Opera Scotland

Signor Bruschino 2016Raucous Rossini

Read more about the opera Signor Bruschino

Raucous Rossini return with this year's offering, a further exploration of Rossini's early one-act farces - Signor Bruschino. This is the first performance of this fizzing piece in Scotland since the 1969 Edinburgh Festival. As with L'inganno felice last year, a short Scottish tour is followed by a brief visit to the south of England and then a week in Italy. As before, the performers are all young, and largely Glasgow-trained.

The second performance was in the hall at Hill of Tarvit, an Edwardian country house in Fife,  near Cupar, and rather more compact than they experienced in the opening night at Paisley Abbey. The mansion fell a victim to the swingeing cuts imposed on the National Trust for Scotland a few years ago, when it was mothballed. Recently re-opened, there is now a challenge to restore visitor numbers at a highly attractive venue. Bringing in small performance groups will certainly be an excellent way to achieve this, though it will take time and hard work from management.

The hall allowed an intimate style of presentation - no scenery, and simple costumes in commedia dell'arte style, with the characters in a complicated plot clearly differentiated. The excellent eighteen-piece band, led at this performance by Tessa Henderson, were spread out behind the playing area, conducted in sprightly fashion by Max Fane.

The singers were all confident and on good form, clearly thoroughly enjoying themselves. A new recruit was the lead soprano, Charlie Drummond, familiar from several excellent performances at the Conservatoire. She has a rich-toned and lyrical voice and sailed through her technically demanding music with ease. The tenor Kieran White, as her lover Florville, has a sweet tone and was a neat and attractive actor.

The other roles perhaps present greater difficulties for young performers who are in a confined playing area right next to the audience. Playing the older characters presents obvious problems, but any lack of subtlety in movement was easily forgiven. Without exception the singing was excellent, with Colin Murray in dominant form as the much-tried gout-ridden father. David Horton managed his awkward role of outwitted guardian, with several unexpectedly serious moments, very well. The other parts - Emma Mockett as Marianna, Andrew Forbes Kennedy as the Innkeeper and director Nathan Jenkins doubling the other two characters - fitted well into what was a true ensemble performance. The enthusiastic audience clearly greatly enjoyed this unusual midsummer treat.

At Hill of Tarvit, they also presented an attractive matinee concert consisting of the clarinet concerto by Mozart (soloist Ross Montgomerie) with Elgar's Serenade for Strings, Rossini's overture to Signor Bruschino, as a taster for the main event, and his Variations for Clarinet and Small Orchestra, transcribed for oboe, with excellent soloist Clara Lafuente Garcia.  The audience sat entranced throughout the performance, which was of an impressively high standard.

Performance DatesSignor Bruschino 2016

Map List

Paisley Abbey | Paisley

13 Jul, 19.30

Hill of Tarvit | Cupar, Fife

14 Jul, 19.30

Kippen Parish Church | Stirling

16 Jul, 19.30

St Michael and All Saints | Edinburgh

17 Jul, 15.30

Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow | Glasgow

19 Jul, 20.00

Longhope | Newton Valence

21 Jul, 00.00

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