Site Home
 



Topic Home


Opera at the Triennial Festivals

The famous Triennial Festivals up to the Second World War frequently ended with scenes from Wagner's music dramas, 'bleeding chunks of Wagner' as they were described by Sir Thomas Beecham. Act 3 of 'The Mastersingers' and its great choral finale was especially popular. The last Triennial Festival to end with Wagner was in 1947: a selection from 'Mastersingers' brought that year's event to a blazing conclusion.

Covent Garden Opera staged at the Grand Theatre a new production of Handel's dramatic oratorio Samson.  This was a highlight of the 1958 Centenary Festival.  The performance on 17th October 1958, was given in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, HRH Prince Philip, HRH the Princess Royal and the Queen's cousin, Lord Harewood, artistic director of the Triennial Festival.  Canadian tenor Jon Vickers in the title role and Australian soprano Joan Sutherland as an Israelite Woman, were then at the threshold of major international careers.

The English Opera Group staged Britten's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the Grand Theatre as part of the 1961 Festival. The mouth-watering cast included: Grayston Burgess (Oberon), Joan Carlyle (Titania), Peter Glossop (Demetrius), Janet Baker (Hippolyta), Heather Harper (Helena) and Forbes Robinson (Bottom).

Prokofiev's epic opera 'War and Peace' was given its British premiere in a concert performance at Leeds Town Hall as a highlight of the 1967 Festival: the Festival Chorus and New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Edward Downes.  The distinguished cast included Hans Wilbrink (Prince Andrei Bolkonsky), Elizabeth Vaughan (Natasha), Georgetta Psaros (Sonya), Gregory Dempsey (Count Pierre Bezukhov), Raymond Herincx (Old Prince Bolkonsky), Donald MacIntyre (Field-Marshal Prince Kutuzov).
Click images to enlarge
1947 programme
1947 programme
1958 programme
1958 programme
1967 programme
1967 programme
19th April 1967, War and Peace
19th April 1967, War and Peace




Site Map

© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003