Opera Scotland

Jonathan Dove's Operas in Scotland

Posted 8 Jan 2024

Jonathan Dove's comic opera Flight, with a libretto by April De Angelis, must be counted as one of the most popular and successful operas of recent years, having had many stagings all over the world.  The events are dominated by a resident refugee, the airport controller, two airline staff, and various passengers awaiting departure.

The  premiere took place at Glyndebourne on 24 September 1998 before joining that Autumn's tour.  The first performance in Scotland was by students at the (then) RSAMD on 24 June 2006.  Timothy Dean conducted the production by Will Kerley.  The first soloists included Reno Troilus (Refugee), Carla Caramujo (Controller), Chris Elliott (Bill) and Helene Dahlberg (Tina).

A new generation of students at the Conservatoire mounted a second staging on 12 March 2022.  This time the conductor was Matthew Kofi Waldren and director James Bonas.  The opening cast featured Matt Paine (Refugee), Rosalind Dobson (Controller), Cameron Mitchell (Bill) and Claudia Haussmann (Tina).

Meanwhile Scottish Opera also mounted a production, opening at Glasgow Theatre Royal on 17 February 2018. Stephen Barlow's staging was conducted by Stuart Stratford.  The cast was led by James Laing (Refugee), Jennifer France (Controller), Peter Auty (Bill) and Stephanie Corley (Tina).  This soloists also featured Marie McLaughlin (Older Woman), Stephen Gadd (Minskman) and Victoria Simmonds (Minskwoman).


The Adventures of Pinnocchio, with a libretto by Alasdair Middleton, was launched by Opera North at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, on 21 December 2007.  With its huge cast (26 solo roles directed by Martin Duncan), it came to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on 27 October 2010.

David Parry conducted, with  Victoria Simmonds (Pinocchio), Jonathan Summers (Geppetto), Nicky Spence (Arlecchino), Rebecca Bottone (Cricket), Mark Wilde (Cat), James Laing (Fox) and Fflur Wyn (Blue Fairy).


Jonathan Dove and Alasdair Middleton collaborated on an adaptation of one of Jane Austen's classic novels.  Mansfield Park was commissioned as a chamber piece scored for two pianos with a cast of ten. Heritage Opera gave the first performance at Boughton House on 30 July 2011.

The Scottish premiere, by Edinburgh Studio Opera, was given at Edinburgh Academy on 15 August 2016, as part of the Festival Fringe.  Directed by Rebecca Meltzer, the cast included Eva MacFarlne (Fanny Price), Jack Sandison (Sir Thomas Bertram), Megan Cormack (Lady Bertram), Euros Campbell (Edmund) and Emma Mockett (Mrs Norris).

A second staging was given by Byre Opera at the Laidlaw Music Centre, St Andrews, opening on 23 June 2023.  Tania Holland-Williams directed, with Rebecca Black (Fanny), Ben McAteer (Sir Thomas), Sarah Pring (Lady Bertram), Brannon Liston-Smith (Edmund) and Sharonne Specker (Mrs Norris).


The Day After has a text by April De Angelis, and is a chamber opera that takes a rather more serious view of flight than in their first collaboration.  In little more than an hour the plot presents the classical Greek legend of Phaeton, son of Phoebus Apollo.  In this case the miscalculation involves the Sun coming too close to Earth, with thought-provoking results.

The work was premiered in Utrecht in 2015, before being taken up by ENO.  The Scottish premiere was a student production in the Alexander Gibson Studio at the Conservatoire.  Conducted by Philip White in a staging by Jamie Manton, the leading roles were taken by Pedro Ometto (Phoebus/Old Man), David Lynn (Phaeton/ Young Man) and Julia Daramy-Williams (Young Woman).


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