English soprano Kate Royal is something of a catch for Scottish Opera’s Sunday Series of concerts, and this, the last of the recently introduced series, is the jewel in the crown.
Curated by new director of music, Stuart Stratford, the orchestra are elevated from the pit to the stage and encased in an ‘acoustic shell’ which enables concert performances. While not fully convinced of its efficacy (it may be my imagination but the orchestra sound louder and more full-bodied when in the depths below the stage), the concert, a mixture of orchestral and vocal pieces, as a whole is a delightfully unstuffy introduction to classical music.
Royal is an internationally renowned artist and is beautiful sounding when tackling the Mozart selection, but it is the Strauss songs that are really glorious. However it must be said that her diction suffered in favour of emotion at times.
The 4pm time slot makes for a less rigid atmosphere and the programme of beautifully curated music makes for a relaxed afternoon’s entertainment. Hopefully in future we will see more of these quality concerts and attract a much-needed new audience for classical music.