Opera Scotland

Midsummer Night's Dream 2013Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Read more about the opera Midsummer Night's Dream

January was the month for the annual collaboration between Scottish Opera and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, here in its eighth year. Usually the main roles were double cast, with one set doing the first night in Glasgow, the other opening in Edinburgh. This time the opening team added a central performance in Inverness.

There was a time when scarcely a season passed without Scottish Opera performing one of Britten's chamber pieces. Britten's work it seems is still not considered good box office and more recently they have been left to students at the Conservatoire, who, to judge from the recent Albert Herring and Rape of Lucretia, can cope very well. They were helped on this occasion by a sensible decision to use the more intimate King's Theatre for the Edinburgh performances. For the first time this January enterprise ventured outside the central belt, though it was perhaps not ideal that such an atmospheric work as the Dream, in a visually inventive production, should only be semi-staged at Inverness. The production by Olivia Fuchs was imported from Covent Garden, though it was a suitably intimate affair, originating in the Linbury Studio (2005 vintage), rather than the main house.

In the event, things went very well. The set consisted of two cabinets - on the right, a four decker where the lovers slept, actions beautifully co-ordinated. To the left a single decker for Bottom and Tytania. A couple of stout ropes dangled from the flies, for the almost exclusive use of Puck. Timothy Dean drew a lyrical performance from the orchestra, supplying all the woodland atmosphere that the setting lacked, and the large group of fairies, girls nowadays as well as boys, contributed with enthusiasm and vocal accuracy. There were no obvious weaknesses in the cast, with particularly good performances from Tom Verney and Elinor Rolfe Johnson as Oberon and Tytania. Two other actors dominated proceedings. Andrew McTaggart was superb as Bottom, and Jami Reid-Quarrell's Puck was simply astonishing, with a fearlessly confident exhibition of gymnastics largely on ropes, frequently at height.

The only real weakness, which may not have affected all audience members, was the tiresome overuse of neon lighting strips on the cabinets and above - very wearing on the eyes after even a few minutes, and most unpleasant over an entire evening.

Performance Cast

Puck Oberon's servant

Jami Reid-Quarrell

Tytania Queen of the Fairies

Elinor Rolfe Johnson (Jan 25, 29; Feb 1)

Louise Kemény (Jan 26, 31)

Oberon King of the Fairies

Tom Verney

Lysander in love with Hermia

Andreas Backlund (Jan 25, 29; Feb 1)

Raoni Hübner (Jan 26, 29)

Hermia in love with Lysander

Catriona Morison (Jan 25, 29; Feb 1)

Laura Margaret Smith (Jan 26, 31)

Demetrius in love with Hermia

Daniel O'Connor (Jan 25, 29; Feb 1)

Jon Stainsby (Jan 26, 31)

Helena in love with Demetrius

Anush Hovhannisyan (Jan 25, 29; Feb 1)

Jessica Leary (Jan 26, 31)

Peter Quince a carpenter

Bartholomew Lawrence

Snug a joiner

Andrew Tipple

Robin Starveling a tailor

Brian McBride

Francis Flute a bellows-mender

Rónan Busfield

Tom Snout a tinker

Jonathan Cooke

Nick Bottom a weaver

Andrew McTaggart

Theseus Duke of Athens

Dominic Barberi

Hippolyta Queen of the Amazons

Elfa Stefánsdóttir

Peaseblossom a fairy

Adam Stewart

Cobweb a fairy

Lewis Kerr

Mustardseed a fairy

Catriona Walker

Moth a fairy

Ava McGuire

Performance DatesMidsummer Night's Dream 2013

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

25 Jan, 19.15 26 Jan, 19.15

Eden Court Theatre | Inverness

29 Jan, 19.15

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

31 Jan, 19.15 1 Feb, 19.15

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