Opera Scotland

Cupboard Love 2019Byre Opera

Read more about the opera Cupboard Love

Byre Opera here presented a double bill of unusual and enterprising works. If the tragedy Riders to the Sea by Vaughan Williams is still a rare piece, the second item, a dark comedy by one of his students, was actually a British stage premiere.

Cupboard Love is a story of love, deception and a dead body, involving a cast of three.  This witty and accessible 'whodunnit' received its first fully-staged performance since it was written in the 1950s. Musically it is a sharp piece, full of parody elements and great fun. Quite complex for the pianist, it brims with witty melodies, sharply rhythmic, including elements of tango and blues. Musical Director Claire Innes-Hopkins had to work hard on these disparate elements, but did well.

There is a cast of three, and here they all gave extremely authoritative accounts of the unknown work. She arrives home, bringing her lover, He, but already involved in tetchy niggling leading to a spectacularly physical argument with him. They shout at one another (in parody Sprechgesang?), until, exhausted, they notice a corpse (It) who happens to be her husband. Both deny being the cause of Its death and the argument resumes, At last 'It' awakes, in ghostly form, to reveal that he had plotted a scheme to ensure the conviction (and this being the fifties) the execution of both the others. As it comes to a confused end the police arrive, having been forewarned by the 'corpse'.

Caroline Taylor has developed vocally and dramatically during her time studying in Manchester - a lovely pure, sweet soprano, with every word clear. She is also a keen actor. Theodore Day also threw himself at his part with abandon. Ross McArthur as the husband spends much of his time impersonating a corpse, as he had playing the ill-fated Bartley in the Vaughan Williams.

The set was as for the first half, losing lots of greenery and gaining a cupboard and a couple of cunningly utilised trapdoors.

This double bill was great fun and should ensure that we get to know both works better.

Performance DatesCupboard Love 2019

Map List

Energy Centre | Guardbridge

18 Jun, 19.30 19 Jun, 19.30 20 Jun, 19.30

Liniclate School | Benbecula Isle

26 Jun, 19.30

Peace Church | Berwick-upon-Tweed

29 Jun, 19.30 30 Jun, 19.30

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