Tag Archives: Bethan Langford

REVIEW: Scottish Opera Kátya Kabanová – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The shining star of Scottish Opera’s current season is undoubtedly Stephen Lawless’ gorgeous looking and sounding version of Leoš Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová. One of the four late operas by the composer that are universally acknowledged as his greatest works, it has been given something of a Scandi-noir look by designer Leslie Travers and lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, for this co-production with Theater Magdeburg. Based on Alexander Ostrovsky’s play The Storm, and originally set in the 1860s in the small industrial town of Kalinov on the banks of the Volga river, the action has been advanced over a hundred years to the dark days of the Soviet era. 

Sweet and loyal Kátya is seemingly happily married to Tikhon but unrelentingly bullied by his over-possessive, domineering mother Kabanicha. When Tikhon is ordered away on business by his mother, the oppressed and isolated Kátya is tempted into the arms of another. Inherently loyal and utterly remorseful of her actions, she cannot come to terms with what she has done. In the closed-minded town she is subjected not only the whispers of the townsfolk, but the whispers in her own head. Kátya decisively takes action to calm the storm inside.

The orchestra of Scottish Opera are on lively form, at times so lively that it takes a strong singer to stand up to their vigour: some are more successful than others. Laura Wilde is a soft and timid Kátya with a crystal clear soprano, however, there are points where she, like others is overwhelmed by the pit. American tenor Ric Furman as her insipid lover Boris, is almost inaudible for much of the production, and as her Mrs. Danvers-like mother-in-law-from-hell, Patricia Bardon is in fine voice, but strays into pantomime territory as the arch villain. Much more successful are lovers Varvara (Hanna Hipp) and Vanya (Trystan Llŷr Griffiths) who provide a lively foil to the darker goings on.

This is a production that transcends its faults, darkly atmospheric, beautifully designed and with a lyrical yet highly dramatic score that is an absolute treat for the ears, it is a shining jewel in Scottish Opera’s current season.

Touring to Edinburgh 21 and 23 March 2019

Image: James Glossop

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA REVIVES SIR THOMAS ALLEN’S PRODUCTION OF MOZART’S THE MAGIC FLUTE

Sir Thomas Allen’s five-star production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute returns to Scottish Opera in May, set in a spectacular world inspired by the Victorian futurism of HG Wells and Jules Verne.

Mozart’s most inventive opera, featuring a handsome prince, a damsel in distress, sorcerers, priests and a bumbling bird-catcher, opens at Theatre Royal Glasgow on Saturday 4 May, and tours to Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London and Belfast. With set and costume design by Simon Higlett, this production takes inspiration from the city of Glasgow at the height of its industrial powers, drawing on the aesthetics and ideas of the Enlightenment, particularly the work of the Hunter family and the huge scientific collections of The Hunterian Museum.

Conductor Tobias Ringborg (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) is joined by Peter Gijsbertsen (La traviata 2017) as Tamino and Gemma Summerfield, First Prize winner at the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, as Pamina. Richard Burkhard is Papageno, the role he created in the original production in 2012; Julia Sitkovetsky is Queen of the Night; James Creswell is Sarastro and Adrian Thompson is Monostatos. Scottish Opera Emerging Artist, Sofia Troncoso (Opera Highlights 2018), sings the role of Papagena.

Sir Thomas Allen said: ‘Our production of The Magic Flute, first created in 2012, makes its return to the stage and to theatres around Scotland. I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the rehearsal period and to the performances that follow. There are many changes from our original cast, but one welcome return will be that of Richard Burkhard in the role of Papageno. He brought to the part a really brilliant personal way of playing, just as one would hope for Papageno, and our collaboration was, apart from all else, a lot of fun.

‘As for what you will see, well, if you are familiar with Glasgow and the richness of its constituent parts, then you will recognise all of the references in this show. It is a tribute by designer Simon Higlett and myself to a great Scottish city.’

There will be two Dementia Friendly performances of The Magic Flute, in Glasgow and Edinburgh. These specially abridged performances are carefully designed to make the theatrical experience more accessible to people living with dementia. Sound and lighting levels are adjusted for the comfort of the audience, and the cast is joined on stage by a narrator. Audiences will also be able to go in and out of the auditorium during the performance and see the show in the foyer areas on TV screens. Scottish Opera staged the UK’s first Dementia Friendly opera performance in November 2016, with The Marriage of Figaro at Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend The Magic Flute Unwrapped, one-hour tasters delving further into the show, as well as Pre-show Talks. Audience members with visual impairments can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music.

Cast List

Tamino                                                            Peter Gijsbertsen & William Morgan (14, 18 May, 13,15 June)

Pamina                                                            Gemma Summerfield

Papageno                                                        Richard Burkhard & James Cleverton (20, 22, 27, 29 June)

The Queen of the Night                                  Julia Sitkovetsky

Sarastro                                                             James Creswell & Dingle Yandell (1, 5, 20, 22, 27, 29 June)

Monostatos                                                     Adrian Thompson

Papagena                                                        Sofia Troncoso*

First Lady                                                      Jeni Bern

Second Lady                                                  Bethan Langford*

Third Lady                                                     Sioned Gwen Davies

*Scottish Opera Emerging Artist

Creative Team

Conductors                                                     Tobias Ringborg & Derek Clark (13,15 June)  

Director                                                            Sir Thomas Allen

Set and Costume Designer                                Simon Higlett

Lighting Designer                                            Mark Jonathan

Movement Director                                           Kally Lloyd-Jones

Translation                                         Kit Hesketh-Harvey

Performance Diary

Theatre Royal Glasgow, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA

Sat 4 May, 7.15pm

Wed 8 May, 7.15pm

Fri 10 May, 7.15pm

Sun 12 May, 3pm

Tue 14 May, 7.15pm

Thu 16 May, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sat 18 May, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Thu 9 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 18 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sun 12 May, 1.45pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sun 12 May, 3pm

 

Eden Court, Inverness

Tue 21 May, 7.15pm

Thu 23 May, 7.15pm

Sat 25 May, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Fri 24 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 25 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sat 25 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sat 25 May, 7.15pm

 

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

Thu 30 May, 7.15pm

Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Fri 31 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 1 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sat 1 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm

 

Festival Theatre, 13–29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Wed 5 Jun, 7.15pm

Fri 7 Jun, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sun 9 Jun, 3pm

Tue 11 Jun, 7.15pm

Thu 13 Jun, 7.15pm

Sat 15 Jun, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Thu 6 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 15 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sun 9 Jun, 1.45pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sun 9 Jun, 3pm

 

Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London, E8 1EJ

Thu 20 Jun, 7.30pm

Sat 22 Jun, 7.30pm

 

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 22 Jun, 6pm

 

Belfast Grand Opera House, 2-4 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7HR

Thu 27 Jun, 7.15pm

Sat 29 Jun, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Fri 28 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 29 Jun, 6pm

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA WELCOMES SEVEN EMERGING ARTISTS FOR 2018/19 SEASON

Scottish Opera has welcomed a talented new group of Emerging Artists for the 2018/19 Season: Lucy Anderson, Samuel Bordoli, Erika Gundesen, Alexey Gusev, Marie Hansen, Bethan Langford, and Sofia Troncoso.

The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme 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 and a composer in residence.

Scottish soprano Lucy Anderson, the Robertson Trust Emerging Artist, completed the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama following undergraduate study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Lucy has received the Frances Collins Award, a Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarship, a Mary Gillespie Award, the Mary D. Adams Scholarship and the Norma Greig French Song Prize. She is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and represented the Guildhall School in the 2018 Bruce Millar Gulliver Prize. Solo concert highlights include Scenes from Goethe’s Faust with the LSO, a recital of songs by Strauss in Barbican Hall and a performance of works by Tchaikovsky for the BBC SO’s Beloved Friend: Tchaikovsky Project. This season with Scottish Opera, Lucy takes on the role of Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, goes on the road with Opera Highlights next spring and covers the role of First Lady in The Magic Flute.

Samuel Bordoli returns for a second year as Composer in Residence. During his first year he composed four new pieces; ‘Wings’ and three interludes for the Autumn and Spring Opera Highlights tours. He also composed Grace Notes based on the final pages of Bernard MacLaverty’s novel of the same name, as a companion piece to Scottish Opera’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos. With a libretto by MacLaverty himself, Grace Notes was performed in the Upper Circle Foyer of Theatre Royal Glasgow before each performance of Ariadne auf Naxos in March 2018. For his work at Scottish Opera, Samuel was nominated for the ‘One to Watch’ Award at the 2018 Sunday Herald Culture Awards.

Samuel began composing and conducting at an early age, with his first orchestral work performed at the Bedford Corn Exchange when he was aged sixteen. Samuel held the Mendelssohn Scholarship and the Manson Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music and was mentored by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for nine years after studying with him at Dartington International Summer School. He gained a BMus (Hons) at Birmingham Conservatoire. BBC Radio 3, BBC World Service and ITV News have broadcast his work and Samuel was the first composer to create site-specific compositions for Monument and Tower Bridge in London when his Live Music Sculptures were featured in the City of London Festival in 2012. Other collaborations include creating an opera performed on the Caledonian sleeper train between London and Aberdeen with Tête à Tête and Sound Scotland. Samuel’s anthem The Great Silence, commemorating choristers who lost their lives in the First World War, premiered at Windsor Festival in a concert celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday. Samuel was awarded an ARAM by the Royal Academy of Music in 2018. This Season, Samuel has composed a new overture to be performed during the opening season of the Music Hall in Aberdeen, which is soon to reopen following a multi-million-pound transformation, as well as new works for the Autumn Opera Highlights tour exploring the power of opera.

Erika Gundesen is the 2018/19 Emerging Artist Repetiteur and will work on Rigoletto, Kátya Kabanová, Anthropocene and The Magic Flute. She studied as a soloist and repetiteur at the University of British Columbia, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and the National Opera Studio in London. Erika has worked as a pianist, conductor and music director for opera and theatre productions in London, with a particular passion for contemporary repertoire. She has worked as a music director for Vivo d’Arte, London Theatre Workshop and Geoids Musical Theatre, and has been a guest artist for Opera Loki, Pint of Wine Productions and the Southbank Centre.

Baritone Alexey Gusev returns as an Emerging Artist to Scottish Opera for the 2018/19 Season. He is from Rostov-on-Don in Russia and graduated from the Rostov State Conservatoire with a degree in Voice, Opera and Concert Singing. He joined the Rostov State Opera and Ballet Theatre as principal baritone, where he remained for seven years. In 2013-14, Alexey sang principal roles for the Astrakhan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet before taking up a scholarship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and made his debut in Scotland as Napoleon and Andrey Bolkonsky in Prokofiev’s War and Peace. Alexey is a winner of the International Rachmaninov Competition for Opera Singers, the All-Russian Opera Competition in Moscow and the Clonter Opera Prize 2017. In the 2017/18 Season, Alexey performed in productions of Ariadne auf Naxos and Eugene Onegin, a concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and was one of the Autumn 2017 Opera Highlights cast members. This Season at Scottish Opera he will perform the roles of Marullo in Rigoletto and Kuligin in Kátya Kabanová.

Elizabeth Salvesen Costume Trainee, Marie Hansen, studied for a Master of Science in Sociology at Copenhagen University before relocating to Scotland and re-engaging in her lifelong interest in making clothes by taking evening classes in pattern cutting at Glasgow Clyde College. She then realised her skills lay in the craft of constructing garments and decided to make a career change and complete an HND in Fashion Technology at Glasgow Clyde College. While at GCC Marie had the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement at Scottish Opera and became determined to pursue a career in this field. With a passion for theatrical costume, Marie will work on Scottish Opera’s Season 2018/19 productions in the Costume Department, headed by John Liddell.

British mezzo-soprano, Bethan Langford, is a 2018 graduate of the National Opera Studio and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Highlights so far have included her debut as Dorabella in Così fan tutte for Bury Court Opera; Second Angel in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin with the Melos Sinfonia at LSO St Lukes and on tour at The Mariinsky Theatre; Third Maid Elektra under Esa-Pekka Salonen for Verbier Festival Academy, and the title role in The Rape of Lucretia at Grimeborn. A keen recitalist, Bethan has performed at many leading concert venues and festivals across the UK including the Wigmore Hall, Oxford Lieder Festival, Aldeburgh Festival and Heidelberger Fruhling Festival. She is a proud past recipient of the Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Award for visually impaired musicians from the RNIB, as well as being a Samling Artist and Les Azuriales Young Artist. This Season, Bethan will perform the roles of Giovanna in Rigoletto, Glasha in Kátya Kabanová and 2nd Lady in The Magic Flute, and cover Daisy in Anthropocene.

Sofia Troncoso is an American soprano of South American heritage. A 2017/2018 Young Artist at the National Opera Studio, London, she studied previously at the Royal Academy of Music and Northwestern University, Chicago. She won the 2017 Karaviotis Prize and the Audience Prize at Les Azuriales Opera. Recent engagements include performances with Diva Opera, Longborough Opera Festival, Hampstead Garden Opera and Grimeborn. Sofia is also an accomplished recital and concert singer, showcasing music in an array of languages and styles. Notable performances include the 2018 New Year Concert with the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra. In the 2015/16 Season, Sophia was in the Scottish Opera chorus for The Mikado. This Season at Scottish Opera, Sofia will perform on the Autumn Opera Highlights tour, Papagena in The Magic Flute and cover Professor Prentice in Anthropocene.

The Emerging Artist singers and repetiteur will perform in three recitals; at the University of St Andrews in November, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in December and the University of Glasgow in January.

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

 

Performance Diary

 

Wed 28 November, 1pm

St Andrews University

 

Fri 7 December, 1pm

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

 

Thu 10 January, 1.10pm

University of Glasgow

IMAGE: JAMES GLOSSOP