Opera Scotland

Masked Ball 2015Tayside Opera

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 During its forty years of activity, Tayside Opera has four times presented Verdi’s A Masked Ball, based on the assassination of the Swedish King in 1792. Their first production, in 1975, featured a young Donald Maxwell as the sailor, while the 1991 version had the well-known tenor David Hillman singing Gustavus for the first time, shortly before his retirement. It is a relatively little known work, so this frequency of performance may seem surprising. But it is full of great melodies, has dramatic situations, and a sense of mordant wit. The choice is therefore easy to justify.

The company nowadays performs in a much simplified style – semi-staged with minimal sets and costumes, (though the gibbet sported a better looking corpse than most full-scale productions) and with piano accompaniment. This allows them to tour more easily round the Tayside region, which must be a definite gain, and this time they played Perth and Brechin before finishing in Dundee. They also now avoid theatres and concert halls, electing to use more intimate spaces. It is, of course, to be hoped that circumstances may one day allow the company to return to full-scale work.

This performance gained much of its enjoyment from the combined efforts of conductor Richard Johnston and pianist Robert Duncan, who provided an atmospheric accompaniment. The generally excellent soloists were led by Mike Towers as the king. The women were particularly stylish – Frances Taylor (Amelia), Moira Docherty (Oscar) and Barbara Scott (Ulrica).

Performance Cast

Count Ribbing a conspirator (Sam)

Michael Turner

Count Horn a conspirator (Tom)

Russell Malcolm

Oscar page to Gustavus (Edgar)

Moira Docherty

Gustavus III King of Sweden (Riccardo)

Mike Towers

Anckarström friend to the king (Renato)

Alister Allan

Lord Chief Justice

Philip Kearns

Mamzell Arvidson a fortune-teller (Ulrica)

Barbara Scott

Christian a sailor (Silvano)

Andreas Ottenberg

Servant to Amelia

Eleanor Smith

Amelia wife of Anckarström (Adelia)

Frances Taylor

Performance DatesMasked Ball 2015

Map List

Perth Oasis | Perth

15 May, 19.30

Mechanics' Institute, Brechin | Brechin, Angus

16 May, 19.30

Dundee West Church | Dundee

17 May, 19.30

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