Opera Scotland

Bear 2016Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Read more about the opera Bear

The production of a double-bill of 20th century operatic comedies under the title Two Russian Tales saw the RCS students performing in the intimate studio theatre. The first piece, Stravinsky's farcical folk-tale Mavra, is an excellent vehicle for students, last tackled by them here in 2002.

This was followed by Chekhov's witty short story The Bear, as interpreted by Wiliam Walton. Two warring neighbours, a widow and a bachelor, eventually realise, after a session of insult hurling, that they are actually quite suited to one another. This is a very attractive piece, and the infrequency of performance is hard to understand.

On the opening night, Derek Clark produced a delightfully witty account of the melodious score from a chamber orchestra of students.

Of the first cast, Alexey Gusev produced some beautifully lyrical singing as the tortured neighbour on the verge of bankruptcy. Smirnov could seem merely a gold-digger, but Gusev emphasised the sympathetic side of the character, even when desperate.

Penelope Cousland produced her beautifully-schooled low mezzo effectively. The vocal duelling between the two characters was great fun and never became merely raucous.

Ciprian Serban, with a light-toned bass voice, also made an effective appearance as the servant - not the usual grizzled family retainer, but a youthful figure.

All three projected the text by Paul Dehn with great clarity.

Performance Cast

Yeliena Ivanova Popova a wealthy widow

Penelope Cousland (Feb 27; Mar 2)

Jane Monari (Feb 29; Mar 5)

Grigory Stepanovitch Smirnov Popova's neighbour

Alexey Gusev (Feb 27; Mar 2)

Euros Campbell (Feb 29; Mar 5)

Luka Madame Popova's manservant

Ciprian Serban


Thomas Chenhall


Charlotte Heslop

Performance DatesBear 2016

Map List

Alexander Gibson Opera Studio (RSAMD) | Glasgow

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

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