Opera Scotland

Assassin Tree 2006Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Assassin Tree

The 2006 Edinburgh International Festival was the last under the distinguished direction of Brian McMaster, though his skills in achieving a fascinating balance of music, theatre, dance and opera were undiminished. Undoubtedly the hottest tickets were for Claudio Abbado's final operatic performances in Edinburgh, in Die Zauberflöte. The Opéra de Lyon made a welcome return with Peter Stein's production of Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa and a double-bill of two Weill pieces, The Lindbergh Flight and The Seven Deadly Sins. The Festival mounted the world premiere of Stuart MacRae's first opera, The Assassin Tree, in a co-production with Covent Garden. In addition, three operas appeared in concert - Elektra to open and Mastersingers to close. Between those came a revelatory performance of Rossini's Lady of the Lake.

Little more than an hour in duration may seem short measure for an evening, but The Assassin Tree is a very dense piece with plenty to say, even if, ultimately, it lacks the clarity of vision that a more experienced composer might have brought to it. The theme is the ancient one, evident in many cultures, of the need to kill an elderly ruler to bring about an orderly succession. With a quartet of soloists and band of fifteen, it could, perhaps with a bit of tweaking, become a usable commodity for other companies in a less elaborate staging than the one served up on this occasion, though some of the effects were superb. Rather than perform a revised version of this work, Scottish Opera got MacRae to start from scratch, and Remembrance Day and Ghost Patrol both benefited from his experience.

Performance DatesAssassin Tree 2006

Map List

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

25 Aug, 20.00 26 Aug, 20.00 27 Aug, 20.00

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