Opera Scotland

Schauspieldirektor 2012Melos Opera

Read more about the opera Schauspieldirektor

Now that the Fringe opens a week before the International Festival, there is a clear opportunity for enterprising groups to put on appropriate operas as an appetizer. Mozart's Impresario was a piece of froth designed as an after-dinner entertainment, which has never achieved great popularity. It was his last operatic composition before the appearance of Figaro, and two of his favourite virtuoso sopranos, clearly both possessing a keen sense of the ridiculous, were available, along with a decent tenor and a team of actors. Mozart's music is of extremely high quality, and technically demanding, but the sections of spoken drama are perhaps less easy to bring off nowadays.

St Augustine's is conveniently located on George IV Bridge between the National Library and the Chamber Street Museum, and its downstairs hall (not quite a crypt) comfortably seats an audience of 102. There was room in one corner of the stage for an excellent band of eleven players and the conductor, while the four singers had plenty of space to move around. It was all neatly staged. Most of the performers were of student age, with well-schooled instruments (orchestral and vocal). The two sopranos, necessarily, had more mature voices, to match the difficulty of their music.

For this enterprising project the play was largely rewritten so that the five straight acting parts disappeared and the title-role of Frank, usually all speech, was merged with that of the buffo baritone, in the original called, appropriately, Buff. In this generally witty new version he became Frank Squallido, a distinctly cynical theatrical fixer. The part of the operatic tenor Vogelsang was repositioned as Frank's assistant, who, like his boss, only reveals his vocal talents late in the day. An unnecessary confusion for anyone vaguely familiar with the piece was the new name he was given - Buff - but this would hardly have been a problem for most of the packed audience. The two diva roles were less affected by the rewriting, and have very challenging music to perform, not all heartfelt for Mme Herz, and not all empty display for Mlle 'Silverton'. Both sopranos made light of the difficulties, and the men were excellent, with the tenor joining the climactic trio and the baritone making up the final quartet. Performance 7 August

Altogether a refreshing event to get the Festival under way.

Performance Cast


Bradley Smith

Frank an impresario

Sam Carl

Mme Herz a prima donna

Nazan Fikret

Mlle Silberklang a prima donna

Victoria Atkinson

Performance DatesSchauspieldirektor 2012

Map List

Paradise in Augustine's | Edinburgh

5 Aug, 19.15 6 Aug, 19.15 7 Aug, 19.15 8 Aug, 19.15 9 Aug, 19.15 10 Aug, 19.15 11 Aug, 19.15 12 Aug, 19.15

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