Opera Scotland

Boris Godunov 1968Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Boris Godunov

Michael Geliot's 1965 production using Musorgsky's original scoring, was here revived.  David Lloyd-Jones, having prepared the musical edition of this superb opera, and also the new  English translation used convincingly by the singers, now conducted the opera as well.  Sadly, he never returned to the company, even if perhaps these performances revealed his lack of experience at this stage.   In later years he conducted wonderful performances of Russian repertoire especially at ENO and Opera North.

David Ward, originally expected to return to the title role, had been offered the  opportunity to sing Wotan at La Scala, the kind of prestigious opportunity which had to take priority for him, even over a date with his beloved Scottish Opera.  His replacements, Joseph Rouleau and Don Garrard, both fitted in well, if without the deep emotionality that Ward brought to one of his best parts.  Bill McCue, who had taken a small role in 1965, now sang Pimen, showing again how good he was as a deeply serious character.  Victor Godfrey, based in Germany, would also become a regular with the company in several major Wagnerian roles.

The spring season included revivals of Boris Godunov and Madama Butterfly, as well as the company's first Marriage of Figaro. However the striking cover for the season's programme was clearly designed to focus attention on the other new production - Götterdämmerung.

As in the Wagner production, a keen observer, no doubt learning everything he could from the opportunity, was the young bass John Tomlinson, a member of the extra chorus, though still a student in Manchester.


Scottish Opera's Seventh Season - 1968

The ten operas performed were by Monteverdi (Ballo delle ingrate);  Mozart (Marriage of Figaro);  Wagner (Götterdämmerung);   Musorgsky (Boris Godunov);   Sullivan (Gondoliers);   Puccini (Madam Butterfly); Stravnsky (Soldier's Tale);  Britten (Peter GrimesAlbert Herring);  Orr (Full Circle).

Full Ciircle was given in Edinburgh as a late night performance (10:00pm) after some performances of The Gondoliers,  while in Perth it formed a double bill with The Solder's Tale.

The schedule was as follows:

Perth, w/c Mon 8 Apr:  Tue 9 Marriage of Figaro;  Wed 10 Full Circle & Soldier's Tale;  Thu 11 Marriage of Figaro;  Fri 12 Full Circle & Soldier's Tale;  Sat 13 Full Circle & Soldier's Tale.

Glasgow, w/c Mon 29 Apr:  Fri 3 May Boris Godunov;  Sat 4 Marriage of Figaro

Glasgow, w/c Mon 6 May;  Fri 10 Boris Godunov; Sat 11 Madama Butterfly.

Glasgow, w/c Mon 13 May:  Tue 14 Madama Butterfly;  Wed 15 Götterdämmerung;  Thu 16 Marriage of Figaro;  Fri 17 m Marriage of Figaro; Fri 17 e  Madama Butterfly;  Sat 18 Götterdämmerung.

Aberdeen, w/c Mon 20 May:  Tue 21 Götterdämmerung;  Wed 22 Marriage of Fgaro;  Thu 23 Madama Butterfly;  Fri 24 Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 25 Boris Godunov.

Edinburgh, w/c Mon 27 May:  Tue 28 Boris Godunov;  Wed 29 Madama Butterfly;  Thu 30 Marriage of Figaro;  Fri 31 m Marriage of Figaro;  Fri 31 e Madama Butterfly; Sat 1 Jun Boris Godunov.

Edinburgh, w/c Mon 3 Jun  Tue 4 Götterdämmerung;  Wed 5 Boris Godunov; Thu 6 Marriage of Figaro;  Fri 7 Götterdämmerung;  Sat 8 Marriage of Figaro.

Florence, w/c Mon 17 Jun:  Wed 19 Albert Herring;  Thu 20 Albert Herring.

Edinburgh Festival: 19, 21, 23, 26 Aug Peter Grimes.

Edinburgh Festival (Fringe): 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 Aug (late) Il ballo delle ingrate.

Newcastlle, w/c Mon 9 Sep: Tue 10 Peter Grimes;  Thu 12 Marriage of Fiigaro;  Fri 13 Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 14 Peter Grimes.

Edinburgh, w/c Mon 9 Dec:  Thu 12 Gondoliers;  Sat 14 Marriage of Figaro.

Edinburgh, w/v Mon 16 Dec:  Mon 16 e Gondoliers; Mon 16 (late) Full Circle;  Tue 17 Marriage of Figaro; Wed 18 Gondoliers; Thu 19 Gondoliers;  Fri 20 Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 21 e Gondoliers;  Sat 21 (late) Full Circle.

Performance Cast

Nikitich a police officer

Ronald Morrison

Andrei Shchelkalov a Boyar, secretary to the Duma

William Elvin

Mitiukha a peasant

John Shiels

Shuisky Prince Vasily Ivanovich Shuisky

Dennis Brandt

Boris Godunov Tsar of Russia

Joseph Rouleau (5 perfs)

Don Garrard (1 perf)

Pimen a monk and chronicler

Don Garrard (5 perfs)

William McCue (1 perf)

Grigory Otrepiev a novice monk

William McAlpine

Hostess at the inn

Gita Denise

Missail an itinerant monk

Francis Egerton

Varlaam an itinerant monk

Victor Godfrey

Xenia Tsarevna daughter of Boris

Ann Baird

Fyodor Tsarevitch son of Boris

Josephine McQueen

Nurse to Xenia

Johanna Peters

Boyar in attendance

John Robertson


Duncan Robertson (Exc May 25)

Athole Still (May 25)

Lavitsky a Jesuit

John Robertson

Chernikovsky a Jesuit

John Lawson Graham

Krushchov a Boyar

Norman White

Performance DatesBoris Godunov 1968

Map List

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

3 May, 19.00 10 May, 19.00

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

25 May, 19.00

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

28 May, 19.00 1 Jun, 19.00 5 Jun, 19.00

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