Opera Scotland

Theodora 2003Glyndebourne on Tour

Read more about the opera Theodora

Given the general failure of Theodora, a wonderful music drama, to catch the British public's imagination in the two hundred and fifty years following its launch, it may be that this was its Scottish premiere. If so, then we have been missing out on something of a masterpiece.

Whether the Peter Sellars staging from 1996 quite shows it at its best is debatable. The chorus have an important role, but struggle to make the constant synchronized semaphoring required of them anything more than irritating.

For the most part, the production, when it concentrates on the principals, works as an intimate human drama, with all the emotional tensions clearly delineated. The best of the cast were the exceptional Christine Rice as an earnest and sympathetic Irene; and Paul Nilon as Septimius. He is an interesting character, torn between his loyalties to his friend, a Christian martyr, and his Roman world still tied to the old gods.

One major complaint about this event was the start time. As with Poro at the recent Edinburgh Festival (with the same conductor), there was an unfortunate and undesirable return to habits of old, where audience members used to leave before the end to catch last trains and buses. If this had been a romantic warhorse by Wagner or Strauss the kick-off would undoubtedly have been earlier to allow everyone to enjoy the horribly cathartic climax to this masterwork.

Performance Cast

Valens President of Antioch

Henry Waddington

Septimius a Roman officer, and friend of Didymus

Paul Nilon

Didymus a Roman officer, secretly converted by, and in love with, Theodora

Stephen Wallace

Theodora Princess of Antioch, a Christian

Anne-Lise Sollied

Irene friend of Theodora, a Christian

Christine Rice

Performance DatesTheodora 2003

Map List

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

11 Dec, 19.00

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