge

Missail an itinerant monk

Francis Egerton

Varlaam an itinerant monk

Donald McIntyre

Xenia Tsarevna daughter of Boris

Catriona Gordon

Fyodor Tsarevitch son of Boris

Anne Pashley

Nurse to Xenia

Johanna Peters

Boyar in attendance

John Robertson


Duncan Robertson

Krushchov a Boyar

Ronald Morrison

Lavitsky a Jesuit

John Robertson

Chernikovsky a Jesuit

John Shiels

Performance DatesBoris Godunov 1965

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

14 May, 19.00 18 May, 19.00 21 May, 19.00

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

29 May, 19.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

1 Jun, 19.00 4 Jun, 19.00

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