Opera Scotland

Carmen 2014Fife Opera

Read more about the opera Carmen

Fife Opera's Carmen showed welcome ambition. The company has always managed a judicious mix in its programming, generally alternating unusual works with standard repertoire. The injection of some new blood with plenty of healthy young voices in an expanded chorus also encouraged the company to follow last year's Suor Angelica with a real popular favourite in Carmen. These factors, along with the excellent teams of children (singing two performances each) brought about healthy ticket sales, with the last two performances playing to sold-out and enthusiastic houses.

Events were led from the pit by new music director Alistair Digges who drew a vigorous and stylish account of the score from the spirited twenty-seven piece band, using Tony Burke's reduction of the score. New director Peter Easson marshalled his forces effectively, avoiding any sense of overcrowding. Sets were simple but entirely appropriate, and the lighting was atmospheric in the last two scenes - only the tavern setting seemed overlit, with no suggestion that the action is either indoors or at night.

The company managed to field two teams of principals alternating in most of the leading roles. They were the expected combination of talented local amateurs and recent Conservatoire students. The matinee cast was consistently good. While Marcia McDougall may not have the dark lower tones of the ideal Carmen, particularly in the card scene, she also had the sense not to force them, and fulfilled every other requirement. Ian McBain, with a baritonal timbre to his tenor, had no problem with the lyricism required in the Flower song, but had all the power needed when unhinged at the end, and didn't tire at all. Jennifer Craig was also excellent, and James Corrigan, who alone of the principals sang at every performance, had no problems with the notoriously awkward vocal range and was also suitably lithe and athletic.

The edition performed included the 'grand opera' recitatives provided by Guiraud after Bizet's death, which can sound a bit clunky nowadays. The same is no doubt true of the antique translation of Henry Hersee, even after the modifications supplied a century or so ago by Herman Klein.

However these are small matters when considering an excellent performance. There was much to enjoy from what seems to be at present the healthiest of the few purely amateur groups currently active in Scotland.

Performance Cast

Moralès a corporal of dragoons

Steven Mackie

Micaëla a peasant girl

Amy Strachan (Nov 5, 7)

Jennifer Craig (Nov 6, 8)

Don José a corporal of dragoons

Luke Sinclair (Nov 5, 7)

Ian McBain (Nov 6, 8)

Zuniga a lieutenant of dragoons

Malcolm Crosby

Carmen a gypsy

Barbara Scott (Nov 5, 7)

Marcia McDougall (Nov 6, 8)

Frasquita a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Victoria Atkinson (Nov 5, 7)

Frances Taylor (Nov 6, 8)

Mercédès a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Margaret Sharp (Nov 5, 7)

Natalie O'Reilly (Nov 6, 8)

Escamillo a toreador

James Corrigan

Dancaïre a smuggler

Tony Pearce

Remendado a smuggler

Russell Malcolm

Performance DatesCarmen 2014

Map List

Adam Smith Theatre | Kirkcaldy

5 Nov, 19.15 6 Nov, 19.15 7 Nov, 19.15 8 Nov, 15.00

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