Tag Archives: Arthur Bruce

REVIEW: Amadeus and the Bard – Scottish Opera Production Studios, Glasgow

We’re invited to a night out at Poosie Nansie’s Inn, on of Robert Burns’ favourite hostelries, in Mary McCluskey’s Amadeus and the Bard.

Subtitled 18th Century Cosmic Brothers, this mixture of story and song, explores the lives of Scotland’s best-loved poet and Austria (and the World’s) most revered composer, Mozart and sheds light on the often startling similarities between them. Burns’ traditional Scottish folk tunes are blended with some of Mozart’s most popular arias. Tam O’ Shanter sits alongside The Magic Flute, A Red, Red Rose alongside The Marriage of Figaro.

McCluskey’s production is like a great, big all encompassing hug. From the moment the audience enters greeted by the cast, clad in their authentic looking, late 18th Century garb, to the last notes ringing out, the audience feel more like participants than on-lookers. The engaging performers, the songs, poems and script are delivered so warmly and invitingly that you can’t help be captivated.

The parallels between these two seemingly disparate men are cleverly woven together and delivered inventively. The mixture of professional performers both singers and an actor, and members of Scottish Opera Young Company, blend seamlessly to create an enchanting evening’s entertainment. Particularly of note are baritone Ross Fettes, a current student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a gifted young singer with a bright future ahead of him, and fellow RCS student, soprano Erin Spence, whose voice and artistry leave a lasting impression, Miss Spence has a rare talent of being able to act convincingly as well as deliver the songs with conviction. Tenor James McIntyre too throws himself fully into his multiple roles. It would be churlish though, not to acknowledge the quality of the entire cast, who are excellent.

That a national company is producing smaller-scale but highly engaging, original and appealing productions is to be lauded – more of this please.

Images: Sally Jubb

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA’S EMERGING ARTIST PROGRAMME CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY AS SEVEN ARTISTS ARE WELCOMED FOR 2019/20 SEASON

Scottish Opera has welcomed a talented group of Emerging Artists for the 2019/20 Season: Samuel Bordoli, Arthur Bruce, Jasmine Clark, Charlie Drummond, Mark Nathan, Michael Papadopoulos and Lucy Walters.

The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme was launched in 2009 and offers young artists a period of full-time work with the Company to help them launch their careers. Initially set up to nurture outstanding young singers, the programme now also includes positions for a repetiteur, costume trainee, a composer in residence, and, for the first time, an associate producer. Previous Emerging Artists include soprano Jennifer France, repetiteur Jonathon Swinard, baritone Ben McAteer and composers Gareth Williams and Lliam Paterson.

Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera General Director said: ‘It’s a great pleasure to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Emerging Artists programme, which has over 40 alumni, with many of those having gone on to perform all over the UK. The incredibly flexible programme helps a tremendous breadth of artists at the start of their careers through an immersive opera company experience where they can draw on all the resources available to strengthen their skills, preparing them for a life in the performing arts. I also have to acknowledge the generosity of our supporters who have from day one been genuinely delighted to help support the Emerging Artists, and how much that support has grown over 10 years.’

Samuel Bordoli ARAM returns for a third year as composer in residence. In the 2018/19 Season, he composed an Overture and To Music for the Autumn 2018 Opera Highlights tour, as well as Le trésor des humbles for soprano and orchestra, premiered in March at Aberdeen’s Music Hall. During the Company’s 2017/18 Season he composed Wings and three piano interludes for the Opera Highlights tour, and Grace Notes to complement the Company’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

Samuel studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he was the Mendelssohn Scholar. He was mentored by Peter Maxwell Davies for nine years. His broad output has included a chamber opera, Amerika, performed at the Tête à Tête opera festival in London, and a choral anthem, The Great Silence, premiered at the Windsor Festival for the Queen’s 90th Birthday. His music theatre piece Belongings was premiered on the Caledonian Sleeper between Aberdeen and London. He has also composed four Live Music Sculptures, site-specific compositions for London landmarks, including Tower Bridge, the Monument and St Paul’s Cathedral, and last year he co-produced Planets 2018, a new ‘Planets Suite’ performed inside planetariums across the UK.

This Season, Samuel is working on an original short digital opera film and a prelude to A Midsummer Night’s Dream entitled Hermia’s Nightmare, and he composed a new piece for Opera Highlights. For his work at Scottish Opera, Samuel was nominated for the ‘One to Watch’ Award at the 2018 Sunday Herald Culture Awards.

Scottish baritone Arthur Bruce is The Robertson Trust Scottish Opera Emerging Artist 2019/20. A graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Alexander Gibson Opera School, the Royal Northern College of Music and English National Opera’s Opera Works programme, Arthur was a member of Scottish Opera Young Company (formerly Connect). He has performed roles with Bampton Classical Opera, Berlin Opera Academy, Saffron Opera Group, Opera Eos, Edinburgh Grand Opera, London Young Sinfonia, Edinburgh Players Opera Group and Bowdon Festival Opera. He is also a Britten-Pears Young Artist. This Season at Scottish Opera, Arthur is performing in Amadeus & The Bard: 18th Century Cosmic Brothers, a new production about the links between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Robert Burns. He also goes on tour with Opera Highlights in the Spring, and performs in Iris, Utopia, Limited and The Gondoliers which tours to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and London.

Elizabeth Salvesen Costume Trainee Jasmine Clark will work on Scottish Opera’s Season 2019/20 productions in the Costume Department, headed by John Liddell. Graduating in 2017 with a 1st Class BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design (Costume Interpretation) degree from Arts University Bournemouth with a particular interest in historical costume, Jasmine has worked on a number of operas, musicals, short films and television programmes. These include La bohème at the Royal Opera House, The Pilgrim’s Progress at Royal Northern College of Music, Les Misérables at Birmingham Hippodrome and the BBC drama Father Brown. Former Student Head of Arts University Bournemouth Costume Archive, in her spare time Jasmine has volunteered as a Tattershall Tailor at National Trust Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire, creating historically accurate medieval costumes for staff to wear at events.

Soprano Charlie Drummond is an alumna of King’s College London (English Literature), the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Alexander Gibson Opera School and the National Opera Studio. She is a Samling Young Artist and the recipient of several awards including the Help Musicians UK Tutton Award, an Independent Opera Voice Scholarship, the Musicians’ Company Silver Medal and the Bruce Millar Gulliver Prize. Charlie has performed with companies including Longborough Festival Opera, British Youth Opera and Raucous Rossini. She also has a keen interest in contemporary opera and has premiered the role of Serena Farage in the new opera The Secretary Turned CEO (Lucid Arts), and performed in the world premiere of Simoon by Erik Chisholm (Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland).  This Season at Scottish Opera she will perform in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Iris, The Gondoliers, Utopia, Limited and the Company’s Opera Highlights Autumn tour.

Baritone Mark Nathan studied at the Alexander Gibson Opera School, having graduated with distinction from a Master’s at London’s Royal College of Music. He completed an undergraduate Music degree at Birmingham University. Mark has worked with opera companies including Welsh National Opera, Opera Loki, Hampstead Garden Opera and Winterbourne Opera, performing roles including Don Giovanni, Papageno, Marcello and Dr Falke. He has also appeared in musicals including Guys and Dolls and Into the Woods.

Mark is in demand as a recitalist and oratorio soloist, and is a keen lyricist, having written several musicals, and a collection of children’s poems entitled ‘Riddle Me This’, which has been set to music by Ronald Corp for the New London Children’s Choir. Mark plays the cello, piano, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, accordion, and the banjo. He plays in chamber ensembles, orchestras and pit bands. This season at Scottish Opera he will perform in A Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Gondoliers and the Opera Highlights Autumn tour.

London-born repetiteur and conductor Michael Papadopoulos is the 2019/20 Emerging Artist repetiteur. He trained at the National Opera Studio and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, having previously read Music at Trinity College Oxford. As a repetiteur, he has worked at Opera Holland Park (La traviata, Isabeau, Il segreto di Susanna), where he was Young Artist Repetiteur for the 2018 season, and British Youth Opera (Don Giovanni), as well as working on Julian Philllips’ The Tale of Januarie at GSMD. Recent conducting projects include a new opera by Edward Lambert for the 2019 Tête à Tête festival (Apollo’s Mission), Bach’s St John Passion, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah (with the choir and musicians of St Paul’s Knightsbridge), and Daniel Saleeb’s Occo’s Eternal Act at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This Season at Scottish Opera, Michael will be working on Susanna’s Secret, Tosca, Nixon in China, The Gondoliers and Utopia, Limited, as assistant conductor on Iris and as Music Director/Pianist on the Opera Highlights Spring tour.

Lucy Walters is the Emerging Artist associate producer. After studying music at the University of Bristol and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Lucy interned at Wigmore Hall where she assisted the Learning Team with their administration and events. She then joined the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as the Chorus Projects Officer, primarily working with the CBSO’s family of symphonic choruses on large-scale choral projects, performances with other orchestras, and chorus international touring. While at the CBSO, Lucy helped to co-ordinate the 2014 BBC Proms Youth Choir (Britten’s War Requiem with the CBSO and Andris Nelsons) before managing the project in 2015 (Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with Vienna Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle). Since leaving the CBSO in 2016, Lucy has enjoyed refocusing on her passion for Opera in the Opera North Planning Team where she managed residencies for the National Opera Studio and Royal Northern College of Music. Jointly appointed by Opera Ventures and Scottish Opera, Lucy is primarily working on the future life of the Company’s co-production of Breaking the Waves over the next year.

The Emerging Artist singers and repetiteur will perform in four recitals; at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh in October, University of St Andrews in November, and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of Glasgow in January.

The Emerging Artists are supported by The Robertson Trust, Elizabeth Salvesen, Idlewild Trust and Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artist Benefactors.

 

Performance Diary

 

Fri 25 October, 6.30pm

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

 

Wed 20 November, 1pm

University of St Andrews

 

Fri 10 January, 1pm

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

 

Thu 16 January, 1.10pm

University of Glasgow

www.scottishopera.org.uk

Image: James Glossop – Scottish Opera Emerging Artists (left to right) Lucy Walters, Mark Nathan, Arthur Bruce, Charlie Drummond, Jasmine Clark and Michael Papadopoulos

NEWS: OPERA HIGHLIGHTS TOURS TO 17 VENUES ACROSS SCOTLAND THIS AUTUMN

On September 12, Scottish Opera’s hugely popular Opera Highlights tour kicks off with four singers and a pianist journeying to 17 venues the length and breadth of Scotland, from Kirkwall in the north to Stranraer in the south.

Travelling the highways and byways by land, sea and air, the Autumn tour begins in Motherwell before heading to Stirling, Stonehaven, Tain, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Oban, Galashiels, Perth, Dunfermline, Thurso, Kirkwall, Ellon, Stranraer, Greenock and Musselburgh.

The setting for director Roxana Haines’ production of Opera Highlights is a beautiful garden party, and features a playlist of operatic classics and must-hear rarities, curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark. Highlights include Delibes’ ‘Flower Duet’, Vaughan Williams’ ‘Blue larkspur in a garden’ and many more from the likes of Mozart, Lehár and Scottish Opera Composer in Residence, Samuel Bordoli.

Pianist/Music Director Ian Shaw is joined by Scottish Opera Emerging Artist soprano Charlie Drummond; mezzo-soprano Martha Jones; tenor Alex Bevan and baritone Mark Nathan, who is also a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist this Season.

The same show returns in Spring 2020, with a different cast: soprano Zoe Drummond; mezzo-soprano Jade Moffat; tenor Andrew Irwin and baritone Arthur Bruce, The Robertson Trust Scottish Opera Emerging Artist who is a former member of Scottish Opera Young Company. It will tour another 17 venues around Scotland from February 4: Bathgate, Birnam, Markinch, Campbeltown, Bowmore, Arrochar, Bunessan, Arisaig, Beauly, Cumnock, Castle Douglas, Callander, Lerwick, Peebles, Fochabers, Alford and Rutherglen. In total, this Season’s Opera Highlights is visiting 34 venues.

Roxana Haines, who is directing Scottish Opera’s Fox-tot! at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer, said: ‘This year’s Opera Highlights cast cordially invite you to a party on your doorstep, set throughout luscious gardens and magical flora and fauna of Opera. The stage has been set, decorations unpacked and the guests have all arrived but, the only problem is, no one quite knows who or why we’re celebrating…

‘As the evening progresses, the connections between our characters unravel through music from the likes of Handel, Donizetti and Mozart, and lighter pieces from Gilbert & Sullivan and Vaughan Williams as well as a new work by Samuel Bordoli. Prepare for charm, magic and love in all its operatic forms.’

Scottish Opera’s General Director, Alex Reedijk, said: ‘I am delighted that Scottish Opera will be touring what promises to be another sensational Opera Highlights to 34 venues across Scotland in the Autumn and Spring. This longstanding and much acclaimed commitment by the Company to presenting work across Scotland is part of what makes us Scottish Opera, and is welcomed by our far-flung audiences as a lovely operatic tonic! Opera Highlights also serves to introduce young singers to our audiences, and greatly assists their development as artists alongside presenting the joys of opera and singing to our widely spread audience.’
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Opera Highlights Autumn Tour Cast and Creative Team

Soprano Charlie Drummond*
Mezzo-soprano Martha Jones
Tenor Alex Bevan
Baritone Mark Nathan*

Pianist/Music Director Ian Shaw
Director Roxana Haines
Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli*

*Scottish Opera Emerging Artist

Performance Diary

Motherwell Theatre, Motherwell
Thu 12 Sep, 7.30pm

Albert Halls, Stirling
Sat 14 Sep, 7.30pm

Stonehaven Town Hall, Stonehaven
Tue 17 Sep, 7.30pm

Duthac Centre, Tain
Thu 19 Sep, 7.30pm

Macphail Centre, Ullapool
Sat 21 Sep, 7.30pm

An Lanntair, Stornoway
Tues 24 Sep, 7.30pm

Aros Centre, Portree
Thu 26 Sep, 7.30pm

Corran Halls, Oban
Sat 28 Sep, 7.30pm

Volunteer Hall, Galashiels
Tues 1 Oct, 7.30pm

Perth Theatre, Perth
Thu 3 Oct, 7.30pm

Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
Sat 5 Oct, 7.30pm

Thurso High School, Thurso
Tue 8 Oct, 7.30pm

Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall
Thu 10 Oct, 7.30pm

Haddo House, Ellon
Sat 12 Oct, 7.30pm

Ryan Centre, Stranraer
Tues 15, 7.30pm

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
Thu 17 Oct, 7.30pm

The Brunton, Musselburgh
Sat 19 Oct, 7.30pm