Opera Scotland

Looking back at 2013

Posted 22 Dec 2013

At this point, with the year soon to end, let us review the last twelve months.

The most notable event, it seems to us, was the professional premiere in Scotland of Donizetti's Siege of Calais (see here), given a memorable performance by English Touring Opera at the Perth Festival of the Arts. This little known and neglected work featured among others a fine performance by Helen Sherman as Aurelio.  Although there was a full enough house, it is a mystery why the theatre was not sold out.  With such a production and performance, the theatre should have been packed to the rafters.

On the main stage, Scottish Opera's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni (see here) also stands out.  Some old hands with long memories thought it the company's best attempt yet at this elusive masterpiece.

Other singers?  Amongst some splendid work, Andrew Radley as Bertarido in Rodelinda, Elizabeth Llewellyn in Simon Boccanegra and Jacques Imbrailo as Giovanni stayed long in the mind.

Arguments about the relative quality of opera productions are commonplace, but there surely can be little argument concerning the continued decline in the total number of performances on offer in Scotland.

The biggest disappointment of the year related to this year's Edinburgh International Festival. In the face of a cut of one or two per cent in the overall budget, one might have expected a reduction in the number of opera performances, which usually total thirteen or fourteen between theatre and concert hall.  But to find that our annual ration was a paltry six evenings was hard to take.  The quality too gave concern, some being mystified by the need to set Fidelio on a spaceship (see here) and the questions this raised, while others, perhaps with more justification, felt the director's inexperience of working in opera showed.

Anyway, a happy Christmas to you all and let us look forward to the New Year!


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