TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the founding fathers of Scottish Opera, who has died aged 94.

Peter Ebert, the company's first director, died at his home in Ringmer, East Sussex on Christmas Day.

Mr Ebert, who was director of productions for a decade between 1965 and 1975, also served as administrator from 1977 until 1980.

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Born in Germany, he studied at Gordonstoun School in Moray and began his career in his homeland before returning to Scotland to take the helm at the newly created Scottish Opera.

Among the highlights of his tenure were the first Ring Cycle performed in Scotland and stagings of The Trojans and Die Fleidermouse.

Alex Reedijk, general director of Scottish Opera, said: "Peter Ebert made a vital artistic contribution in the early days of Scottish Opera.

"He directed our first Mozart opera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and was also behind our very first incursion into contemporary opera with Dallapiccola's Volo di Notte.

"It was through his expert hands that the company first performed Wagner's The Ring Cycle. His 20 productions with us include some of the company's most popular works that went on to be revived such as Verdi's Falstaff [1966], and Puccini's Madama Butterfly [1965] and La bohème [1967]".

Singer and director John Lawson Graham, who worked with Mr Ebert, said: "He was a wonderful man. He was easy to work with, and he was very inspirational for young singers.

"He was very respected by all those who worked with him and was very knowledgable about music and the opera. It is a great loss."

Mr Ebert had 10 children from two marriages, eight of whom were with his second wife, the dancer Silvia Ashmole. After leaving Scotland, the couple lived in Great Paddock, Ringmer, until his death.