Opera Scotland

Elisir d'amore 2016Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Elixir of Love

Scottish Opera's medium scale work, touring smaller venues, is a new treatment of The Elixir of Love. Derek Clark, the company's Head of Music, has adapted the score for a small pit band, and there is even an ensemble of five singers to provide the chorus elements.

L'elisir d'amore has had two main-stage productions from Scottish Opera, firstly by Graham Vick, then Giles Havergal, since it last went out on tour. Some may think this is surprising given that it is such a charming and intimate little comedy. The version used here has a pit band of five players (string trio of violin, viola and cello, plus horn and guitar). This generally provided a satisfactory substitute for the full score - Donizetti's horn writing is always particularly important, and the guitar provided an excellent substitute for several instruments, including the harp. For the first six performances, the conductor is new Music Director Stuart Stratford, and he is undoubtedly the first 'top man' to have taken up the challenge of visiting some outlying parts of the country. He may not usually be associated with this repertoire, but has recently conducted L'elisir in Australia, and led a stylish performance.

The staging by Oliver Platt owed much to the style of P G Wodehouse - an English stately home between the wars. Adina was very much the lady of the manor, with Nemorino a gardener. Giannetta as usual led the chorus, who provided familiar Wodehousian essentials such as butler, chef, and so on, as well as Belcore's recruits. They had one further costume change as news of Nemorino's inheritance breaks - the male chorus members cross-dressing as harpies who would have eaten the poor lad for breakfast had not Adina come galloping to the rescue. The only uneasy element in Oliver Townsend's design was the costume for the Sergeant - a Ruritanian effort that looked out of place.

This cast was excellent. As well as taking young performers to parts of the country they would not otherwise reach, the tour gives them excellent training. This team includes two of the company's current crop of Emerging Artists, in Hazel McBain and Elgan Llyr Thomas. He delivered a thoroughly accomplished 'Una furtiva lagrima'. Ellie Laugharne was a self-possessed Adina, clearly more fashionably dressed that everyone else. Toby Girling was a lively newcomer as Belcore, and it was particularly good to see James Cleverton, in a first appearance with Scottish Opera some twenty years after he trained at the RSAMD. He was an appropriately irrepressible Dulcamara, who had great fun with his entry song, in Kelley Rourke's ribald English version. Whether he will be able to arrive by bike at smaller venues, as he did in Stirling, remains to be seen.

The venues are Motherwell, Stirling, Elgin, Ullapool, Stornoway, Thurso, Drumnadrochit, Ellon, Langholm, Newton Stewart, Kilmarnock, Greenock, Oban, St Andrews, Perth, Galashiels and Musselburgh.

Performance Cast

Adina a wealthy farm owner

Ellie Laugharne

Nemorino a young peasant

Elgan Llýr Thomas

Belcore a sergeant

Toby Girling

Dulcamara a quack doctor

James Cleverton

Giannetta a peasant girl

Hazel McBain

Performance DatesElisir d'amore 2016

Map List

Motherwell Theatre | Motherwell

21 Sep, 19.30

MacRobert Arts Centre | Stirling

24 Sep, 19.30

Town Hall, Elgin | Elgin, Moray

26 Sep, 19.30

Macphail Theatre | Ullapool

29 Sep, 19.30

An Lanntair | Stornoway, Lewis

1 Oct, 19.30

Thurso High School | Thurso, Caithness

4 Oct, 19.30

Craigmonie Centre | Drumnadrochit, Inverness-shire

6 Oct, 19.30

Haddo House Hall | Ellon, Aberdeenshire

8 Oct, 19.30

Buccleuch Centre | Langholm

11 Oct, 19.30

Cinema, Newton Stewart | Newton Stewart

13 Oct, 19.30

Palace Theatre | Kilmarnock

15 Oct, 19.30

Corran Hall | Oban, Argyll

20 Oct, 19.30

Byre Theatre | St Andrews

22 Oct, 19.30

Perth Concert Hall | Perth

25 Oct, 19.30

Volunteer Hall, Galashiels | Galashiels

27 Oct, 19.30

Brunton Theatre | Musselburgh, East Lothian

29 Oct, 19.30

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