Opera Scotland

Orfeo ed Euridice 1996Mark Morris Dance Group

Read more about the opera Orpheus and Euridice

The 1996 Festival saw an interesting experiment in the staging of Gluck operas. Two were provided, Orfeo ed Euridice and Iphigénie en Tauride. Both contained much to enjoy musically, but the effect on the drama was somewhat mixed. This was simply because both stagings relied on dance to an extent far greater than envisaged by the composer. Indeed for Iphigénie, the singers were banished to the stage boxes, reducing their impact to allow for Pina Bausch's choreography.

The other operatic events of this Festival were the eagerly awaited world premiere of James MacMillan's Inés de Castro, a rare appearance for Virgil Thomson's Four Saints in Three Acts, and a somewhat superfluous concert performance of Fidelio. The concert ptogramme also included a superb cast in Mendelssohn's Elijah.

Mark Morris, with his wonderful company of dancers, was, for a number of years, a hugely admired and popular visitor to Edinburgh, and not just at Festival-time. He had a recognised talent for producing dance-based interpretations of baroque works, most notably Handel's L'Allegro, Il penseroso ed Il moderato and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. This Orfeo did not quite reach that standard, being rather too fidgety for some tastes. The chorus impact was reduced, as they stood to the side of the stage, in formal concert dress.

However there was a great deal to enjoy, with excellent singing (and involved acting) from the three principals. The wonderful musicians of the venerable Handel & Haydn Society of Boston, Massachusetts, were beautifully directed by Christopher Hogwood, in what was his only operatic appearance in Scotland.

Performance DatesOrfeo ed Euridice 1996

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Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

16 Aug, 19.30 17 Aug, 19.30 19 Aug, 19.30 20 Aug, 19.30

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