Opera Scotland

Oprichnik 1992Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Oprichnik

The 1992 Festival was the first under the direction of Brian McMaster, and the operatic element, cobbled together at short notice, had a makeshift air - the performances acted out included a double bill of Il maestro di cappella, performed by Claudio Desderi, followed by La voix humaine, featuring the stage farewell of Elisabeth Söderström. Opera North brought Tchaikovsky's Yolanta, which was overshadowed by Matthew Bourne's new version of Nutcracker, which served to recreate the original pairing from a hundred years before. Apart from these, operatic interest lay in concert performances.

This opera is one of those grand historical pageants with a basis in historical events which were hugely popular subjects for Russian opera of the nineteenth century. It was successful at its first performances, but came very early in Tchaikovsky's operatic output. It was contemporaneous with the production of Boris Godunov. And for a modern audience, that identifies the problem, for by comparison, Tchaikovsky's characters and situations are little more than cardboard, and he very sensibly suppressed the work when his own talents developed.

The performance was a rousing one, and generally enjoyable, but gave the impression of being under-rehearsed. Anne Collins gave a beautifully sung performance in the leading trouser role of Basmanov, Ludmila Nam and Galina Gorchakova also gave vividly dramatic renderings of their roles. The main drawback came with the vocal state of the tenor, who was almost voiceless from halfway through the evening.

Performance DatesOprichnik 1992

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Usher Hall | Edinburgh

20 Aug, 19.30

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