In the 1960's Scotland couldn't still quite believe that it had a major opera company. Founded by Alexander Gibson in 1962 it attracted the very finest international singers. In 1967 Anthony Besch directed a new production of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte which boasted Elizabeth Harwood and, unbelievably, Janet Baker in the cast with the Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Gibson himself. The really astonishing thing about this was that it was premiered in Perth Theatre! Quite how many seats remained in the stalls I can't imagine, but hearing those amazing voices in that small space must have been unforgettable. The Stage was in no doubt of the success of the evening: 'The Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Gibson, showed immense resilience and a happy, confident accord with the singers. Of special charm in the concerted passages was the exquisite blend of the sopranos, Elizabeth Harwood and Janet Baker,' I bet there are regular members of the Perth classical audience who remember this, If so I need to talk to them to enjoy at second hand something which became one of Scottish Opera's finest projects.
Astonishingly there is a recording of this production - click here to hear it
Watch documentary on Scottish Opera performing Dido and Aeneas with Janet Baker at Aix en Provence - click here