Opera Scotland

Vie Parisienne 1985Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Vie Parisienne

The company took a couple of decades to get round to a full scale staging of an Offenbach operetta, and on the whole it went very well. Graham Vick's subsequent reputation has tended to place him at the serious end of the market, but he usually managed to find an appropriate sense of style with lighter repertoire. Perhaps this was a bit ponderous at the start of the run, but it did sharpen up later on. Alexander Gibson had little experience with Offenbach - the group of productions mounted by Sadler's Wells came after his move north. But it all sounded excellent.

Central to the enterprise was the new translation by John Wells. Some found it all a bit risqué and at the same time laboured, but in general it worked well. He continued his association with Scottish Opera by directing the revival in 1987 and collaborating with John Mauceri and Jonathan Miller on Bernstein's Candide the following year. Finally, he produced a second Offenbach translation, La belle Hélène. One feature of this new version was his decision to translate the names of the principal characters, emphasising the gleefully suggestive nature of the originals. Thus Gardefeu became Holdfire and Bobinet was transformed into Little Willie. Métella, a courtesan ('Mettez-là'), became Poppy Teane, an actress. The Swedish aristocrats took the name  of Soerkelpahr, which somehow sounded much funnier when pronounced in a fake Swedish accent, as mastered by Alan Opie, and even more (at the revival) by Andrew Shore.

The casting was fine - Alan Oke and Robert Dean found an excellent sense of roguishness for the two men about town. Anne-Marie Owens played a role very different from her subsequent parts, and the Brazilian was played by the previous year's Calaf - a Brazilian.


Scottish Opera's Season - 1985/86

Scottish Opera's 1985/86 season consisted of ten operas. The company's new productions ranged through Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro), Weber (Oberon), Verdi (Il trovatore), Offenbach (La Vie parisienne) and Weill (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny). The previous season's Orlando had further performances outside Glasgow, while the revivals were The Magic FluteWertherTosca and The Turn of the Screw.  For Christmas there was a revival of Fiddler on the Roof.  In the spring there was a medium-scale tour of Tales of Hoffmann. The small-scall Opera-Go-Round tour in the autumn took the form of a new (and very different) staging of Tosca.

Performance Cast

Bobinet nephew and heir of a Duchess

Alan Oke

Raoul Vicomte de Gardefeu, friend of Bobinet

Robert Dean

Station Master

Alexander Morrison

Métella a courtesan

Anne-Marie Owens

Gontran a Cabinet Minister

Colin Hills

Joseph an official guide, formerly Raoul's valet

John Brackenridge

Baron Gondremarck of Sweden

Alan Opie

Baroness Christine Gondremarck's wife

Beverley Mills

Brazilian a millionaire

Eduardo Alvares

Alphonse Raoul's butler

David Morrison

Gabrielle a glove-maker

Kate Flowers

Pauline the Duchess's maid

Elaine MacKillop

Horace the Duchess's footman

Eduardo Alvares

Alfred head waiter at the Café Anglais

Ian McKinven

Frick a cobbler

Eduardo Alvares

Performance DatesVie Parisienne 1985

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

4 Sep, 19.15 7 Sep, 19.15 10 Sep, 19.15 12 Sep, 19.15 14 Sep, 14.15 8 Nov, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

13 Nov, 19.15 15 Nov, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

20 Nov, 19.15 23 Nov, 19.15

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

27 Nov, 19.15 30 Nov, 19.15

Empire Theatre, Liverpool | Liverpool

4 Dec, 19.15 7 Dec, 19.15

Apollo Theatre | Oxford

12 Dec, 19.15 14 Dec, 19.15

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