Opera Scotland

Fidelio 1977Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Fidelio

Peter Ebert's staging of Fidelio featured in the latter portion of the 1976/77 subscription season, was taken on tour in the spring, and returned to Glasgow early in the 1977/78 season.

It might have been expected that this would be a routine revival of Fidelio, but then routine is not really a word that Dame Josephine Barstow would have understood. She was at the start of a fruitful period of working with the company. John Shirley-Quirk was interesting casting as Pizarro - not a role he did anywhere else. His incisive readings of Mittenhofer, Gil-Martin and even Golaud had shown he could play nasty when required, but Pizarro needs a barn-storming element that was less expected. This was an excellent dramatic revival.

Helga Dernesch had given her first performances as Leonore back in 1970 and still acted with commitment, though she was now taxed by some of the vocal difficulties. John Shaw's voice was dry-toned but dramatically incisive. Bill McCue was an ideal Rocco - he never missed a performance in all the runs this staging enjoyed between 1970 and 1984.

Charles Craig and Patricia Hay were familiar from earlier revivals. Graham Clark and Dennis O'Neill were both still company regulars, though unfortunately not for much longer. At this point they were both lively actors in juvenile roles. Lawrence Foster was the only conductor apart from Gibson to lead this production.

The company's spring season in Edinburgh followed the end of the Glasgow session, opening with Fidelio on 26 April. The demanding schedule of works cherry-picked from the earlier Theatre Royal subscription programming was completed by Macbeth, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Jenůfa, Don Pasquale, The Merry Widow and The Magic Flute.

Scottish Opera's third winter season at the Theatre Royal (1977-78) opened with Thea Musgrave's Mary, Queen of Scots, premiered a few weeks earlier at the Edinburgh Festival. It was followed by Fidelio, Otello, Ariadne on Naxos, The Golden Cockerel, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Falstaff, The Marriage of Figaro (launched earlier in the year), Madama Butterfly and The Bartered Bride - this last being the only completely new production.


Performance Cast

Jaquino Rocco's assistant

Graham Clark (Jan; Apr)

Dennis O'Neill (Oct)

Marzelline Rocco's daughter

Patricia Hay

Rocco gaoler

William McCue

Leonore Florestan's wife, disguised as Fidelio

Josephine Barstow (Jan; Apr)

Helga Dernesch (Oct)

Don Pizarro prison governor

John Shirley-Quirk (Jan; Apr)

John Shaw (Oct)

First Prisoner

Tom Marandola (Jan; Apr)

Michael Royle (Oct)

Second Prisoner

Arthur Jackson (Jan; Apr)

Norman White (Oct)

Florestan a Spanish nobleman

Charles Craig

Don Fernando the King's Minister

Don Garrard

Performance DatesFidelio 1977

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

19 Jan, 19.15 22 Jan, 19.15 25 Jan, 19.15 27 Jan, 19.15 29 Jan, 14.15 19 Oct, 19.15 22 Oct, 19.15 25 Oct, 19.15 27 Oct, 19.15

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

26 Apr, 19.15 28 Apr, 19.15

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