Opera Scotland

Gondoliers 1968Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Gondoliers

Scottish Opera's first production of an operetta might have been expected to be of one of the famous pieces by Strauss, Lehár or Offenbach. However the choice fell on G & S, which was still a popular area of the repertoire. The original D'Oyly Carte company toured regularly in Scotland, and since the expiry of Sullivan's copyright, Sadler's Wells had brought The Mikado, Iolanthe, and, just a few weeks earlier, Patience. This production of The Gondoliers by Joan Cross, not usually associated with this repertoire, was safely traditional in outline.

The stars of the show were Ian Wallace and Johanna Peters as the Duke and Duchess, and company debuts were made by Jill Gomez, who returned frequently, and Janet Coster, who didn't. Gillian Knight, familiar from her years with D'Oyly Carte, and more recently Sadler's Wells, substituted as the Duchess for two performances. The excellent lyric tenor John Wakefield returned for the first time since 1963.

The company's activities were at this point expanding rapidly. For the first time it had performed a short autumn season after the Edinburgh Festival Peter Grimes. This tour had included the first visit to Newcastle, soon to be Scottish Opera's most important venue after Glasgow. The first attempt at a pre-Christmas week in Edinburgh was at a season when the Scottish National Orchestra was not available because of its concert schedule, so the services of the BBC Scottish Symphony, and their excellent young conductor James Loughran, were used for the first time.

This Edinburgh visit from 12 to 21 December included, in addition to five performances of The Gondoliers, three further opportunities to see the spring's new staging of Figaro. As an experiment, not repeated, there were also two late night showing's of Robin Orr's single-act Full Circle, premiered in Perth in April.


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

Fiametta a Contadina

Ann Baird

Francesco a Venetian Gondolier

Martin Lane

Giulia a Contadina

Pamela Molcher

Antonio a Venetian Gondolier

John Lawson Graham

Giorgio a Venetian Gondolier

John Leishman

Vittoria a Contadina

Karen Russell

Marco Palmieri a Venetian Gondolier

John Wakefield

Giuseppe Palmieri a Venetian Gondolier

Ronald Morrison

Tessa a Contadina

Janet Coster

Gianetta a Contadina

Anne Pashley

Duke of Plaza-Toro a Grandee of Spain

Ian Wallace (Exc Dec 18)

Lawrence Richard (Dec 18)

Duchess of Plaza-Toro

Johanna Peters (Exc Dec 19, 21)

Gillian Knight (Dec 19, 21)

Casilda daughter of the Duke and Duchess

Jill Gomez

Luiz the Duke's Attendant

John Robertson

Don Alhambra del Bolero the Grand Inquisitor

William McCue


Bruce Clark

Inez the King's Foster-mother

Elsa Kendal

Performance DatesGondoliers 1968

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

12 Dec, 19.00 16 Dec, 19.00 18 Dec, 19.00 19 Dec, 19.00 21 Dec, 19.00

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