Opera Scotland

Fidelio 1994Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Fidelio

Scottish Opera’s 1994-5 season opened at the Edinburgh Festival with a new production of Fidelio. The Glasgow programme saw this joined by a new Maria Stuarda and a revival of Madama Butterfly. There was also a short group of performances of Tristan und Isolde, a carry-forward from the previous summer with some cast changes. At Christmas the entertainment was the final run of Iolanthe, with the New Year bringing an interesting new modern dress Marriage of Figaro. The last group of operas, in the spring, consisted of an unknown recent Russian work, Schnittke's Life With an Idiot, in a co-production with ENO, and a revival of La forza del destino along with further performances of Madama Butterfly.

The company's third staging of Fidelio, this time by Tim Albery, opened at the Edinburgh Festival. It had many good ideas, but didn't quite gel. Indeed it improved significantly on revival. The concept was updated to the mid-twentieth century - Marzelline at the ironing board in the opening scene. Rocco's house was a basic and very claustrophobic group of boxes on two levels. The following scene seemed to emphasise wide-open spaces, as though the castle was on an isolated mountain top. For the dungeon it was a return to the boxes. These were, unfortunately, awkward to light.

The cast was generally excellent, with Stafford Dean particularly effective as quite a decent Rocco and Elizabeth Whitehouse a warm-hearted Leonore. Matthew Best's Pizarro was a very controlled bureaucrat gone wrong, rather than the pantomime villain sometimes seen - a chilling impersonation. The main weakness of casting was the Florestan, who had an unpleasantly whiny tone that introduced an element of self-pity as well as suffering that failed to inspire sympathy.

As with many previous performances of this work by Scottish Opera, the chorus and orchestra were particularly effective. Under Richard Armstrong the dungeon scene also accumulated an excellent sense of tension.

Performance Cast

Jaquino Rocco's assistant

Richard Coxon

Marzelline Rocco's daughter

Ai-Lan Zhu

Rocco gaoler

Stafford Dean

Leonore Florestan's wife, disguised as Fidelio

Elizabeth Whitehouse

Don Pizarro prison governor

Matthew Best

First Prisoner

Campbell Russell

Second Prisoner

Graeme Danby

Florestan a Spanish nobleman

Michael Pabst

Don Fernando the King's Minister

Carsten Stabell (Exc Nov 24, 30; Dec 8)

Stephen Holloway (Nov 24, 30; Dec 8)

Performance DatesFidelio 1994

Map List

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

15 Aug, 19.30 17 Aug, 19.30 30 Nov, 19.15 8 Dec, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

11 Oct, 19.15 14 Oct, 19.15 22 Oct, 14.15 29 Oct, 19.15 10 Nov, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

15 Nov, 19.15 18 Nov, 19.15 24 Nov, 19.15

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