The Hector Berlioz Website

Les Troyens at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden

1957

The Illustrated London News, 8 June 1957, page 957

The 1957 performances of The Trojans at Covent Garden were conducted by Rafael Kubelik. They were sung in English; the text was by E. J. Dent. This production, revived also in 1958, was a landmark event in the history of Berlioz’s epic opera. It “not only revealed the splendour of the opera for the first time [in Britain] but stimulated a wider interest, which was to reach a climax in 1969, the centenary of Berlioz’s death. This year saw the publication of David Cairns’ classic translation of the Memoirs, the publication, for the first time, of the full score of Les Troyens in Hugh Macdonald’s edition for the recently launched New Berlioz Edition, and the Scottish Opera and Covent Garden productions of the opera, which presented the work complete for the first time (the one in English, the other in French).” (Ian Kemp, Berlioz: Les Troyens, 1988, p. 17.)

This page reconstructs a contemporary pictorial report of the 1957 production of The Trojans which appeared on page 957 of The Illustrated London News of 8 June 1957, a copy of which is in our collection.

 

 

“The Trojans”

AT COVENT GARDEN

THE FIRST FULL

ENGLISH PERFORMANCE

OF BERLIOZ’ GREAT OPERA

 

 

    (Right.)
    A SCENE FROM THE COVENT
    GARDEN PRODUCTION OF
    BERLIOZ’ OPERA “THE TROJANS” :
    DIDO (BLANCHE THEBOM)
    ADDRESSES HER PEOPLE IN
    THE SECOND HALF , “tHE
    tROJANS AT CARTHAG
E."

trojans1

 

trojans2

AMY SHUARD AS CASSANDRA IN
THE FIRST PART OF THE OPERA, “THE FALL OF TROY”. IN THE  SECOND SHE APPEARS AS THE GHOST OF CASSANDRA.

trojans3 trojans4

JON VICKERS, THE CANADIAN TENOR, IN THE ROLE OF ÆNEAS. HE HAS APPEARED AT COVENT GARDEN  IN “CARMEN” AND “THE MASKED BALL” WITH MARKED DISTINCTION.

 

(Above centre,)
BLANCHE THEBOM, THE AMERICAN MEZZO-SOPRANO, MAKING HER DEBUT AS DIDO, IN THE SECOND PART.

 

Four upper photographs 
specially taken for 
The Illustrated London 
News
by Houston Rogers.

 

(Right.)
THE IMPRESSIVE FINALE : AS THE DEAD QUEEN DIDO LIES ON THE PYRE, AFTER THE DEPARTURE OF ÆNEAS, THE CARTHAGINIANS CURSE THE TROJANS AND PROPHESY THE FUTURE GREATNESS OF ROME.

trojans5

These photographs are of the major production of the opera “The Trojans,” by Hector Berlioz, which the Royal Opera House announced for June 6, 11, 14, 20, 29 and July 2, 8 and 11. This greatest of Berlioz’ operatic works had an unlucky history, and the first full performance was not given until 1890, twenty-one years after Berlioz’ death. It is a long work, though not as long as several of Wagner’s, and is difficult to stage. It was performed in concert form at Liverpool in 1897 and in reduced form at Oxford in 1950. It falls into two parts, “Fall of Troy” and “The Trojans at Carthage” ; and these parts are sometimes performed separately. For the Covent Garden production, the English translation by Professor Dent is being used ; and the production is by Sir John Gielgud, this being his first operatic production. The conductor is Mr. Rafael Kubelik, and the scenery and costumes have been designed by Mr. Mariano Andreu. The choreography is by Miss Meriel Evans of the Royal Ballet. The performances all begin at 3 p.m. and last approximately 41/2 hours.

The Hector Berlioz Website was created by Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin on 18 July 1997; this page created on 1 June 2013.

© Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin. All rights of reproduction reserved.

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