Opera Scotland

Mavra 2016Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

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The approach of spring is marked by the RCS with the production of a double-bill of 20th century operatic comedies under the title Two Russian Tales.

The first, Stravinsky's half-hour long farcical folk-tale Mavra, is derived from Pushkin, like so many other more important Russian operas. It is an excellent vehicle for students, last tackled by them here in 2002 in a delightfully bright and breezy period staging that worked even in the vast space of the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

This time round it was an altogether less ambitious affair, in a small studio venue. 

There was a simple platform set, representing a modern, but distinctly basic, kitchen. While it still worked as a farcical comedy, with fully-committed performances all round, it didn't quite have the expected impact at the opening performance. Kenneth Reid showed off his sweet-toned tenor and the lyric soprano of Victoria Stevens is also developing nicely. The two mezzo voices were clearly differentiated and projected pithy renderings of the Russian text.

What was also never in doubt was the super contribution by the sextet of musicians under Derek Clark's crisp direction, placed to the left of the stage.

The second of the Russian Tales was Chekhov's witty short story The Bear, as interpreted by Wiliam Walton. It is twice the length of the Stravinsky, and on this occasion it seemed much the more substantial piece.

Performance DatesMavra 2016

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Alexander Gibson Opera Studio (RCS) | Glasgow

27 Feb, 19.15 28 Feb, 19.15 2 Mar, 19.15 5 Mar, 19.15

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