Tag Archives: Mozart

REVIEW: The Marriage of Figaro – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

What do you do with a work that is almost universally adored? Leave well alone is always the sensible answer and Sir Thomas Allen brings his traditional, no-nonsense 2010 production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro to the stage again for Scottish Opera.

Anna Devin and Ben McAteer as Susanna and Figaro

Anna Devin and Ben McAteer as Susanna and Figaro

If this were a beauty contest, then Simon Higlett’s 18th Century, pastel-hued, chocolate box design and Mark Jonathan’s atmospheric lighting would together make it a hands-down winner, however, looks alone don’t make for a successful production. At three hours fifteen minutes, the audience needs more than a pretty set to occupy it.

Hanna Hipp as Cherubino, Eleanor Dennis as Countess Almaviva and Anna Devin as Susanna

Hanna Hipp as Cherubino, Eleanor Dennis as Countess Almaviva and Anna Devin as Susanna

While there are more than a few standout moments there are as many lulls. The comedy largely falls flat, except when the laughs are wrung out of the audience through some broad comic acting and some of the directorial/design choices lend little to the storytelling – why, for example, was the Countess’ closet door (pivotal to the plot) hidden from sight?

Eleanor Dennis as Countess Almaviva

Eleanor Dennis as Countess Almaviva

That said there are notable highlights, Eleanor Dennis’ Countess is beautifully measured, both vocally and in dramatic delivery, Hanna Hipp, no stranger to trouser roles, is utterly convincing as randy youth Cherubino, as is Lucy Hall as the lively Barbarina. The usually reliable Ben McAteer is vocally sound as Figaro but a trifle lacklustre and Samuel Dale Johnson (Count Almaviva), while setting hearts a-flutter with his good looks, needs time for his voice to mature to fully fulfil this role. Conducted with vigour (at times, too much vigour) by Tobias Ringborg, the orchestra is in fine form throughout.

A solid, sound production, beautiful to look at with some glorious moments but not without its faults.

Runs until 22 October at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow then touring.

Details and ticket information here.

Images: Bill Cooper

REVIEW: The Sunday Series Concerts – Mozart and Strauss with Kate Royal

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.