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HomeSearchGetRecordDiana Gordon Collection: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (1937-62)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Diana Gordon Collection: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (1937-62)
Unique Identifier
A collection of programmes for opera, ballet and concert performances given by resident and visiting companies at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden between 1937 and 1962, held loosely and arranged in a miscellaneous fashion across the 10 variously sized parcels comprising the Diana Gordon collection.

All of the items referred to here provide detailed information about the vocal and instrumental performers and about the theatre production team. They also offer brief programme notes and, in the case of operatic or ballet productions, a brief synopsis of the plot.

Items are listed here with the following divisions:
1. Covent Garden Opera
2. Visiting opera productions
3. Sadler's Wells Opera and Ballet
4. Covent Garden Ballet
5. Other ballet productions
6. Concerts

In all cases, the name of the conductor is given in parenthesis.

1. Covent Garden Opera Season
Unless otherwise stated, all performances involved the Covent Garden Opera Orchestra and Chorus. All productions given in 1948 were conducted by Karl Rankl.

1 July 1947: Puccini, Turandot (Constant Lambert)
11 November 1947: Britten, Peter Grimes (Reginald Goodall)

20 March 1948: Wagner, Tristan und Isolde.
12 May 1948: Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov.
1 October 1948: Richard Strauss, Rosenkavalier.

25 May 1949: Wagner, Götterdämmerung (Karl Rankl)
17 November 1949: Puccini, La Bohème (Warwick Braithwaite)

19 October 1950: Wagner, The Flying Dutchman (Karl Rankl)
2 December 1950: Verdi, La Traviata (Peter Gellhorn)
21 December 1950: Tchaikovsky, The Queen of Spades (Erich Kleiber)

6 January 1951: Mozart, The Magic Flute (Erich Kleiber)
2 July 1951: Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Sir Thomas Beecham)
31 July 1951: Purcell, The Fairy Queen (Constant Lambert)

12 January 1952: Puccini, Turandot (Sir John Barbirolli)
22 January 1952: Berg, Wozzeck (Erich Kleiber)
20 November 1952: Bellini, Norma (Vittorio Gui)

11 February 1953: Verdi, Aida (Sir John Barbirolli)
15 May 1953: Richard Strauss, Elektra (Erich Kleiber)
18 June 1953: Britten, Gloriana (John Pritchard)

20 January 1954: Rimsky-Korsakov, Le Coq d'Or (Igor Markevitch)
18 February 1954: Verdi, Il Trovatore (Vilem Tausky)
13 May 1954: Weber, Der Freischütz (Edward Downes)
6 December 1954: Walton, Troilus and Cressida (Sir Malcolm Sargent)

11 February 1955: Tippett, The Midsummer Marriage (John Pritchard)
4 May 1955: Smetana, The Bartered Bride (Rafael Kubelik)
21 October 1955: Verdi, Othello (Rafael Kubelik)
8 December 1955: Offenbach, The Tales of Hoffmann (Edward Downes)

17 July 1956: Puccini, Tosca (Argeo Quadri)
31 May 1956: Wagner, Siegfried (Rudolf Kempe)

4 January 1957: Janacek, Jenufa (Rafael Kubelik)
19 February 1957: Wagner, The Mastersingers of Nurenberg. (Rafael Kubelik)
8 July 1957: Berlioz, The Trojans (Rafael Kubelik)
7 December 1957: Verdi, A Masked Ball (Edward Downes)

21 Janaury 1958: Poulenc, The Carmelites (Rafael Kubelik)
10 November 1958: Moussorgsky, Boris Godunov (Rafael Kubelik)
24 November 1958: Handel, Samson (Raymond Leppard)

In addition to these individual programmes, the collection includes a souvenir brochure for the Coronation Season, given in 1953-54 with the Sadler's Wells Ballet (with extensive programme notes, detailed biographical information and photographs).

2. Visiting opera productions
20 and 30 September and 4 October 1947: Mozart, Don Giovanni/Richard Strauss, Salome/Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro, given by the Vienna State Opera Orchestra under Josef Krips and Clemens Krauss.
15, 19 and 22 September 1953: Richard Strauss, Arabella/Die Lieve der Danae/Capriccio, given by the Bavarian State Orchestra and Chorus and the Ballet of the Bavarian State Opera, Munich.

3. Sadler's Wells Opera and Ballet Season
These productions were conducted by James Robertson (1950, 1952 and March 1953) and Charles Mackerras (1951 and February 1953).
24 May 1947: Chopin, Les Sylphides/Franck, Symphonic Variations/Falla, The Three Cornered Hat
30 December 1950: Mozart, Don Giovanni
6 June 1951: Janacek, Katya Kabanova
26 June 1952: Mozart, Don Giovanni
5 November 1952: Mozart, The Seraglio
24 February 1953: Cosi Fan Tutte
17 March 1953: Heinrich Sutermeister, Romeo and Juliet

4. Covent Garden Ballet
All performances involved the Covent Garden Orchestra.
29 May 1948: Chopin, Les Sylphides/Rossini, La Boutique Fantasque/Arthur Bliss, Checkmate (Hugo Rignold)
12 July 1948: Tchaikovsky, Sleeping Beauty (Geoffrey Corbett and Hugo Rignold)
17 March 1955: Erno von Dohnanyi, The Shadow/Stravinsky, The Firebird/Rossini, La Boutique Fantasque (Robert Irving)
12 January 1956: Prokofiev, Cinderella (Robert Irving)
9 April 1957: Humphrey Searle, Noctambules (Sir Malcolm Sargent)

5. Other ballet productions
8 and 19 July 1937: Col. W. de Basil's Ballets Ruses (4th season), with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Antal Dorati.
5 and 10 August and 10 September 1938: Season of Russian Ballet, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Antal Dorati.
19 August 1953: Holger Simon Paulli, Konservatoriet/Napoli, music by Holger Simon Paulli, Gustav Helsted, Niels Vilhelm Gade and Hans Christian Lumbye, given by the Royal Danish Ballet (Emil Reesen and Johann Hye-Knudsen).

6. Concerts
31 January and 21 March 1937: London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham, as part of the Beecham Sunday Concerts (with notes).
20 May 1948: Gala Performance in aid of the Sadler's Well Ballet Benevolent Fund given by the Sadler's Wells Ballet and Covent Garden Orchestra, conducted by Geoffrey Corbett and Hugo Rignold (with words and programme/biographical notes). This was three-act performance, the second act devoted to Ralph Vaughan Williams, Job (conducted by Adrian Boult).
Date range of collection
1937 - 1962
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
Associated People or Organisations
Associated Places
Associated Times

Location Details

British Library
The British Library St Pancras ,96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
Open Map
+44 (0)870 444
Visiting Information
Internet 24/7
Collections Overview
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

Additional Collection Information

Accrual Status
Related Publications
Management Information (Type)
Collection Owner(s)
Collection Creator(s)
Collection Collector(s)
Collection Custodians(s)
Associated Collection(s)
Cardif University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)Royal College of Music LondonMuseums, Libraries and Archives Council