Opera Scotland

Essential Scottish Opera 2004Scottish Opera

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The 2003-04 season of Scottish Opera was dominated by its opening event. Tim Albery's production of Der Ring des Nibelungen had been assembled during the three previous Edinburgh Festivals. The 2003 Festival was the culmination of this process, with complete cycles performed. After this intensive sequence of two Edinburgh cycles, the company moved on to give two in Glasgow and a final one at the recently opened Lowry at Salford Quays.

For non-Wagnerites, the rest of the season consisted of new productions of The Magic Flute and La bohème with a revival of Aïda. There was also an intimate staging of Eugene Onegin - with piano in the autumn and a small band in the spring. The Essential Scottish Opera team made its annual tour of the Highlands and Islands. A distinct novelty was a new piece composed specifically for children - on a larger scale than the company's previous works of this kind, The Minotaur by Julian Evans toured with a small orchestra.

The line-up for this particular journey the length and breadth of the country was perhaps unusual, in that there is no tenor, but a second, contrasting, soprano instead. The programme clearly has some quite unusual features as a result, including the Figaro Letter Duet, Carmen trio and 'Three little maids'.

Perhaps of even greater importance is the presence of the brilliant young mezzo Karen Cargill. She was clearly, even at this early stage of her professional career, an outstanding talent with huge potential, shown by her Hansel, Charlotte, Carmen, Lucretia and Octavian, as well as her brief contributions as Quickly, Annina and Pitti-Sing.

As the token male, Daniel Jordan more than held his own, with excellent serious work as Aleko, Germont and Tarquinius, contrasting with Leporello, Malatesta and Pooh-Bah.

The pianists on these tours work hard and need to switch between the various idioms instantly, and Ian Shaw managed that very well, within the context of a staging cleverly masterminded by Mark Hathaway.

The programme, a judiciously chosen mixture, was as follows:

Part 1

Vaughan Williams Sir John in Love 'Sigh no more, ladies' (EC, AM, KC)

Mozart Don Giovanni 'Madamina' (DJ)

Handel Giulio Cesare 'Piangerò la sorte mia' (EC)

Humperdinck Hansel and Gretel 'Little brother, dance with me' (AM, KC)

Donizetti Don Pasquale 'Signorina, in tante fretta' (DJ)

Massenet Werther 'Werther.....ces lettres' (KC)

Mozart The Marriage of Figaro A song to the breezes (EC, AM)

Rachmaninov Aleko Aleko's Cavatina (DJ)

Bizet Carmen Card Trio (EC, AM, KC)

Part 2

Verdi La traviata 'Annina comandate....Addio del passato' (AM, KC, DJ)

Weber Der Freischütz 'Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen' (EC)

Britten The Rape of Lucretia Within this frail crucible of light' (KC, DJ)

Strauss Der Rosenkavalier Presentation of the Rose (EC, KC)

Kabalevsky The Poet of Spring Waltz Song (AM)

Mozart Così fan tutte 'Il core vi dono' (KC, DJ)

J Strauss Die Fledermaus 'In solitude and sighing' (EC, AM, DJ)

Sullivan The Mikado 'Three little maids' & 'So please you, sir' (Tutti)

Performance DatesEssential Scottish Opera 2004

Map List

Gaiety Theatre, Ayr | Ayr

10 Feb, 19.30

Ryan Centre | Stranraer, Wigtownshire

12 Feb, 19.30

Broughton Village Hall, Biggar | Biggar

14 Feb, 19.30

Town Hall, Jedburgh | Jedburgh

17 Feb, 19.30

Lochside Theatre | Castle Douglas

19 Feb, 19.30

Arts Centre, Birnam | Dunkeld

21 Feb, 19.30

Kingussie High School | Kingussie

24 Feb, 19.30

Community Theatre, Peterhead | Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

26 Feb, 19.30

Deeside Theatre | Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

28 Feb, 19.30

Pickaquoy Centre | Kirkwall, Orkney

2 Mar, 19.30

Community Hall, Ardross | Ardross, Ross-shire

4 Mar, 19.30

Universal Hall, Findhorn | Findhorn

6 Mar, 19.30

Village Hall, Ballachulish | Ballachulish, Argyll

8 Mar, 19.30

Howden Park Centre | Livingstone

9 Mar, 19.30

Macphail Theatre | Ullapool

15 Mar, 19.30

Thurso High School | Thurso, Caithness

16 Mar, 19.30

Kilconquhar Church | Kilconquhar

18 Mar, 19.30

Arts Guild Theatre | Greenock

23 Mar, 19.30

Brunton Theatre | Musselburgh, East Lothian

25 Mar, 19.30

Arts Centre, Airdrie | Airdrie

27 Mar, 19.30

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