Tag Archives: Scottish Opera

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Scottish Opera presents Janáček’s intense drama Kátya Kabanová in Glasgow

In March, Scottish Opera presents Leos Janáček’s intense drama Kátya Kabanová in a new co-production with Theater Magdeburg, directed by the renowned British director Stephen Lawless and conducted by Stuart Stratford.

Following the recent success of Czech operas on the Scottish Opera stage with Janáček’s Jenůfa (2015) and Dvořák’s Rusalka (2016), Kátya Kabanová opens in Glasgow on March 12 and transfers to Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

Set in a small, industrial community in Russia, Kátya Kabanová is torn between her duties as a wife, and her dreams of a man who truly loves her. Trapped within an oppressive community, neglected by her husband and tormented by her mother-in-law, she is drawn towards escape, to nature and to the ever-present Volga river.

Soprano Laura Wilde makes her Scottish Opera debut in the title role, following her critically acclaimed European debut as Jenůfa in 2016 with English National Opera. Ric Furman also makes his Company debut as Boris Grigoyevich alongside Samuel Sakker as Tikhon Kabanov. Patricia Bardon returns to Scottish Opera for the first time in almost 20 years to sing Kabanicha. Scottish bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott sings Dikoy. Former Jette Parker Young Artist Hanna Hipp (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) joins the cast as Varvara and Trystan Llŷr Griffiths (Cosi fan tutte 2015) sings the role of Kudrjash. Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Alexey Gusev (Rigoletto 2018) and Bethan Langford (Rigoletto 2018) join the cast as Kuligin and Glasha.

Joining Stuart Stratford and Stephen Lawless on the creative team are award-winning Set and Costume Designer Leslie Travers and Tony award-winning Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind.

Stephen Lawless said: ‘Kátya Kabanová is one of the greatest twentieth century operas. Janáček writes consummate parts for women and the role of Kátya is arguably his best. Our compassion for her predicament draws from music of soaring intensity and heart-stopping lyricism. Scottish Opera has assembled a world class cast that will bring all their expertise to this tale of love, guilt, retribution and transcendence.’

Stuart Stratford said: ‘Janáček is one of the most concentrated of composers. Not a phrase or line is ever unnecessary. He has immense lyricism, which is always fighting for breath with a rigid and often brutal rhythmic underlay. This gives the music a real sense of dynamic tension which suits the subject matter perfectly.’

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend Kátya Kabanová 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

 

Kátya Kabanová                                             Laura Wilde

Kabanicha                                                     Patricia Bardon

Boris Grigoyevich                                           Ric Furman

Tikhon Kabanov                                             Samuel Sakker

Dikoy                                                            Brian Bannatyne-Scott

Varvara                                                          Hanna Hipp

Vanya Kudrjash                                              Tristan Llŷr Griffiths

Kuligin                                                           Alexey Gusev*

Feklusha                                                       Karen Murray

Glasha                                                          Bethan Langford*

Zena                                                             Christine Sjolander

A Man                                                           Declan McCusker

 

*Scottish Opera Emerging Artist

 

Creative Team

 

Conductor                                                       Stuart Stratford

Director                                                           Stephen Lawless

Set and Costume Designer                                Leslie Travers

Lighting Designer                                             Christopher Akerlind

Movement Director                                            Lynne Hockney

 

Performance Diary

 

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

Tue 12 Mar, 7.15pm

Thu 14 Mar, 7.15pm

Sat 16 Mar, 7.15pm

 

Kátya Kabanová Unwrapped
Wed 13 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Pre-show talk

Sat 16 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Touch Tour

Sat 16 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Audio-described performance

Sat 16 Mar, 7.15pm

 

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

Thur 21 Mar, 7.15pm

Sat 23 Mar, 7.15pm

 

Kátya Kabanová Unwrapped

Fri 22 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Pre-show talk

Sat 23 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Touch Tour

Sat 23 Mar, 6pm

Kátya Kabanová Audio-described performance

Sat 23 Mar, 7.15pm

NEWS: OPERA HIGHLIGHTS TOURS TO 18 LOCATIONS ACROSS SCOTLAND IN SPRING 2019

Hitting the road on the 5 February, Scottish Opera’s much-loved Opera Highlights sets off once more around Scotland with a brand-new show. Four singers and a pianist journey to 18 venues across Scotland from Ayrshire to the Western Isles.

Opening in East Kilbride, the Opera Highlights performers will go on to visit Strathmiglo, Cumbernauld, Ardfern, Barra, Benbecula, Tarbert Isle of Harris, Gairloch, Ardross, Duns, Blairgowrie, Maybole, Durness, Boat of Garten, Aboyne, Whiting Bay and Dunblane, before bringing the tour to a close in Paisley on 16 March.

Sara Brodie directs a programme of works by composers from across the centuries, from Handel and Gluck, to Mozart, Verdi, Britten and Bernstein, carefully curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark. Scottish Opera Emerging Artist 2018/19 soprano Lucy Anderson, who sang the role of Countess Ceprano in the Company’s 2018 revival of Rigoletto; mezzo-soprano Heather Ireson; tenor Tom Smith and baritone Harry Thatcher join Music Director/Pianist Elizabeth Rowe to bring to life some of opera’s best-known arias alongside hidden gems and forgotten favourites.

Director Sara Brodie said: ‘Opera Highlights 2019 offers a dazzling array of operatic hits from Wagner to Gilbert and Sullivan. We promise an evening of frivolities, folly and flirtation as our singers take you to the depths of the underworld, Paris at dawn, a Viennese masked ball and a tryst by the Thames. Four erstwhile travellers journey the seas of love and back again, in scenes of picaresque torment and delight, to warm your hearts on a chilly night.’

Scottish Opera General Director, Alex Reedijk, said: ‘Following the tremendous success of our 17-date Autumn Opera Highlights tour, we are greatly looking forward to visiting 18 smaller and rural venues in the Spring. This new, pint-sized production is a celebration of opera and the accomplished creative team will no doubt bring out the best in this talented cast, as they journey around Scotland from Barra to Boat of Garten.’

This tour is supported by The Friends of Scottish Opera, the JTH Charitable Trust and the Scottish Opera Endowment Trust.

Village Theatre, East Kilbride

Tue 5 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Strathmiglo Village Hall, Strathmiglo

Thu 7 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Cumbernauld Theatre, Cumbernauld

Sat 9 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Craignish Village Hall, Ardfern

Tue 12 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Northbay Hall, Barra

Thu 14 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Liniclate School, Benbecula

Sat 16 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Tarbert Village Hall, Harris

Tue 19 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Gairloch Community Hall, Gairloch

Thu 21 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Ardross Community Hall, Ardross

Sat 23 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Volunteer Hall, Duns

Tue 26 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Blairgowrie Town Hall, Blairgowrie

Thu 28 Feb, 7.30pm

 

Maybole Town Hall, Maybole

Sat 2 Mar, 7.30pm

 

Durness Village Hall, Durness

Tue 5 Mar, 7.30pm

 

Boat of Garten Community Hall, Boat of Garten

Thu 7 Mar, 7.30pm

 

Deeside Theatre, Aboyne

Sat 9 Mar, 7.30pm

 

Whiting Bay Village Hall, Isle of Arran

Tue 12 Mar, 7.30pm

 

Victoria Hall, Dunblane

Thu 14 Mar, 7.30pm

 

The Wynd Auditorium at The Spires, Paisley
Sat 16 Mar, 7.30pm

 

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA’S NEW PRIMARY SCHOOLS SHOW 1719! COMMEMORATES THE JACOBITE RISINGS

In the Spring and Summer of 2019, thousands of primary five, six and seven school pupils will rehearse and perform an opera about one of the most dramatic periods in Scottish history: the Jacobite risings.

Entitled 1719!, the opera has been composed by David Munro, revised and re-orchestrated by Alan Penman with words by Allan Dunn. Pupils learn the words and songs in their classrooms with teaching materials prepared by Scottish Opera’s Education and Outreach department and then work with a team from the Company to prepare for a performance in front of classmates, friends and family.

Scottish Opera’s Primary Schools Tour hits the road on 14 January in Mosshead Primary, Bearsden and will visit 50 schools around Scotland including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth and Kinross and the Highlands, until March. It continues on 16 April, touring to schools in areas including Aberdeen, the Borders, the Western Isles, Shetland and Dumfries and Galloway.

1719! travels back to a key moment in Scottish history to tell the story of the Jacobite Scots locked in a desperate struggle to restore the House of Stuart to the throne of Great Britain, while the Hanoverian King George argued with other European rulers over the lands and riches of the New World. King Philip of Spain sent troops and money to help the Jacobites in an attempt to distract the British government from this dispute. Pupils will go back in time 300 years when the Jacobites and their Spanish allies gathered in Glen Shiel for battle with King George’s forces, in what was the last close engagement of British and European troops on British soil.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson said: ‘An amazing way to learn about one of the most dramatic and exciting periods in Scottish history, 1719! features more battles than Braveheart and is a thrilling adventure that pits the Jacobite troops and their Spanish allies against the forces of King George’s government in the mountains surrounding Glen Shiel. Although not the most famous of engagement in the Jacobite Wars, it had far reaching significance for Britain’s role in Europe and 300 years later, is still recalled in the name Sgurr nan Spainteach (The Peak of the Spaniards) in recognition of the Spanish troops who fought there.’

1719! is supported by The Cruden Foundation, New Park Educational Trust, The Forteviot Charitable Trust, Scottish Opera’s Education Angels and a number of other generous funders.

More details about 1719! are available from www.scottishopera.org.uk/join-in/opera-for-schools/

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA CELEBRATES CENTENARY OF THE RAF WITH UNIQUE PROJECT FROM THE MUD TO THE STARS

Scottish Opera is celebrating 100 years of the Royal Air Force with a unique project called From the Mud to the Stars.

The project launched in October 2017 and since then a team from Scottish Opera, including former Emerging Artist Andrew McTaggart, has been working with school pupils, students, and former and serving RAF personnel to gather thoughts and impressions of the past, present and future of the Royal Air Force.

Over 250 people in communities all over Scotland, ranging in age from five to 103 who have special connections to the RAF, have participated in a range of From the Mud to the Stars workshops involving singing, song writing, visual arts and creative writing.

From the Mud to the Stars learning resources are now available on Scottish Opera’s website and are free to anyone wishing to learn more about the RAF. These include short films, music, art and design and literacy activities specially created by Scottish Opera and designed to meet specific Curriculum for Excellence outcomes. These songs, poetry, prose and visual images reflect the memories and experiences of those connected to the RAF, from the mud of the trenches to the advanced technology of 21st century flight.

The eight short films entitled ‘RAF Lives’ feature people from different generations, all of whom have or have had, a connection to the Royal Air Force, covering topics including bringing up a family, career paths and the experience of fighting during World War II.

Matthew Brown has composed the project’s theme tune entitled From the Mud to the Stars (loosely based on the RAF motto ‘Per Ardua Ad Astra’, meaning ‘Through adversity to the stars’) with lyrics by Ross Stenhouse. Another original piece of music entitled Silver Wings inspires participants to write their own short dramas. Other activities in the project include designing RAF recruitment posters, writing a play with an aeronautical theme and creating a wall frieze that celebrates the rich variety of aeroplanes flown by the RAF. There is also a book, film and television bibliography for those wishing to explore the RAF’s history further.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education Jane Davidson said: ‘This project is Scottish Opera’s response to a call from the Scottish Government for creative interpretations of the commemoration of World War I as part of the 14-18 NOW campaign. As our project was scheduled to complete in 2018, we decided to focus on the Royal Air Force, which was also commemorating its centenary in the same year.

‘Given that we wanted to pay homage to the fact that the earliest use of air power in World War I was for the purposes of reconnaissance, when pilots flew high over trenches filled with poor infantry soldiers mired deep in the mud, we felt that incorporating both mud and stars in the name aptly reflected aspects of both the old and new types of warfare.

‘As the RAF100 strapline says, the campaign has been designed to ‘commemorate, celebrate and inspire’ and we hope that From the Mud to the Stars will do the same.’

In October, Andrew McTaggart, members of the Scottish Opera Young Company and pupils from Dunblane’s Queen Victoria School and Glasgow’s Jordanhill School performed at the RAF in Concert performance at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. It formed part of a series of events staged around the UK to commemorate and celebrate the Royal Air Force, and the performers sang a medley which included ‘From the Mud to the Stars’ and ‘Good Old RAF’.

For more details about From the Mud to the Stars, visit www.scottishopera.org.uk/join-in/from-the-mud-to-the-stars

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA PRESENTS WORLD PREMIERE OF ANTHROPOCENE BY STUART MACRAE AND LOUISE WELSH

The world premiere of Anthropocene, a gripping new work commissioned by Scottish Opera from composer Stuart MacRae and librettist Louise Welsh, takes place on January 24 at Theatre Royal Glasgow. It then tours to King’s Theatre, Edinburgh and London’s Hackney Empire.

Telling the story of an expeditionary team of scientists who become trapped in the frozen Arctic wastelands, Anthropocene is directed by Matthew Richardson (Rigoletto 2018) and designed by Samal Blak, the award-winning team behind MacRae and Welsh’s five-star opera The Devil Inside (2016).

© Julie Broadfoot – http://www.juliebee.co.uk

Conducted by Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford, the superb ensemble cast includes former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Jennifer France (Ariadne auf Naxos 2018), Scottish soprano Jeni Bern and Stephen Gadd (Rigoletto 2018.) They are joined by Benedict Nelson (The Burning Fiery Furnace 2018), Mark Le Brocq, Paul Whelan, Anthony Gregory and Laura Zigmantaite (Ariadne auf Naxos 2018), a former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist.

Anthropocene is the fourth collaboration between MacRae and Welsh, a fruitful partnership initially born of the 15-minute opera Remembrance Day in 2009. The composer-librettist team went on to create Ghost Patrol in 2012, which won a South Bank Sky Arts Award and was nominated for an Olivier Award, and 2016’s The Devil Inside, based on a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Inverness-born MacRae’s work has been performed at the Royal Opera House and Edinburgh International Festival, and by ensembles including Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Hebrides Ensemble. He is currently Composer in Association at Lammermuir Festival.

A Professor of Creative Writing at University of Glasgow, Welsh is the author of a number of popular novels including award-winning The Cutting Room and Plague Times Trilogy.

Composer Stuart MacRae said: ‘The triumph of human self-interest over nature and over other humans: this is the essence of the Anthropocene age. It is also the cause of man-made climate change, countless environmental catastrophes and the exploitation of marginalised peoples by wealthy nations and individuals. When faced with extreme isolation, a loss of control over their destiny, and personal catastrophe, the appearance of a mysterious outsider poses an impossible dilemma for the crew of the Anthropocene, and becomes the focus of temptation, sympathy, ambition, empathy and fascination.

‘It’s been a joy to work on Anthropocene with librettist Louise Welsh, who brings such depth, colour and variety to this original story, and I’m delighted that it will be brought to the stage by our hugely imaginative long-term collaborators, Matthew Richardson and Samal Blak, and conducted by Stuart Stratford.’

Librettist Louise Welsh said: ‘Anthropocene is one of the most exciting projects I have been involved with. This is my fourth opera with Stuart MacRae for Scottish Opera and it is an honour to write words which I know he will set to a unique palette of music.

‘The themes of Anthropocene are both perennial and up-to-the-minute. Human beings have always striven to conquer distant and hostile territories. The twenty-first century has opened the field to rich amateurs who might previously have stayed at home and charted on maps the progress of expeditions they had funded. Anthropocene is a story of over-wielding ambition, murder, human sacrifice and thwarted love. It is also an exploration of the tensions between magic and science.’

Stuart Stratford, Scottish Opera Music Director said: ‘Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh have yet again delivered an amazing piece of music theatre for Scottish Opera. An incredibly imaginative story of discovery, betrayal and violent sacrifice with daring and dazzling virtuoso orchestral textures, Anthropocene will keep the audience gripped throughout.’

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend Pre-show Talks, and audience members with a visual impairment can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music.

Anthropocene is supported by John S. Cohen Foundation, RVW Trust and Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle.

 

Cast List

Ice                                                                             Jennifer France

Professor Prentice                                              Jeni Bern 

Charles                                                                    Stephen Gadd

Miles                                                                        Benedict Nelson

Harry King                                                               Mark Le Brocq

Captain Ross                                                          Paul Whelan

Vasco                                                                         Anthony Gregory

Daisy                                                                          Laura Zigmantaite

 

Creative Team

 

Conductor                                                              Stuart Stratford

Director                                                                   Matthew Richardson

Set and Costume Designer                              Samal Blak 

Lighting Designer                                                 Matthew Richardson 

Movement Director                                             Kally Lloyd-Jones

Associate Lighting Director                                Zoe Spurr

 

Performance Diary

 

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

Thu 24 Jan, 7.15pm

Sat 26 Jan, 7.15pm

 

Pre-show Talk                                             Sat 26 Jan, 6pm

Touch Tour                                                    Sat 26 Jan, 6pm

Audio-described performance            Sat 26 Jan, 7.15pm

 

King’s Theatre Edinburgh, 2 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LQ

Thu 31 Jan, 7.15pm

Sat 2 Feb, 7.15pm

 

Pre-show Talk                                             Sat 2 Feb, 6pm

Touch Tour                                                    Sat 2 Feb, 6pm

Audio-described performance            Sat 2 Feb, 7.15pm

 

Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London, E81 1EJ

Thu 7 Feb, 7.30pm

Sat 9 Feb, 7.30pm

London performances are presented in association with The Royal Opera

IMAGE: Julie Broadfoot

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

REVIEW: Opera Highlights (Scottish Opera) – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Four singers, one piano, seventeen venues, Scottish Opera’s much-anticipated Opera Highlights returns (yippee!) and as always, it never fails to delight.

Director Daisy Evans has framed this year’s production as an electronically created playlist of opera gems. An “on-stage opera newbie” goes on an “emotional musical voyage” discovering, via Spotify and Google via Alexa, just how music has the power to move. Evans is a director to watch, and her staging undoubtedly adds greatly to the enjoyment of the evening. It’s funny, clever, accessible, inclusive, all the things that good theatre of any genre should be. It also looks great. A neon door and window and a few wooden crates serve as the only stage dressing, but coupled with the brightly coloured suited, booted and co-ordinating nail-varnished cast, it works brilliantly.

Freed from the constraints of remaining in a single character, the singers’ personalities are given the chance to shine in a variety of roles, and the warmth just radiates from the quartet. The acoustics in this small auditorium are as close to ideal as it is possible to get in a theatre and the voices give goose bumps. Soprano Sofia Troncoso, Mezzo Sarah Champion, Tenor Richard Pinkstone, Baritone Dawid Kimberg are exceptional as is pianist Jonathon Swinard.

The programme, designed by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark, delivers something for everyone. The range of composers, styles and moods, genuinely runs the gamut of human emotion.

Scottish Opera’s annual ‘Highlights’ tour, and indeed the whole of the company’s programming, is a model for how a national company should operate. A hands-down, five star, exemplary evening of entertainment.

Currently on tour to: Ayr, Drumnadrochit, Wick, Forres, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Lanark, Helensburgh, Dundee, Inverurie, Laurencekirk, Perth, Dumfries, Musselburgh and St. Andrews.

More information at Scottish Opera

 

 

 

 

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA ANNOUNCES 2018/19 SEASON

Scottish Opera has unveiled its 2018/19 Season which includes a world premiere, two new productions (one a co-production with Germany’s Theater Magdeburg), two revivals, a new production of Orfeo & Euridice by Scottish Opera Young Company, two Scottish premieres in the Opera in Concert series and appearances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Lammermuir Festival, as well as in Paris, London and New York.

A truly international line-up of singers appears throughout the Season. Making their debuts with the Company are Aris Argiris, Lina Johnson, Adam Smith, David Shipley, Laura Wilde, Ric Furman, Gemma Summerfield, Julia Sitkovetsky, Ronald Samm, Anna Patalong and Emma Bell. There are welcome return visits from Stephen Gadd, Jeni Bern, Hanna Hipp, Patricia Bardon, Peter Gijsbertsen, Richard Burkhard, Robert Hayward, Samuel Dale Johnson, Alasdair Elliot, Peter Auty, Justina Gringyte, Claire Rutter and David Stout.  Emerging Artists Alexey Gusev, Sofia Troncoso and Lucy Anderson and former Emerging Artists Jennifer France, Sioned Gwen Davies and Laura Zigmantaite also perform.

Alex Reedijk, General Director, said: ‘This Season, we are delighted to present full-scale productions of Pagliacci, Rigoletto, Kátya Kabanová, The Magic Flute and the world premiere of Anthropocene. They are brought to the stage by four of the UK’s finest directors – Matthew Richardson, Sir Thomas Allen, Bill Bankes-Jones and Stephen Lawless – each demonstrating their distinctive approach to storytelling and creating engaging and exciting stage worlds. These productions provide the bedrock to a wide-ranging season which sees us present shows in 53 cities, towns and villages the length and breadth of the country, from Pop-up Opera in our ‘theatre on wheels’ to two Opera Highlights tours and our promenade production of Pagliacci in a huge tent that we’ve dubbed ‘Paisley Opera House’.

‘We make our debut at Lammermuir Festival and we return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with BambinO, following its sell-out run there last year and performances in Paris and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  As well as this work for babies and our extensive work in schools, we also continue our presentation of Dementia Friendly performances and our Memory Spinners groups.’

Stuart Stratford, Music Director, added: ‘Old and new, rare and classic: the 2018/19 Season exemplifies what Scottish Opera is all about. Established favourites The Magic Flute and Rigoletto have, as a counterpoint, the brand new Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh commission, Anthropocene. Kátya Kabanová promises to bring the desolation, hopes and shattered dreams of what is arguably Janáček’s finest opera to the stage in a new production.

Pagliacci will be a visual feast and a thrillingly immersive experience for audiences, bringing together the Paisley community and our wonderful orchestra and soloists. I am so excited about our Opera in Concert performances, which include the Scottish premieres of two rarely-performed verismo works. Puccini’s second opera, Edgar, is conducted by Gianluca Marcianò, and I will conduct Mascagni’s Silvano in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, with the wonderful soprano Emma Bell singing the role of Matilde. The piece contains all the fabulous features of Mascagni’s music that I love – passion, searing melody and a raw emotion that typifies the composer of Cavalleria Rusticana.’

Season 2018/19 Productions

Rigoletto opens the new Season with director Matthew Richardson (The Devil Inside 2016) and Olivier Award-winning designer Jon Morrell reviving their powerful 2011 production of Verdi’s masterpiece. Conducted by Rumon Gamba, internationally acclaimed baritone Aris Argiris leads the cast which also includes Lina Johnson, much-praised for her Gilda in Trieste in 2016; award-winning British tenor Adam Smith; and David Shipley, a recent graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme. Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Alexey Gusev and Lucy Anderson also appear in this film-noir inspired production set in a dark and dangerous underworld.

In January 2019, the award-winning team behind 2016’s The Devil Inside returns with the world premiere of a Scottish Opera commissioned work, Anthropocene. The fourth collaboration between composer Stuart MacRae and librettist Louise Welsh, this gripping new work tells the story of a team of scientists trapped in the frozen Arctic wastelands. Directed by Matthew Richardson and designed by Samal Blak, Anthropocenes ensemble cast includes former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Jennifer France (Flight and Ariadne auf Naxos 2018), Scottish soprano Jeni Bern and Stephen Gadd (Flight 2018). Stuart Stratford conducts performances at Theatre Royal Glasgow and King’s Theatre, Edinburgh before the production transfers to Hackney Empire in London for two performances presented in association with The Royal Opera. Anthropocene is supported by Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle.

Renowned for his trademark theatricality and vivid storytelling, British director Stephen Lawless directs Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová at Theatre Royal Glasgow and Festival Theatre Edinburgh in March, in a new co-production with Germany’s Theater Magdeburg. Set in a small industrial community in Russia, the role of Kátya is taken by Laura Wilde, greatly praised for her Jenůfa at English National Opera in 2016. She performs alongside American tenor Ric Furman, Hanna Hipp (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) and Patricia Bardon in the role of meddling mother-in-law Kabanicha. Stuart Stratford conducts. Kátya Kabanová is supported by The Alexander Gibson Circle.

The 2018/19 Season closes with Mozart’s The Magic Flute, with Sir Thomas Allen returning to direct his acclaimed production set in a world inspired by the Victorian futurism of HG Wells and Jules Verne. Peter Gijsbertsen, who sang the role of Alfredo in 2017’s La traviata, is Tamino. He is joined by Gemma Summerfield, First Prize Winner at the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards; up-and-coming talent Julia Sitkovetsky and Richard Burkhard, who returns to sing Papageno, the laugh-out-loud role he created in 2012. Tobias Ringborg (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) conducts dates in Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. There will be two Dementia Friendly performances of The Magic Flute in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Pagliacci – community opera staged festival-style

In Paisley this July, director Bill Bankes-Jones, founder of Tête à Tête Opera, directs a company of nearly 200, including The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, international soloists and a professional and community chorus, in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Staged in a huge tented structure – dubbed ‘Paisley Opera House’ – in Seedhill Sports Ground, this landmark new show is conducted by Music Director Stuart Stratford, with Ronald Samm (acclaimed for his Otello at Opera North in 2013); ex-Samling scholar Anna Patalong; Robert Hayward (Bluebeard’s Castle 2017); Samuel Dale Johnson (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) and Scottish tenor Alasdair Elliot. Audiences will be right in the middle of the action with this dynamic promenade style production taking inspiration from commedia dell’arte and Paisley’s own Sma’ Shot Festival. Pagliacci is supported by Scottish Opera Endowment Trust.

Opera in Concert

For this Season’s Opera in Concert series, Music Director Stuart Stratford has selected two rarely-performed gems from the world of verismo opera: Puccini’s Edgar and Mascagni’s Silvano. Featuring The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a fabulous line-up of guest soloists, the series opens in October at Theatre Royal Glasgow with Edgar, conducted by Gianluca Marcianò. Edgar was commissioned following the success of Puccini’s Le villi, which was performed in the Company’s 2016/17 Season. Featuring soloists including Peter Auty (Flight 2018), Justina Gringyte (Carmen 2015), Claire Rutter (L’enfant prodigue 2016) and David Stout (La bohème 2017), Edgar tells the story of an impulsive young knight who runs away with the gypsy, Tigrana, and then fakes his own death to escape his life of debauchery.

This is followed in April 2019 by the long-overdue Scottish premiere of Mascagni’s Silvano, a passionate seafaring story whose hard-hitting drama is reminiscent of the composer’s celebrated Cavalleria rusticana. Conducted by Stuart Stratford, Silvano tells the tale of a love triangle that ends in death and despair, and includes the Barcarolle famously featured in Scorsese’s Raging Bull. It is performed in City Halls, Glasgow and at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh with soloists including acclaimed soprano Emma Bell as Matilde.

Scottish Opera makes its debut at the award-winning Lammermuir Festival in East Lothian with a semi-staged performance of Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace. Conducted by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, and directed by Jenny Ogilvie, this colourful and exotic Church Parable is presented in the beautiful, mediaeval St Mary’s Parish Church in Haddington this September. Soloists, chorus and instrumentalists tell a timeless biblical story of huge emotional force and a touch of dark humour.

Scottish Opera is also working in partnership with English National Opera and National Opera Studio, culminating in the National Opera Studio young artists’ week-long residency with the Company and a showcase performance at King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, accompanied by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. The performance in February, supported by Scottish Opera Endowment Trust, follows the success of 2018’s National Opera Studio collaboration, From Russia with Love.

Opera Highlights

The ever-popular Opera Highlights goes on the road again this Season, visiting venues around Scotland from Wick to Whiting Bay, with two different shows touring in Autumn and Spring. With an exciting programme of music curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, Autumn’s wonderfully engaging operatic playlist, including works by Verdi, Mozart and Donizetti, is linked together with new compositions by Scottish Opera Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli. Daisy Evans directs. The Spring tour visits smaller and more remote venues with a pint-sized production celebrating the best of opera, directed by Sara Brodie. Opera Highlights is supported by Friends of Scottish Opera.

BambinO – an opera for babies returns  

Former Scottish Opera Composer in Residence Lliam Paterson’s acclaimed BambinO returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer, following last year’s sell-out run. An ‘opera for babies’, the co-production between Scottish Opera, Manchester International Festival and Improbable, is aimed at infants aged 6 to 18 months. The production, directed by Phelim McDermott, is also being presented by Théâtre du Châtelet at various Paris venues in April, the Metropolitan Opera in New York in May, and touring to Aberdeen, Inverness, Perth, Motherwell and Lerwick in late summer. BambinO is supported by Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

Scottish Opera Young Company

Formerly the Connect Company, Scottish Opera Young Company for 16 to 23 year olds starts an exciting new chapter this Season, with new Artistic Director Jonathon Swinard leading the Company. It presents a new production of Gluck’s Orfeo & Euridice, based on the myth of Orpheus, at The Beacon in Greenock in April 2019 following the success of 2017’s Dido and Aeneas at the same venue. The young performers are joined by two professional singers. Orfeo & Euridice is supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

Pop-up Opera

Three brilliant Pop-up Opera shows hit the road in Scottish Opera’s specially-adapted, fully accessible trailer at festivals and events around Scotland: A Little Bit of HMS Pinafore, A Little Bit of Eugene Onegin and, for children aged 4 to 7, Be a Sport, Spike! Each performance is 25 minutes long and brought to life by a cast of narrator, singers and instrumentalists. The tour includes Perth Festival of the Arts, Isle of Barra, Solas Festival and the Haddington Show.

Audiences of all ages can also catch performances of these lively shows in Glasgow and Glasgow 2018 partner local authorities as part of Festival 2018, the cultural programme for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships. Supported by Festival 2018.

Emerging Artists

The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme, which offers young talent a period of full-time work with the Company to help launch their careers, will this Season include sopranos Lucy Anderson and Sofia Troncoso. Returning to the Company for a second year as Emerging Artists are baritone Alexey Gusev and Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli. The names of a repetiteur and costume trainee will be announced in the Summer.

Emerging Artists perform in a number of this Season’s productions and tours, and in recitals at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, University of Glasgow and University of St Andrews. The Emerging Artists are supported by The Robertson Trust, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Elizabeth Salvesen and Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artist Benefactors.

Scottish Opera Education and Outreach

The Primary Schools Tour, for children in primaries 5 to 7, returns in the Spring and Summer of 2019 offering kids the chance to participate in a high-quality, day-long music theatre workshop, culminating in a performance for parents and guests. The production for this year, entitled 1719!, is set during the turbulence of the Jacobite risings and is from an original score by David Munro, revised, re-orchestrated and with additional music by Alan Penman, with words by Allan Dunn.

A new educational initiative for children in primary 3, The Opera Factory invites its audiences on a whirlwind musical adventure this Spring to find out how opera is made. Allan Dunn is the presenter, and online resources available for teachers are designed to reinforce key learning outcomes.

Celebrating the centenary of the Royal Air Force is a unique project From the Mud to the Stars, which engages with adult groups, schools and universities across Scotland that have connections to the RAF. Interviews, songs, poetry, prose and visual images reflect the participants’ own recollections and experiences. The resulting materials will be curated in to a series of online resources that will be free to access to educational and interest groups on the Scottish Opera website later this year.

Scottish Opera’s Community Choir, open to adults of all ages and conducted by Katy Lavinia Cooper, starts up again in September. The choir sings a mixture of opera, classical, popular, folk and world music, and meets every Wednesday at Theatre Royal Glasgow.

Dementia Friendly

There will be two Dementia Friendly performances of The Magic Flute, in Edinburgh and Glasgow. This fully-staged, shortened version of the show features narrator Allan Dunn, The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a cast of singers. Lighting levels in the auditorium are adjusted and audiences are able to come in and out of the auditorium or watch in the bar on TV screens if they prefer.

Memory Spinners, shortlisted in the Best Community Initiative category of Scotland’s Dementia Awards 2017, continues to meet weekly in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Airdrie. The groups – for people living with dementia and their carers – helps them relax and get creative using music, storytelling, movement and the visual arts.

Weekly Spinning Songs workshops take place next Spring and Summer. In this new intergenerational project for pre-school and primary children and elderly people, participants develop their musical and expressive arts skills to create original songs that reflect life in their local communities.

Insights into opera

Opera Unwrapped performances offer a one-hour opera taster, ideal for anyone curious to learn more about the artform, how a show is created or some backstage secrets. There are Unwrapped performances of Rigoletto, Kátya Kabanová and The Magic Flute. Audiences can also find out more about the opera they are seeing in pre-show talks. People with a visual impairment can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, where a live commentary describes the action on stage without compromising the music.

Pagliacci

 

Paisley Opera House, Seedhill Sports Ground, Paisley

26, 28 Jul 7pm

29 Jul 3pm

Doors open at 6pm/2pm for food and entertainment

 

Rigoletto

 

Theatre Royal Glasgow

18, 24, 27 Oct 7.15pm

21 Oct 3pm

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

1, 3 Nov 7.15pm

 

Festival Theatre Edinburgh

9, 15, 17 Nov 7.15pm

11 Nov 3pm

 

Eden Court, Inverness

20, 22, 24 Nov 7.15pm

 

Anthropocene

 

Theatre Royal Glasgow

24, 26 Jan 2019 7.15pm

 

King’s Theatre Edinburgh

31 Jan & 2 Feb 7.15pm

 

Hackney Empire, London

7, 9 Feb 7.30pm

 

Kátya Kabanová

 

Theatre Royal Glasgow

12, 14, 16 Mar 2019 7.15pm

 

Festival Theatre Edinburgh

21, 23 Mar 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute

 

Theatre Royal Glasgow

4, 8, 10, 14, 18 May 2019 7.15pm

12 May 3pm

Dementia Friendly Performance 16 May 3pm

 

Eden Court Inverness

21, 23, 25 May 7.15pm

 

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

30 May & 1 Jun 7.15pm

 

Festival Theatre Edinburgh

5,11,13,15 Jun 7.15pm

9 Jun 3pm

Dementia Friendly Performance 7 Jun 3pm

 

 

Opera in Concert

 

Puccini Edgar

Theatre Royal Glasgow 28 Oct, 3pm

 

Mascagni Silvano

City Halls Glasgow 14 Apr 2019, 3pm

Usher Hall Edinburgh 16 Apr 2019, 7.30pm

 

Britten The Burning Fiery Furnace

Lammermuir Festival, St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington

21 Sep, 8pm

 

National Opera Studio

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

1 Feb 2019, 6pm

 

Opera Highlights

 

Autumn 2018

20 Sep to 27 Oct | Touring to Giffnock, Ayr, Drumnadrochit, Wick, Forres, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Lanark, Helensburgh, Dundee, Inverurie, Laurencekirk, Perth, Dumfries, Musselburgh and St Andrews

 

Spring 2019

5 Feb to 16 Mar | Touring to East Kilbride, Strathmiglo, Cumbernauld, Ardfern, Castlebay, Liniclate, Tarbert, Gairloch, Ardross, Duns, Blairgowrie, Maybole, Durness, Boat of Garten, Aboyne, Whiting Bay, Dunblane and Paisley

 

BambinO

 

Edinburgh Academy

Pat of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

7 to 19 Aug (excl. Mon 13 Aug)

10am & 11.30am

 

Autumn 2018

6 to 22 Sep | Touring to Aberdeen, Inverness, Perth, Motherwell and Lerwick

 

Scottish Opera Young Company – Orfeo & Euridice

 

The Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock

6 & 7 Apr 2019

 

Pop-up Opera

 

23 May to 30 June & 28 Jul to 26 August | Tour includes Perth Festival of the Arts, Isle of Barra, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Isle of Harris, Isle of Lewis, Ullapool, Isle of Skye, Solas Festival, the Haddington Show, Callander and Festival 2018.

 

Emerging Artists Recitals

 

University of St Andrews, Wed 28 Nov

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Fri 7 Dec

University of Glasgow, Thu 10 Jan 2019

 

Opera Unwrapped

 

Rigoletto Unwrapped

Glasgow Mon 22 Oct, 6pm

Aberdeen Fri 2 Nov, 6pm

Edinburgh Mon 12 Nov, 6pm

Inverness Wed 21 Nov, 6pm

 

Kátya Kabanová Unwrapped

Glasgow Wed 13 Mar 2019, 6pm

Edinburgh Fri 22 Mar, 6pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Glasgow Thu 9 May, 6pm

Inverness Fri 24 May, 6pm

Aberdeen Fri 31 May, 6pm

Edinburgh Thu 6 Jun, 6pm

 

Pre-show talks

 

Rigoletto

Glasgow Sat 27 Oct, 6pm

Aberdeen Sat 3 Nov, 6pm

Edinburgh Sat 17 Nov, 6pm

Inverness Sat 24 Nov, 6pm

 

Anthropocene

Glasgow Sat 26 Jan 2019, 6pm

Edinburgh Sat 2 Feb, 6pm

 

Kátya Kabanová

Glasgow Sat 16 Mar, 6pm

Edinburgh Sat 23 Mar, 6pm

 

The Magic Flute

Glasgow Sat 18 May, 6pm

Inverness Sat 25 May, 6pm

Aberdeen Sat 1 Jun, 6pm

Edinburgh Sat 15 Jun, 6pm

 

Audio-described performances

 

Pagliacci

Paisley Sun 29 Jul, 3pm (no Touch Tour)

 

Rigoletto

Glasgow Sat 27 Oct, 7.15pm

Aberdeen Sat 3 Nov, 7.15pm

Edinburgh Sun 11 Nov, 3pm

Inverness Sat 24 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Anthropocene

Glasgow Sat 26 Jan 2019, 7.15pm

Edinburgh Sat 2 Feb, 7.15pm

 

Kátya Kabanová

Glasgow Sat 16 Mar, 7.15pm

Edinburgh Sat 23 Mar, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute

Glasgow Sun 12 May, 3pm

Inverness Sat 25 May, 7.15pm

Aberdeen Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm

Edinburgh Sun 9 May, 3pm

 

Touch Tours start at 6pm for evening performances and 1.45pm for matinees.

Image: James Glossop

REVIEW: Flight – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Jonathan Dove and April De Angelis’ contemporary opera Flight is almost universally loved and with good reason. A knockout score and a story filled with both drama and humour make it a hit with audiences world wide.

Image: James Glossop

Beginning as a story about a series of couples stranded at an airport due to electrical storms, librettist De Angelis discovered the real-life story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri stranded at Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 to 2006 (a story which spawned a book The Terminal Man; French movie Tombés du ciel (Lost in Transit); the Steven Spielberg film The Terminal; short story The Fifteen Year Layover; two documentaries Waiting For Godot at De Gaulle and Sir Alfred of Charles De Gaulle Airport as well as the mockumentary Here To Where) and she and Dove wove the story of a refugee hiding at the terminal around the more comic aspects of the opera. The relationships unravel and entwine and all the while the refugee strives to overcome his plight.

Image: James Glossop

Many of the cast reprise their roles from the previous Opera Holland Park production (Jennifer France as the Controller, Victoria Simmonds as Minskwoman and James Laing as the Refugee) and their comfort and familiarity with the roles shows, especially Countertenor Laing whose voice gives goose bumps) however, while France has an impressive top range she was a little underpowered at times). Peter Auty (Bill) and Stephanie Corley (Tina) provide comic relief as the long-married couple seeking to spice up their marriage as do Jonathan McGovern and Sioned Gwen Davies as the randy Steward and Stewardess.

Image: James Glossop

Image: James Glossop

The music has a mid-century cinema musical feel – almost Bernstein or Gershwin-like, it is, at all times, melodic and an absolute joy to the ear. However, personally I can’t help wonder if it would have sounded better for being less ‘operatic’ and more ‘musical theatre’: the operatic voices, in this production all excellent, don’t entirely do the fabulous score justice.

Image: James Glossop

This re-imagined production by director Stepehn Barlow and the design team of Andrew Riley, Richard Howell and Jack Henry James is an absolute joy to watch and listen to, a welcome addition to this season’s operatic programme at Scottish Opera and one not to miss.

Image: James Glossop

The production continues at Glasgow Theatre Royal until 24 February then at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh from 1 to 3 March 2018. 

REVIEW: Greek – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Based on Steven Berkoff’s riff on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Greek has fast forwarded the story from Thebes, 429 BC to the Tufnell Park in the 1980s.

Mark-Anthony Turnage’s work, while labelled as modern opera is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and while the shock of the new may have worn off in the intervening years, it still packs a hugely entertaining punch visually and aurally. Though, those with a delicate stomach might want to give it a wide berth thanks to Dick Straker’s live video projections which include a stomach-turning greasy spoon breakfast complete with live maggots and those offended by fowl language be warned there’s plenty of effing and blinding.

While cleverly adapted to suit modern sensibilities, the fundamentals remain the same: our hero Eddy, clad in a tomato red Adidas 3-stripe tracksuit leaves behind the ‘cess pit’ of the East End to avoid fulfilling the prophecy of a fortune teller who predicts his father will die a violent death and he’ll ‘bunk up with his mum’.

Johannes Schutz’s set design comprising an enormous, white rectangular revolve with two door openings, focusses all the attention firmly up front and centre stage. Alex Lowde’s comical costume designs add to the almost vaudevillian feeling of the piece.

The cast of four (three of whom, Allison Cook, Susan Bullock and Henry Waddington, double, triple and quadruple up on roles) keep the interest and entertainment up throughout. There are however a few issues with projection, even from just a few rows back it sounds underpowered. That said, it doesn’t detract from the fact that this it remains hugely entertaining throughout.

Young conductor Finnegan Downie Dear, keeps the orchestra on point and sustains the creeping menace in the music for the duration.

Subtle it isn’t, but it is a thoroughly engaging, bawdy and bold, small but perfectly formed 80 minute breath of fresh air on the opera landscape.

Images: Jane Hobson

 

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