Opera Scotland

The chorus in Daphne

Daphne in Edinburgh

Posted 6 Dec 2023

Scottish Opera gave two performances of the hugely melodious Daphne, a very rare late (1937) opera by Richard Strauss, back in October, when the Glasgow audience loved it. 

The final performance of the three can be seen this Sunday afternoon, 10 December, in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. It begins at 3.00pm. The single act lasts just over an hour and a half. This production is semi-staged, so all the singers perform from memory and act out the drama - there is no scenery and costumes are taken from the company's existing stock.

The orchestra, under Stuart Stratford's direction, is large and among other festures performs some of Strauss's most beautiful writing for woodwind. In the history of opera we find many strange and exotic endings. But it is not easy to beat the final sequence of Daphne as the heroine is turned into a laurel tree. This is particularly haunting but there is plenty to enjoy in this classical Greek 'bucolic tragedy'.

The hugely demanding title role is taken by Hye-Youn Lee, now a firm favourite here following last season's Trittico production, which was nominated for an International Opera Award last month. The lead tenor is Australian Brad Cooper as the god Apollo.  Last week he had a great success in scenes from Siegfried up in Inverness, and he will be singing the entire role at next summer's Longborough Festival.

This one remaining opportunity is quite definitely not to be missed.

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