Opera Scotland

Barbiere di Siviglia 1985Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Barber of Seville

Scottish Opera's subscription season 1984-85 consisted of nine operas, including six new productions, one of which was a world premiere. They began with Cavalli's Orion, which received its UK premiere at the Edinburgh Festival before joining the season's repertoire. The other works given were Fidelio (revival), Rigoletto (revival), Capriccio, Bartered Bride (revival), Barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni, Orlando and Hedda Gabler (Edward Harper world premiere).

It was a remarkable fact that the three great co-directors of Glasgow Citizens' Theatre for three decades and more - Robert David MacDonald, Giles Havergal and Philip Prowse - rarely worked with Scottish Opera, an opportunity sadly wasted. Still, at least when they did cross the river their work was stimulating.

Here, the snappy modern dress production featured Russell Smythe as a flashy, extremely sharp-suited Figaro, also crisply sung. The great comic performances came from Geoffrey Moses as a lugubrious beanpole of a Basilio, and Donald Adams effortlessly funny, with marvellously clear diction (honed by his years of G & S), as natural in Italian as in English. Perhaps most notable was Ludmilla Andrew (as Milla now styled herself) in what is usually the small role of Berta. Slatternly, shuffling about in worn out slippers, cigarette dangling from lips, TV flickering in her room at the back, this usually serious artist gave a revelatory comic performance. Alexander Gibson, not usually associated with this repertoire (though he had returned to Sadler's Wells in 1963 to conduct Count Ory), led a light-footed and stylish account of the music.

Performance Cast

Fiorello servant of the Count

Keith Latham

Count Almaviva a young nobleman

Patrick Power

Figaro a barber

Russell Smythe (Feb 13, 16, 19, 21; Mar 19, 21 23)

Robert Dean (Feb 28; Mar 2, 6, 8, 12, 14, 16; Apr 2, 4, 6)

Rosina Bartolo's ward

Zehava Gal (Feb 13, 16, 19, 21, 28; Mar 2, 6, 8; Apr 4, 6)

Della Jones (Mar 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23; Apr 2)

Bartolo a doctor, Rosina's guardian

Donald Adams

Ambrogio Bartolo's servant

James Paterson

Don Basilio a singing teacher

Geoffrey Moses

Berta Bartolo's housekeeper

Ludmilla Andrew


Ian McKinven


John Brackenridge

Performance DatesBarbiere di Siviglia 1985

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

13 Feb, 19.15 16 Feb, 14.15 19 Mar, 19.15 21 Mar, 19.15 23 Mar, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

19 Feb, 19.15 21 Feb, 19.15

Grand Opera House, Belfast | Belfast

6 Mar, 19.30 8 Mar, 19.30

Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

12 Mar, 19.15 14 Mar, 19.15 16 Mar, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

2 Apr, 19.15 4 Apr, 19.15 6 Apr, 19.15

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