Tag Archives: Daniel Keating Roberts

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA’S FOX-TOT! HAS WORLD PREMIERE AT EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE THIS AUGUST

Fox-tot!, a new opera for children aged 12 to 24 months, has its world premiere at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.

This Scottish Opera co-commission with Royal & Derngate, Northampton, is composed by former Scottish Opera Composer in Residence, Lliam Paterson. Last year, his acclaimed ‘opera for babies’, BambinO, had sell-out performances at the Fringe, in Paris and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Fox-tot!  will be performed at Edinburgh Academy from 2 to16 August. It then goes to Royal & Derngate, Northampton, from 27 August to 1 September, and tours around Scotland in Spring 2020.

Directed by Roxana Haines (Edgar 2018) and designed by Giuseppe Belli and Emma Belli (BambinO 2017), the 45-minute show for toddlers is an engaging mix of music and puppetry, performed by mezzo-soprano and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Katie Grosset (The Opera Factory 2018), and countertenor Daniel Keating-Roberts (The 8th Door 2017). They are joined by cellist Laura Sergeant and percussionist Michael D Clark, who both performed in BambinO.

Sung in English, Lliam’s new work takes inspiration from French baroque dances and contemporary opera. It tells the story of a little fox sent on an adventure to explore the world and learn to see through the eyes of other creatures, including a cat, a butterfly and a frog. But, as Mother Vixen guides her cub’s journey, will the little one discover what it takes to become an excellent fox?

Scottish Opera’s Director of Education and Outreach, Jane Davidson, said: ‘Fox-tot! is Scottish Opera’s most recent foray into creating opera for children.

‘Building on their BambinO experiences, our babies are now toddlers; discovering a delicately coloured sound world rooted in French baroque, complete with a trio of creatures ready to flit, paddle and scamper through the forest with them.

‘Through the music and narrative, Fox-tot! aims to stimulate the little ones’ physical and intellectual curiosity in their surroundings as well as instilling the beginnings of empathy, a critical skill which is arguably the most defining of all human qualities.’

Director Roxana Haines said ‘You are invited to join Fox on a journey of transformation, play, and discovery. In this magical world, who Fox will be is up to Fox, and Mother Vixen’s unconditional love is there no matter what. ‘

Composer Lliam Paterson, continued: ‘A little fox sets out on a magical journey, guided by Mother Vixen. Fox-tot! follows our furry hero on an operatic quest, tailor-made for miniature audiences and their carers! ‘

Fox-tot! is supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels & New Commissions Circle. This project is also part of a Royal & Derngate-led consortium inspiring and supporting the creation of new musicals and operas.

Creative Team

 

Composer                   Lliam Paterson

Director                       Roxana Haines

Designers                    Giuseppe Belli & Emma Belli

Puppet designers        Mervyn Millar for Significant Object

 

Cast

 

Mezzo-soprano           Katie Grosset

Countertenor               Daniel Keating-Roberts

Cello                            Laura Sergeant

Percussion                  Michael D Clark

 

Performance Diary

 

Edinburgh Academy

Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

2 to 16 Aug (excl. Mondays)

10am & 11.30am

Tickets on sale now from https://tickets.edfringe.com

 

Royal & Derngate, Northampton

27 Aug, 2pm

28 Aug to 1 Sep, 11am & 2pm

 

Spring 2020

Touring Scotland (more information coming soon)

REVIEW: Scottish Opera Orfeo & Euridice – Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock

Gluck’s innovative, influential and hugely popular Orfeo & Euridice is the latest production from Scottish Opera’s Young Company.

Scottish Opera – Orfeo & Euridice © Julie Broadfoot

Following Gluck’s own lead, (he produced three versions of this work to suit the differing tastes of the audiences it was presented to and the voices singing it: Vienna 1762, Parma 1769 and Paris 1774) the company presents its own English language version for its young cast. Starting with the original Viennese version, it splits the role of Amore into three mischievous Cupids and Amore’s Act 1 aria is re-arranged for trio and chorus. It utilises Euridice’s Act 2 aria from the Paris version but with chorus and Gluck’s famous ballet music features the entire company.

Scottish Opera – Orfeo & Euridice © Julie Broadfoot

This whole production is a treat for both the eyes and the ears. It takes the best of the three versions to present a ‘greatest hits’, audience-pleasing edition. Musically it is simply beautiful and the young singers lead by professionals Daniel Keating-Roberts (Orfeo) and Jessica Leary (Euridice) display immense talent and promise for the future. Keating-Roberts counter-tenor can be an acquired taste, but entirely fitting for the role. Leary is glorious sounding as Euridice.

Scottish Opera – Orfeo & Euridice © Julie Broadfoot

Visually, Finlay McLay’s design, though minimalistic, packs a punch and Roy Herd’s lighting design is simply gorgeous – atmospheric and evocative.

Scottish Opera – Orfeo & Euridice © Julie Broadfoot

At 75 minutes running time, with a familiar subject matter (the myth of Orpheus), beautiful and undemanding music, inventive design and execution, this is an ideal introduction to opera. Not only is it an impeccably staged and delivered production, the Young Company shows hope for the future of opera in Scotland.

REVIEW: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – Woodside Hall, Glasgow

In the atmospheric surroundings of Glasgow’s Woodside Hall, Psycho-like screeching strings from the barefoot orchestra clad in Edwardian garb and flashing strings of fairground lights, transport the audience back to turn of the century and the world of Dr. Caligari.

Taking as its inspiration the 1920 silent movie classic of the same name, Scottish Opera’s Connect company’s The Cabinet of Dr Caligari moves back in time to 1901 and resets the action to Glasgow instead of Germany.

Francis takes his girlfriend Jane and her best friend Ellen to the fair at Glasgow Green, among the fortune tellers and snake oil salesmen, in his Cabinet of Fate, Dr Gallagher presents a somnambulist, Cesare who can predict the future while in his sleeping state. When Cesare’s prophecy that Ellen will die that very night comes true, and Francis comes under suspicion for the murder, he and Jane begin to investigate with devastating consequences.

Under Julie Brown’s sure-footed direction, and enhanced by Lisa Sangster’s set and Kate Bonney’s lighting design, a comprehensive cast of characters colour the stage in Karen MacIver and Allan Dunn’s atmospheric and melodic work. The music and libretto are compelling throughout and its short running time (around 75 minutes) ensures that the audience is gripped from start to finish.

Despite the small size of the performance venue there are issues with projection from the young company who are often overwhelmed by the fine-sounding orchestra and dialogue is lost in several places, however, in the cast of 32 there are some stand-out performances which bode well for the future of opera in Scotland. Previous Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Andrew McTaggart and Sarah Power’s experience clearly shows, both delivering strong vocal performances as Caligari/Gallagher and Jane, the female chorus too are beautifully harmonious. Young tenor Glen Cunningham shows promise but needs to work on projecting his melodious voice and as Cesare, Daniel Keating Roberts provides novelty with his countertenor voice, but is somewhat lacking in his delivery.

Scottish Opera’s Connect programme provides the only opportunity for young Scottish musicians aged 14-21 to explore the world of opera and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is the third world premier in eight years for Connect. The company’s commitment to innovation and the creation of new work must be applauded and if future works are of as high quality and as engaging and entertaining as Caligari then the future of opera in Scotland looks bright.