Opera Scotland

Falstaff 2008Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Falstaff

Scottish Opera's 2007-08 season consisted entirely of new productions, generally successful ones at that. The company was clearly still struggling financially, however. The autumn saw the start of a new relationship with the great baritone Sir Thomas Allen, who directed Il barbiere di Siviglia. The new Mozart staging was Seraglio. There was a small-scale version of Rossini's Cinderella, which toured with piano accompaniment in the autumn, then with a reduced orchestration in the spring. A Night at the Chinese Opera, the first full-length piece by Judith Weir, not yet seen in Scotland, was beautifully staged. There was also a successful new production of Verdi's Falstaff. A stimulating innovation also appeared - the first  of three runs of short new works called 5:15 - Operas Made in Scotland. The partnership with RSAMD also continued, with Eugene Onegin. There was another Highlands and Islands tour under the Essential Scottish Opera title, and the orchestra gave a group of Sunday afternoon concerts in St Andrew's in the Square.

Dominic Hill directed at the Richmond Orange Tree Theatre before moving to Dundee Rep, where he developed an excellent reputation, particularly as a director of classic plays such as The Winter's Tale, The Duchess of Malfi and Peer Gynt. His first operatic production was Macbeth for Scottish Opera-Go-Round, the success of which led to this Falstaff. By the time it opened he had moved to the Traverse in Edinburgh, and subsequently to Glasgow, to direct the Citizens' Theatre. In contrast to many directors from drama, he seemed to have a natural awareness of how opera differs, and with this Falstaff he hardly put a foot wrong. Even when he did change things it generally worked, as with the introduction from the play of Falstaff's pageboy, Robin, with whom a touching relationship developed.

As for the cast, it was hard to fault, with Peter Sidhom, not known in Scotland as a comedian, turning out to be a natural as Falstaff. The quartet of women was particularly strong, with Nocentini a sweet-voiced and youthful Alice who revealed a superb sense of comic timing. Lucy Crowe was an ideally lyrical Nannetta. It was many years since Peter Robinson had worked with the company, and this showed him to have a lovely touch with the myriad little orchestral effects.

Performance Cast

Sir John Falstaff a knight

Peter Sidhom

Pistola Pistol, a follower of Falstaff

Giles Tomkins

Bardolfo Bardolph, a follower of Falstaff

Alasdair Elliott

Robin Falstaff's page

Archie Rainey

Jacob Smith

Caius Dr Caius, a Frenchman

Peter Van Hulle

Meg Mistress Page

Leah-Marian Jones

Alice Mistress Alice Ford, wife of Ford

Maria Costanza Nocentini

Nannetta daughter of the Fords

Lucy Crowe

Quickly Mistress Quickly, a confidante of Alice and Meg

Sally Burgess

Ford a merchant of Windsor

William Dazeley

Fenton a young gentleman

Federico Lepre

Performance DatesFalstaff 2008

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

13 May, 19.15 15 May, 19.15 17 May, 19.15 21 May, 19.15 24 May, 14.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

5 Jun, 19.30 7 Jun, 19.30

Eden Court Theatre | Inverness

12 Jun, 19.15 14 Jun, 19.15

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

18 Jun, 19.15 21 Jun, 14.15 26 Jun, 19.15 28 Jun, 19.15

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