Tag Archives: Scottish Opera

REVIEW: Opera Highlights (Scottish Opera) – Motherwell Theatre

There’s much to delight in every season at Scottish Opera, but the annual Opera Highlights tour is always a shining star of the programme.

We’re invited to a beautiful country garden where our protagonists are setting the scene for a party. We’re not exactly sure who our host is, but while the action unfolds we are introduced to each character, a little of their back stories and their relationship to one other. The inevitable cases of mistaken identity, star-crossed lovers, heartache and romantic resolution ensue.

Scottish Opera 2019 Autumn Highlights – © Julie Broadfoot – http://www.juliebee.co.uk

Derek Clark, Scottish Opera’s Head of Music has again chosen an eclectic and engaging set of arias, from the comic to the heart-breaking on which to weave the lively narrative. Among pieces by Mozart, Handel, Lehár and Tchaikovsky there are works by Ambroise Thomas, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Mildred Jessup, Alfred Cellier and the great Kurt Weill. There is also a world premier from Scottish Opera’s Composer in residence Samuel Bordoli. As fitting for a tour that’s aim is to bring new audiences to opera, there are a large number of pieces in English, either pieces original written in the language or in translation, increasing the accessibility for opera newbies.

Scottish Opera 2019 Autumn Highlights – © Julie Broadfoot – http://www.juliebee.co.uk

As important as the selection of music is, much depends on the quality of the singers. This year the calibre is universally excellent. The quartet: Soprano Charlie Drummond, Mezzo Martha Jones, Tenor Alex Bevan and Baritone Mark Nathan, as well as having fine voices, are easy to warm to, each can act and draw the audience in, keeping them engaged throughout. Of note is Roxana Haines direction, which is tight and breathes even more life into the already sprightly programme.

Scottish Opera 2019 Autumn Highlights – © Julie Broadfoot – http://www.juliebee.co.uk

If you are an established opera lover or someone curious to find out more, Opera Highlights is the perfect event. The extensive tour continues throughout Scotland (see below for dates and venues).

As ever, a five-star production from Scottish Opera.

The Albert Halls

Stirling

Sat 14 Sep

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Stonehaven Town Hall

Stonehaven

Tue 17 Sep

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Duthac Centre

Tain

Thu 19 Sep

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The Macphail Centre

Ullapool

Sat 21 Sep

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An Lanntair

Stornoway

Tue 24 Sep

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Aros Centre

Portree

Thu 26 Sep

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The Corran Halls

Oban

Sat 28 Sep

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Volunteer Hall, Galashiels

Galashiels

Tue 1 Oct

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Perth Theatre

Perth

Thu 3 Oct

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Carnegie Hall

Dunfermline

Sat 5 Oct

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Thurso High School

Thurso

Tue 8 Oct

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Orkney Theatre

Kirkwall

Thu 10 Oct

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Haddo House

Ellon

Sat 12 Oct

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Ryan Centre

Stranraer

Tue 15 Oct

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Beacon Arts Centre

Greenock

Thu 17 Oct

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The Brunton

Musselburgh

Sat 19 Oct

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NEWS: REVIVAL OF ANTHONY BESCH’S ACCLAIMED PRODUCTION OF PUCCINI’S TOSCA OPENS SCOTTISH OPERA’S 2019/20 SEASON

Scottish Opera’s 2019/20 Season begins in October with Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, a revival of the much-loved 1980 production by director Anthony Besch and designer Peter Rice.

Last performed by the Company in 2012, Tosca opens at Theatre Royal Glasgow on October 16, and tours to Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh. Conducted by Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford, Besch’s production is set in 1940s Rome, in the shadow of Mussolini’s tyrannical rule. It tells the story of a passionate and ill-fated love, played out against a backdrop of political corruption and intrigue. Besch’s production of Tosca has been a huge hit with Scottish Opera audiences, and has toured to London, Liverpool and Newcastle. It has also been taken up by companies in Boston, Lisbon, Murcia, New Zealand and Oviedo.

Revival Director Jonathan Cocker directs an internationally renowned cast including Natalya Romaniw (Eugene Onegin 2018) and Sinéad Campbell-Wallace (who is appearing in Scottish Opera’s Lammermuir Festival double bill this September) as tragic opera diva Floria Tosca. Tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones (Il trovatore 2015) is Cavaradossi and baritone Roland Wood (Pelléas and Mélisande 2017) is Scarpia, the corrupt Chief of Police. They are joined by Scottish Opera favourites Dingle Yandell (The Magic Flute 2019), Aled Hall (Rigoletto 2018), Paul Carey Jones (The Trial 2017) and Lancelot Nomura (Ariadne auf Naxos 2018).

Stuart Stratford said: ‘Puccini’s Tosca really needs no introduction. It is one of the composer’s finest masterpieces and greatest achievements in terms of musical drama and orchestration. We are delighted that for the first time audiences in the UK have the chance to hear Natalya Romaniw in the title role, performing alongside Gwyn Hughes Jones and Roland Wood. Natalya was last on the Scottish Opera stage in our 2018 production of Eugene Onegin and has risen to prominence following her recent successes at English National Opera and Opera Holland Park, so we are thrilled to welcome her back.’

There are also three Dementia Friendly Performances of Tosca in Glasgow, Aberdeen (for the first time) and Edinburgh. With a running time of approximately one hour 45 minutes, 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.

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend Tosca Unwrapped, one-hour tasters delving further into the show, as well as Pre-show Talks. 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.

Tosca is supported by The Scottish Opera Syndicate.

Cast List

 

Tosca                                                                     Natalya Romaniw & Sinéad Campbell-Wallace 

Cavaradossi                                                            Gwyn Hughes Jones  

Scarpia                                                                      Roland Wood

Angelotti                                                                    Dingle Yandell  

Spoletta                                                                     Aled Hall

Sacristan                                                                   Paul Carey Jones

Sciarrone                                                                    Lancelot Nomura

 

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

Wed 16 Oct, 7.15pm

Fri 18 Oct, 7.15pm

Sun 20 Oct, 3pm

Tue 22 Oct, 7.15pm

Thu 24 Oct, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sat 26 Oct, 7.15pm

 

Tosca Unwrapped

Mon 21 Oct, 6pm

Tosca Pre-show Talk

Sat 26 Oct, 6pm

Tosca Touch Tour

Sat 26 Oct, 6pm

Tosca Audio-described performance

Sat 26 Oct, 7.15pm

 

His Majesty’s Theatre, Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen AB25 1GL

Thu 31 Oct, 7.15pm

Fri 1 Nov, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sat 2 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Tosca Pre-show Talk

Sat 2 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Touch Tour

Sat 2 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Audio-described performance

Sat 2 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Eden Court, Bishops Road, Inverness IV3 5SA

Tue 5 Nov, 7.15pm

Thu 7 Nov, 7.15pm

Sat 9 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Tosca Unwrapped

Fri 8 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Pre-show Talk

Sat 9 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Touch Tour

Sat 9 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Audio-described performance

Sat 9 Nov, 7.15pm

 

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

Thu 14 Nov, 7.15pm

Sun 17 Nov, 3pm

Tue 19 Nov, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Thu 21 Nov, 7.15pm

Sat 23 Nov, 7.15pm

 

Tosca Unwrapped

Mon 18 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Pre-show Talk

Sat 23 Nov, 6pm

Tosca Touch Tour

Sun 17 Nov, 1.45pm

Tosca Audio-described performance

Sun 17 Nov, 3pm

IMAGE: operaomnia.co.uk

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA’S AMADEUS & THE BARD EXPLORES AND CELEBRATES THE WORK OF MOZART AND BURNS

Touring this Autumn is Amadeus & The Bard: 18th Century Cosmic Brothers, a brand new show from Scottish Opera created and directed by Mary McCluskey, former Artistic Director of Scottish Youth Theatre. Amadeus & The Bard celebrates the lives of two much-loved men, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Robert Burns, through storytelling and song, honouring the many and sometimes surprising similarities between them.

Opening on 9 September in Earlston High School, the production tours to schools in Kirkcudbright, Annan, Auchinleck, Ayr, Largs and Paisley, as well as the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and Scottish Opera Production Studios in Glasgow.

Karen MacIver is the Music Director and pianist on this dramatic and emotive show, which features a talented cast including soprano Stephanie Stanway, a Samling Young Artist and Arthur Bruce, The Robertson Trust Scottish Opera Emerging Artist, alongside actor Andy Clark and violinist Shannon Stevenson. They are joined by an ensemble of four singers from Scottish Opera Young Company: Cara Blaikie, Ross Fettes, James McIntyre and Erin Spence.

Set in Poosie Nansie’s Inn, a favourite haunt of Burns, the cast blend traditional folk songs with some of Mozart’s most popular work, from ‘Tam O’Shanter’ and The Magic Flute, to ‘A Red, Red Rose’ and The Marriage of Figaro. Amadeus & The Bard invites audiences to enjoy a night of entertainment in celebration of these two brothers of the Enlightenment.

Director Mary McCluskey said: ‘It is our intention for our merry band of talented performers, singers, actors and musicians to give you an insight into the work of Mozart and Burns. We hope to entertain and inform you, in order that you will leave knowing more than you did when you came along to see the production, and that we will have whetted your appetite for the work of these two talented men.’

Jane Davidson, Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education said: ‘Amadeus & The Bard affords us some fascinating glimpses into the (often parallel) lives of Robert Burns and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; cultural icons of the eighteenth century whose musical and literary ‘voices’ have inspired people through the generations down to the present day. So, the warmest of welcomes is extended to everyone to join our dynamic young company of performers around the fireside in Poosie Nansie’s hostelry for an hour of songs, ensembles, arias and poetry.’

Director/Creator        Mary McCluskey

Music Director          Karen MacIver

Soprano                     Stephanie Stanway

Baritone                     Arthur Bruce*

Storyteller                  Andy Clark

Ensemble                   Cara Blaikie, Ross Fettes, James McIntyre & Erin Spence (Scottish Opera Young Company)

Violin                          Shannon Stevenson

Piano                          Karen MacIver

Performance diary

 

Earlston High School

Mon 9 Sep, 7pm

 

Kirkcudbright Academy

Wed 11 Sep, 7pm

 

Annan Academy

Fri 13 Sep, 7pm

 

Auchinleck Academy

Mon 16 Sep, 7pm

 

Ayr Academy

Wed 18 Sep, 7pm

 

Largs Academy

Thu 19 Sep, 7pm

 

National Museum of Scotland

Sat 28 Sep, 12pm & 3pm

 

Paisley Grammar School

Fri 4 Oct, 7.30pm

 

Scottish Opera Production Studios

Fri 11 Oct, 7.30pm

Sat 12 Oct, 3pm & 7.30pm

 

Tickets are available online now for all venues at www. scottishopera.org.uk/amadeus

NEWS: OPERA HIGHLIGHTS TOURS TO 17 VENUES ACROSS SCOTLAND THIS AUTUMN

On September 12, Scottish Opera’s hugely popular Opera Highlights tour kicks off with four singers and a pianist journeying to 17 venues the length and breadth of Scotland, from Kirkwall in the north to Stranraer in the south.

Travelling the highways and byways by land, sea and air, the Autumn tour begins in Motherwell before heading to Stirling, Stonehaven, Tain, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Oban, Galashiels, Perth, Dunfermline, Thurso, Kirkwall, Ellon, Stranraer, Greenock and Musselburgh.

The setting for director Roxana Haines’ production of Opera Highlights is a beautiful garden party, and features a playlist of operatic classics and must-hear rarities, curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark. Highlights include Delibes’ ‘Flower Duet’, Vaughan Williams’ ‘Blue larkspur in a garden’ and many more from the likes of Mozart, Lehár and Scottish Opera Composer in Residence, Samuel Bordoli.

Pianist/Music Director Ian Shaw is joined by Scottish Opera Emerging Artist soprano Charlie Drummond; mezzo-soprano Martha Jones; tenor Alex Bevan and baritone Mark Nathan, who is also a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist this Season.

The same show returns in Spring 2020, with a different cast: soprano Zoe Drummond; mezzo-soprano Jade Moffat; tenor Andrew Irwin and baritone Arthur Bruce, The Robertson Trust Scottish Opera Emerging Artist who is a former member of Scottish Opera Young Company. It will tour another 17 venues around Scotland from February 4: Bathgate, Birnam, Markinch, Campbeltown, Bowmore, Arrochar, Bunessan, Arisaig, Beauly, Cumnock, Castle Douglas, Callander, Lerwick, Peebles, Fochabers, Alford and Rutherglen. In total, this Season’s Opera Highlights is visiting 34 venues.

Roxana Haines, who is directing Scottish Opera’s Fox-tot! at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer, said: ‘This year’s Opera Highlights cast cordially invite you to a party on your doorstep, set throughout luscious gardens and magical flora and fauna of Opera. The stage has been set, decorations unpacked and the guests have all arrived but, the only problem is, no one quite knows who or why we’re celebrating…

‘As the evening progresses, the connections between our characters unravel through music from the likes of Handel, Donizetti and Mozart, and lighter pieces from Gilbert & Sullivan and Vaughan Williams as well as a new work by Samuel Bordoli. Prepare for charm, magic and love in all its operatic forms.’

Scottish Opera’s General Director, Alex Reedijk, said: ‘I am delighted that Scottish Opera will be touring what promises to be another sensational Opera Highlights to 34 venues across Scotland in the Autumn and Spring. This longstanding and much acclaimed commitment by the Company to presenting work across Scotland is part of what makes us Scottish Opera, and is welcomed by our far-flung audiences as a lovely operatic tonic! Opera Highlights also serves to introduce young singers to our audiences, and greatly assists their development as artists alongside presenting the joys of opera and singing to our widely spread audience.’
You can follow Scottish Opera on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ScottishOpera

Opera Highlights Autumn Tour Cast and Creative Team

Soprano Charlie Drummond*
Mezzo-soprano Martha Jones
Tenor Alex Bevan
Baritone Mark Nathan*

Pianist/Music Director Ian Shaw
Director Roxana Haines
Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli*

*Scottish Opera Emerging Artist

Performance Diary

Motherwell Theatre, Motherwell
Thu 12 Sep, 7.30pm

Albert Halls, Stirling
Sat 14 Sep, 7.30pm

Stonehaven Town Hall, Stonehaven
Tue 17 Sep, 7.30pm

Duthac Centre, Tain
Thu 19 Sep, 7.30pm

Macphail Centre, Ullapool
Sat 21 Sep, 7.30pm

An Lanntair, Stornoway
Tues 24 Sep, 7.30pm

Aros Centre, Portree
Thu 26 Sep, 7.30pm

Corran Halls, Oban
Sat 28 Sep, 7.30pm

Volunteer Hall, Galashiels
Tues 1 Oct, 7.30pm

Perth Theatre, Perth
Thu 3 Oct, 7.30pm

Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
Sat 5 Oct, 7.30pm

Thurso High School, Thurso
Tue 8 Oct, 7.30pm

Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall
Thu 10 Oct, 7.30pm

Haddo House, Ellon
Sat 12 Oct, 7.30pm

Ryan Centre, Stranraer
Tues 15, 7.30pm

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
Thu 17 Oct, 7.30pm

The Brunton, Musselburgh
Sat 19 Oct, 7.30pm

REVIEW: The Magic Flute – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Set in a steampunk landscape inspired by H.G. Wells and Jules Verne: a wicked queen, a handsome prince, a damsel in distress, high priests, a comedy side-kick, magical instruments, a serpent and some sorcerers are all given new life in Scottish Opera’s revival of Sir Thomas Allen’s joyous production of The Magic Flute. 

While the work’s misogyny and Masonic undertones have been long debated, it is impossible to judge an opera written in 1791 by 2019’s standards and this utterly charming, gorgeous looking and sounding version is guaranteed to win over even the hardest of hearts. Its three-hour run time passing by in the blink of an eye.

Of note are the irresistible Papageno, so cleverly and cheekily played by Richard Burkhard, his bang up-to-date, witty asides and ability to wrap the audience around his little finger are a delight; Dingle Yandell’s beautifully sung Speaker; a sure-sounding Sarastro in James Creswell; Gemma Summerfield – a radiant and glorious Pamina, and talent to look out for, Julia Sitkovetsky, who handles Der Hölle Rache, one of the most famous arias in all opera, absolutely beautifully.

This five star production is thanks to the stars aligning in every aspect of its creation: sure-footed direction, lively conducting, a laugh-out-loud and oh-so clever translation, perfect casting, an orchestra on top form and an innovative and captivating stage design. It’s not often achieved, but this is as near to perfection as it’s possible to get. 

Runs until 18 May 2019 then touring. Images – James Glossop.

 

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA ANNOUNCES 2019/20 SEASON

Stuart Stratford, Scottish Opera Music Director and Alex Reedijk, General Director. Scottish Opera 2019

Scottish Opera has unveiled its 2019/20 Season which includes a European premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival, three further new productions, one revival, six titles in the Opera in Concert series, and the world premiere of a new ‘opera for toddlers’ at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

A truly international line-up of singers appears throughout the Season. Making their debuts with the Company are Trevor Eliot Bowes, Orla Boylan, Wallis Giunta, Eric Greene, Byron Jackson and Sydney Mancasola.

There are welcome return visits from Evez Abdulla, Mark Le Brocq, Richard Burkhard, Emma Carrington, Sioned Gwen Davies, Aidan Edwards, Jennifer France, Morten Grove Frandsen, Ric Furman, Justina Gringyte, Katie Grosset, Aled Hall, Hanna Hipp, Charlotte Hoather, Paul Carey Jones, Gwyn Hughes Jones, Ellie Laugharne, Jessica Leary, Hye-Youn Lee, Nicholas Lester, Jamie MacDougall, Ben McAteer, William Morgan, Lancelot Nomura, Clare Presland, Sarah Pring, Daniel Keating-Roberts, Duncan Rock, Natalya Romaniw, David Shipley, Michel de Souza, Julia Sporsén, David Stout, Richard Suart, Elgan Llŷr Thomas, Freddie Tong, Sinéad Campbell-Wallace, Roland Wood and Dingle Yandell.

Alex Reedijk, General Director, said: ‘This Season, Scottish Opera brings a diverse range of titles, including 12 operas, to audiences in over 50 venues all over Scotland and beyond. From 20th century masterpieces by Benjamin Britten and John Adams to much-loved works by Gilbert & Sullivan and Puccini, and an intriguing Opera in Concert series curated by Music Director Stuart Stratford, there is a wonderful array of operatic fare.

‘Directing our full-scale productions are five great talents: Jonathan Cocker, who is reviving Anthony’s Besch’s iconic Tosca which opens the Season; John Fulljames; Dominic Hill; Tom Morris and Stuart Maunder. Creative partnerships are crucial to what we do, so it’s thrilling to be working alongside festivals, companies and opera houses locally, nationally and internationally. The Company is greatly looking forward to returning to the Lammermuir Festival, and to taking Missy Mazzoli’s sensational Breaking the Waves to the Edinburgh International Festival.

‘The ever-inventive Outreach and Education Department builds on the success of our work for young children with the world premiere of Fox-tot!, by the brilliant, young Scottish composer Lliam Paterson, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Scottish Opera Young Company returns to the stage with Sondheim; we present three Dementia Friendly performances as well as Spinning Songs and Memory Spinners workshops; and we tour Pop-up Opera, The Opera Factory and our Primary Schools Tour.’

Stuart Stratford, Scottish Opera Music Director, added: ‘We are committed to exploring some lesser known repertoire in our Opera in Concert performances, and I am delighted that we are continuing our Mascagni odyssey with a double bill of Zanetto, performed with Wolf- Ferrari’s Susanna’s Secret. Mascagni’s Iris is also not to be missed, and the series comes full circle to finish with Cavalleria rusticana, the piece that catapulted Mascagni to success. It is paired with Leoncavallo’s Zingari. Another rarity can be heard in our semi-staged performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Utopia, Limited, which stands alongside our new touring production of The Gondoliers.

‘I am thrilled our new Season gets underway at the Edinburgh International Festival with the European premiere of Breaking the Waves by the exciting American composer, Missy Mazzoli. Nixon in China is another modern American classic. It still resonates with today’s global politics, and it changed the rulebook of what contemporary opera could be. John Adams’ soundworld continues to influence generations of new composers. Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream completes our trio of work from the 20th and 21st centuries, with a new staging by Citizens Theatre Artistic Director, Dominic Hill.’

Season 2019/20 Productions

Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves has its European premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in August.

Tony Award-winning Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, whose previous work includes War HorseTouching the Void, and The Death of Klinghoffer at English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York, directs this dark and daring opera. Set and costume designs are by Soutra Gilmour.

Based on Lars von Trier’s award-winning film, Mazzoli’s opera caused a sensation when it premiered in 2016, winning the 2017 Best New Opera Award from the Music Critics Association of North America. It was also shortlisted for an International Opera Award.

The opera, with a libretto by Royce Vavrek, tells the story of Bess, a young woman living in a deeply religious community in the Scottish Highlands in the 1970s. The cast includes American soprano Sydney Mancasola, Edinburgh-born baritone Duncan Rock and Irish-Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta, winner of the 2018 International Opera Awards’ Young Singer of the Year. Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts.

Co-presented by Opera Ventures, Scottish Opera and Edinburgh International Festival, Breaking the Waves is a co-production with Opera Ventures and Houston Grand Opera, in association with Bristol Old Vic. It has been made possible with support from Howard and Sarah Solomon Foundation, Denise Coates Foundation, Karl Sydow, Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and a syndicate of donors.

Puccini’s Tosca, in a production originally directed by Anthony Besch and designed by Peter Rice in 1980, opens Scottish Opera’s main season in October.  Set in 1940s Rome, in the shadow of Mussolini’s dictatorship, this ill-fated romance plays out against a backdrop of political corruption and intrigue. Revived by director Jonathan Cocker and conducted by Stuart Stratford, this much-loved production stars Natalya Romaniw (Eugene Onegin 2018) in the title role, Gwyn Hughes Jones (Il trovatore 2015) as Cavaradossi and Roland Wood (Pelléas & Mélisande 2017) as Scarpia. Tosca is supported by The Scottish Opera Syndicate.

In February, John Fulljames, Director of Opera at The Royal Danish Theatre, directs John Adams’ iconic opera, Nixon in China, inspired by President Richard Nixon’s much-publicised 1972 visit to Communist China. A Scottish Opera premiere, this is a new co-production with The Royal Danish Theatre and Teatro Real Madrid.

Acclaimed Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro leads an exciting cast including Eric Greene as Richard Nixon; Julia Sporsén (Ariadne auf Naxos 2018); Mark Le Brocq (Anthropocene 2019); Nicholas Lester (The Trial 2017) and Hye-Youn Lee (La bohème 2017). The libretto is by Alice Goodman and the designer is Dick Bird (The Mikado 2016).

Dominic Hill, Artistic Director of the Citizens Theatre, returns to Scottish Opera to direct Benjamin Britten’s atmospheric A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is joined by designer Tom Piper, famed for the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London. Stuart Stratford conducts a cast that includes David Shipley (Rigoletto 2018), a recent graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme; countertenor Morten Grove Frandsen, a winner of Denmark’s Reumert Talent prize; former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Jennifer France (Anthropocene 2019); and Scottish tenor and BBC broadcaster Jamie MacDougall (Ariadne auf Naxos 2018).  Audiences also have the chance to see a new work by Scottish Opera Composer in Residence, Samuel Bordoli, titled Hermia’s Nightmare. Performed in the foyer before each show, it explores scenes from Shakespeare’s play that were not included by Britten in his score. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is supported by The Alexander Gibson Circle.

The 2019/20 Season closes with Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, directed by Stuart Maunder, Artistic Director at State Opera South Australia, and designed by Dick Bird (The Mikado 2016). The whimsical opera, in a new co-production with D’Oyly Carte Opera and State Opera South Australia, tells the story of two happy-go-lucky gondoliers who discover that one of them is, in fact, heir to the throne of a distant kingdom. Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, conducts an ensemble cast that includes ENO Harewood Artist William Morgan (The Magic Flute 2019), Ellie Laugharne (The Pirates of Penzance 2013), Ben McAteer (The Mikado 2016), Sioned Gwen Davies (Rigoletto 2018) and G&S favourite Richard Suart (The Mikado 2016).  As well as performances in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh, The Gondoliers tours to London’s Hackney Empire. This production is supported by Scottish Opera’s ‘Play A Supporting Role’ Appeal.

Opera in Concert

Scottish Opera Music Director, Stuart Stratford, has once again curated a programme of rarely-performed works in this Season’s Opera in Concert series, supported by the Scottish Opera Endowment Trust and the Friends of Scottish Opera. The semi-staged performances explore further the verismo works of Pietro Mascagni and a lesser-known piece by Gilbert & Sullivan in several firsts for Scottish Opera, and for Scotland.

In September, the Company returns to the award-winning Lammermuir Festival in East Lothian with a double-bill of Mascagni’s Zanetto (a Scottish Opera premiere) and Susanna’s Secret by Wolf-Ferrari. Soloists including Sinéad Campbell-Wallace, Hanna Hipp (Kátya Kabanová 2019), Richard Burkhard (The Magic Flute 2019) and Clare Presland (Rusalka 2016) are conducted by David Parry (La traviata 2017), and directed by Rosie Purdie.

Performed in the beautiful, mediaeval St Mary’s Parish Church in Haddington, the venue for 2018’s Scottish Opera performance of The Burning Fiery Furnace, Zanetto is set in the hills above Renaissance Florence, and tells the story of Silvia, a lonely courtesan who has lost her faith in love, until she meets a wandering minstrel.

It is performed alongside the sophisticated and charming Susanna’s Secret, the perfect comedic contrast, in which a husband who smells smoke on his wife’s clothes accuses her of cheating.

In December, Opera in Concert features the Scottish Opera premiere of Mascagni’s Iris at City Halls, Glasgow. A gripping tale of innocence lost, Iris includes the stunning ‘Hymn to the Sun’, which is often hailed as the composer’s finest writing. Stuart Stratford conducts soloists including Ric Furman (Kátya Kabanová 2019), Natalya Romaniw (Eugene Onegin 2018) and Roland Wood (Pelléas and Mélisande 2017). Roxana Haines (Edgar 2018) directs.

The passionate and lyrical Cavalleria rusticana by Mascagni is performed in May 2020 at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. Telling the tale of a young Sicilian villager who returns from war to find his fiancée has married someone else, conductor Stuart Stratford has chosen to pair it with Leoncavallo’s lesser-known work Zingari, another Scottish Opera premiere. With a parallel narrative that sees another love triangle go disastrously wrong, Zingari is based on Pushkin’s The Gypsies. Orpha Phelan directs soloists including Evez Abdulla, Justina Gringyte and Julia Sporsén.

The Opera in Concert series ends with a semi-staged performance of Utopia, Limited. A new co-production with D’Oyly Carte Opera and State Opera South Australia, this Scottish Opera premiere has an updated libretto by director Stuart Maunder, and a new musical version by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, who also conducts. Wittily satirising the British Empire’s politics, monarchy and press, Gilbert & Sullivan’s penultimate opera is performed by the cast of The Gondoliers, and designed by Dick Bird. Utopia, Limited tours to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Hackney Empire in London.

Opera Highlights

Supported by the Friends of Scottish Opera, the ever-popular Opera Highlights goes on the road again this Season, visiting 34 venues around Scotland from Stonehaven to Stranraer, in Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020. The varied programme of music curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, sees four singers and a pianist perform works by Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti and Gilbert & Sullivan, and a new piece by Scottish Opera Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli.

Roxana Haines (Edgar 2018) directs two different casts of exciting new talent including Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists for 2019/20 – soprano Charlie Drummond, former young artist at the National Opera Studio; baritone Mark Nathan, recent graduate from the Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; and baritone Arthur Bruce, a former member of the Scottish Opera Young Company also recently graduated from the RCS Opera School.

Fox-tot! – an opera for toddlers

The world premiere of Fox-tot!, a new opera for toddlers aged one to two, is presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer. It has been written by Lliam Paterson, composer of the acclaimed BambinO, which last year toured to Paris and New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and is directed by Roxana Haines (Edgar 2018).

For this new Scottish Opera co-commission with Royal & Derngate, Northampton, Lliam has taken inspiration from French baroque dances and contemporary opera. A little fox goes on an adventure to explore the world and learn to see through the eyes of other creatures. Stretched out in the sun as a cat, soaring in the sky as a butterfly, it’s fun to be someone else. But, as Mother Vixen guides her cub’s journey, will the little one discover what it takes to become an excellent fox?

Designed by Giuseppe Belli and Emma Belli (BambinO 2017), the 45-minute show 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.

Following the Edinburgh Festival Fringe dates at Edinburgh Academy, Fox-tot! tours to Royal and Derngate, Northampton in August and September, and around Scotland in Spring 2020.

Fox-tot! is supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels, New Commissions Circle and using public funding by Arts Council England.

Scottish Opera Young Company

Scottish Opera Young Company, for 17 to 25 year olds, will perform Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along in Glasgow in the Spring of 2020. Young Company Artistic Director Jonathon Swinard conducts Sondheim’s multi-Olivier Award-winning work, which was specifically written for young adult voices. A dark tale of ambition and disillusion, it tells the story of Franklin Shepard whose career has seen him go from penniless composer to Hollywood impresario. Merrily We Roll Along is supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

Pop-up Opera

Three brilliant Pop-up Opera shows hit the road this summer in Scottish Opera’s specially adapted trailer at festivals and events around Scotland: A Little Bit of Iolanthe (supported by The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust), A Little Bit of Magic Flute, and Puffy McPuffer and The Crabbit Canals, for five to eight year olds. Each performance is 25 minutes long and brought to life by storyteller Ross Stenhouse, sopranos Jessica Leary and Charlotte Hoather, baritone Aidan Edwards, instrumentalists and colourful illustrations. The tour includes Perth Festival of the Arts, Dunfermline, Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, Old Kilpatrick, Barrhead, Giffnock, Borders Book Festival, Dirleton, Callander, Cupar Arts EDEN, Aboyne & Deeside Festival, Haddington Show and Glasgow Canal Festival. Pop-up Opera is supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

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 soprano Charlie Drummond, baritones Arthur Bruce and Mark Nathan, and Samuel Bordoli who continues as Composer in Residence. The name of a costume trainee and repetiteur are still to be announced.

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

Scottish Opera Education and Outreach

Amadeus & The Bard is an original piece, conceived, written and directed by Mary McCluskey, former Artistic Director of Scottish Youth Theatre. It explores the surprising number of parallels between Mozart and Scottish poet, Robert Burns.

Performed by Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Arthur Bruce, soprano and Samling Young Artist Stephanie Stanway and renowned actor Andy Clark, alongside a four-voice ensemble from the Scottish Opera Young Company, the programme is curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark. It celebrates the work of the two 18th-century Enlightenment giants, from the magical and mystical in The Magic Flute and Tam O’ Shanter to the love music of Don Giovanni and A Red, Red Rose. The Music Director and pianist is Karen MacIver, one half of award-winning duo PianoPiano.

Amadeus & The Bard tours this Autumn to Earlston, Kirkcudbright, Annan, Cumnock, Ayr, Largs, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paisley. It is supported by Edith Rudinger Gray Charitable Trust and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

In the Spring and Summer of 2020, the ever-popular Primary Schools Tour, for children in primaries five to seven, revives Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army. It offers kids the chance to participate in high quality, day-long music theatre workshops, culminating in a performance for parents and guests. Commissioned in partnership with the five Scottish Confucius Institutes, music is by Alan Penman with words by Ross Stenhouse.

The Opera Factory, written and presented by Allan Dunn, returns this summer. Primary 3 pupils go on a whirlwind music adventure to find out how opera is made. The production is supported by online resources designed to reinforce key learning outcomes of A Curriculum for Excellence for Level 1.

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 three Dementia Friendly performances of Tosca, in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. This fully-staged, shortened version of the show features presenter 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.  Scottish Opera staged the UK’s first Dementia Friendly opera performance in November 2016, with The Marriage of Figaro at Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

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 – help them relax and get creative using music, storytelling, movement and the visual arts.

Weekly Spinning Songs in East Kilbride and Edinburgh are also taking place. This new intergenerational project for pre-school and primary children and elderly people helps 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 art form, how a show is created or some backstage secrets. There are Unwrapped performances of Tosca, Nixon in China and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 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.

Breaking the Waves (Missy Mazzoli)

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh (Part of the Edinburgh International Festival)

21, 23, 24 Aug 2019, 7.15pm

 

Tosca (Puccini)

Theatre Royal Glasgow

16, 18, 22, 26 Oct 2019, 7.15pm
20 Oct 2019, 3pm
Dementia Friendly Performance 24 Oct 2019, 3pm

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen                                       

31 Oct | 2 Nov 2019, 7.15pm
Dementia Friendly Performance 1 Nov 2019, 3pm

Eden Court, Inverness

5, 7, 9 Nov 2019, 7.15pm

Festival Theatre Edinburgh

14, 21, 23 Nov 2019, 7.15pm
17 Nov 2019, 3pm
Dementia Friendly Performance 19 Nov 2019, 3pm

 

Nixon in China (John Adams)

Theatre Royal Glasgow

18, 20, 22 Feb 2020, 7.15pm

Festival Theatre Edinburgh

27, 29 Feb 2019, 7.15pm

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Benjamin Britten)

Festival Theatre Edinburgh

31 Mar | 2, 4 Apr 2020, 7.15pm

Theatre Royal Glasgow

21, 23, 25 Apr 2020, 7.15pm

 

The Gondoliers (Gilbert & Sullivan)

Theatre Royal Glasgow

14, 15, 16, 22, 23 May 2020 7.15pm
17 May 2020, 2.30pm

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

28, 29, 30 May 2020, 7.15pm

Eden Court, Inverness

3, 4, 5, 6 Jun 2020, 7.15pm

Festival Theatre Edinburgh
10, 11, 13 Jun 2020, 7.15pm
13 Jun 2020, 2.30pm

Hackney Empire, London

15,16,18 Jul 2020, 7.30pm

16, 18 Jul 2020, 2.30pm

 

Opera in Concert

Lammermuir Festival, St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington | 20 Sep 2019, 7.30pm

Zanetto (Mascagni) and Susanna’s Secret (Wolf-Ferrari)

On sale 28 May 2019 at www.lammermuirfestival.co.uk

 

City Halls, Glasgow | 1 Dec 2019, 3pm

Iris (Mascagni)

 

Usher Hall, Edinburgh | 2 May 2020, 7.30pm

Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni) and Zingari (Leoncavallo)

 

Theatre Royal Glasgow | 21 May 2020, 7.15pm

Festival Theatre Edinburgh | 12 Jun 2020, 7.15pm

Hackney Empire, London | 17 Jul 2020, 7.30pm

Utopia, Limited (Gilbert & Sullivan)

 

Opera Highlights

Autumn 2019

12 Sep to 19 Oct

Touring to Motherwell, Stirling, Stonehaven, Tain, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Oban, Galashiels, Perth, Dunfermline, Thurso, Kirkwall, Ellon, Stranraer, Greenock & Musselburgh

 

Spring 2020

4 Feb to 14 Mar

Touring to Bathgate, Birnam, Markinch, Campbeltown, Bowmore, Arrochar, Bunessan, Arisaig, Beauly, Cumnock, Castle Douglas, Callander, Lerwick, Peebles, Fochabers, Alford & Rutherglen

 

Fox-tot! (Lliam Paterson)

Edinburgh Academy (Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

2 to 16 Aug 2019 (excluding Mondays), 10am and 11.30am

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

Royal & Derngate, Northampton

27 Aug 2019, 2pm

28 Aug to 1 Sep 2019, 11am and 2pm

 

Touring Scotland Spring 2020

 

Scottish Opera Young Company – Merrily We Roll Along (Sondheim)

Glasgow

Spring 2020

 

Amadeus & The Bard

9 Sep to 12 Oct 2019

Touring to Earlston, Kirkcudbright, Annan, Cumnock, Ayr, Largs, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Paisley

 

Pop-up Opera

24 May to 20 July 2019

Tour includes Perth Festival of the Arts, Dunfermline, Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, Old Kilpatrick, Barrhead, Giffnock, Borders Book Festival, Dirleton, Callander, Cupar Arts EDEN, Aboyne & Deeside Festival, Haddington Show & Glasgow Canal Festival

 

Emerging Artists Recitals

University of St Andrews | Wed 20 Nov 2019

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland | Fri 10 Jan 2020

University of Glasgow | Thu 16 Jan 2020

 

Opera Unwrapped

 

Tosca

Glasgow |Mon 21 Oct 2019, 6pm

Inverness | Fri 8 Nov 2019, 6pm

Edinburgh | Mon 18 Nov 2019, 6pm

 

Nixon in China

Glasgow | Fri 21 Feb 2020, 6pm

Edinburgh | Fri 28 Feb 2020, 6pm

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Edinburgh | Wed 1 Apr 2020, 6pm

Glasgow | Wed 22 Apr 2020, 6pm

 

Pre-show talks

 

Tosca

Glasgow | Sat 26 Oct 2019, 6pm

Aberdeen |Sat 2 Nov 2019, 6pm

Inverness | Sat 9 Nov 2019, 6pm

Edinburgh | Sat 23 Nov 2019, 6pm

 

Nixon in China

Glasgow | Sat 22 Feb 2020, 6pm

Edinburgh | Sat 29 Feb 2020, 6pm

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Edinburgh | Sat 4 Apr 2020, 6pm

Glasgow | Sat 25 Apr 2020, 6pm

 

The Gondoliers
Glasgow | Sat 23 May 2020, 6pm

Aberdeen | Sat 30 May 2020, 6pm

Inverness |Sat 6 Jun 2020, 6pm

Edinburgh | Sat 13 Jun 2020, 6pm

London | Sat 18 Jul 2020, 6pm

 

Audio-described performances

 

Breaking the Waves

Edinburgh | Fri 23 Aug 2019, 7.15pm

 

Tosca

Glasgow | Sat 26 Oct 2019, 7.15pm

Aberdeen | Sat 2 Nov 2019, 7.15pm

Inverness | Sat 9 Nov 2019, 7.15pm

Edinburgh | Sun 17 Nov 2019, 3pm

 

Nixon in China

Glasgow | Sat 22 Feb 2020, 7.15pm

Edinburgh | Sat 29 Feb 2020, 7.15pm

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Edinburgh | Sat 4 Apr 2020,7.15pm

Glasgow | Sat 25 Apr 2020, 7.15pm

 

The Gondoliers

Glasgow | Sat 23 May 2020, 7.15pm

Aberdeen | Sat 30 May 2020, 7.15pm

Inverness | Sat 6 Jun 2020, 7.15pm

Edinburgh | Sat 13 Jun 2020, 2.30pm

 

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

(1.15pm for The Gondoliers on 13 Jun 2020).

Images: James Glossop

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: 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

REVIEW: Anthropocene – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh’s fourth work for Scottish Opera (and their first full-length opera) received its world premiere in Glasgow last night. While Anthropocene delivers on many levels, it isn’t quite the perfect package…yet. There’s fantastic potential for thrills and chills both dramatically and musically, but there’s an overriding feeling that the narrative and expected tension of the subject matter has been sacrificed due to uneven pacing.

Entrepreneur Harry King has financed a polar expedition on his state of the art vessel, King’s Anthropocene, an expedition to explore the origins of life on earth. As the ice encroaches, the team become trapped, tensions rise among the small crew and an eerie discovery emerges from the frozen depths.

While Act One firmly establishes each character, it outstays its welcome by a good twenty minutes: there’s unnecessary repetitive padding of the libretto and a uniform musical tone that fails to grip. On the reverse side, its final act comes to its denouement at a break-neck speed. That said there are some hauntingly beautiful musical moments, most particularly at the hands of Jennifer France as the being from the ice. Her gorgeous, ethereal soprano sends shivers down the spine. Less successful both dramatically and vocally are Mark Le Brocq’s Harry King and Sarah Champion as King’s daughter Daisy – each is underpowered vocally and over-acting dramatically.

Samal Blak’s set and costume design, while functional, lacks the necessary detail that keeps the attention for the duration of a full-length work. Matthew Richardson’s direction is functional rather than original or thrilling.

The explorational of our Anthropocene age, science and technology interwoven with ancient beliefs and a touch of Frankenstein, all seem thrilling on paper, and it would have been a stunner had the dramatic potential been fully exploited. It feels like a case of what might have been.

Runs until 26 January at The Theatre Royal, Glasgow, then tours to The King’s Theatre, Edinburgh and the Hackney Empire, London.

IMAGES: James Glossop

 

 

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

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