Opera Scotland

Messa da Requiem 2020Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Read more about the opera Messa da Requiem

The effect of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic

The RSNO gave its scheduled performances of Das Lied von der Erde in Edinburgh and Glasgow on Friday and Saturday 6 & 7 March, conducted by Thomas Søndergård.  It was noticeable that many ticket holders decided to stay at home.  The following week's concerts, also conducted by Søndergård, were originally programmed to begin with a composition by Fasil Say, and scheduled to end with his performance of Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto.  As he was unable to appear, the orchestra substituted the 'Coriolan' overture as an opener, with the brilliant Korean pianist Sunwook Kim substituting in the 'Emperor'.  The central item, featuring the RSNO Chorus in Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, was given as scheduled. This programme was given on Thursday, 12 March (Caird Hall, Dundee) with Friday and Saturday following in Edinburgh and Glasgow, also with much reduced attendance by the subscribers.  Saturday 14 March therefore marked the final concert by the RSNO before the venues were closed for the duration.

When or if the Verdi, originally planned for 29 and 30 May 2020, can be given is as yet unclear.


The steady 'mission creep' of the Operascotland website has long included concert and music theatre works that stretch the definition of the term 'opera' beyond its original bounds.  Other works that are certainly dramatic, and employ singers of classical training, have thus far been excluded, perhaps unreasonably.  We have now acceded to requests to include, for example, some works appearing in the current season of the RSNO.  These include Mahler's glorious Lied von der Erde and Verdi's uniquely dramatic Messa da Requiem.  If we include those, and other choral or vocal masterworks by Brahms, Elgar and others, then how can we exclude Messiah?  The number of performances that must have occurred in Scotland over the decades is a daunting prospect for research, and we will take our time! 


The Verdi Requiem is always an exciting way to end the season, and it is surely the nearest Thomas Søndergård has yet got to conducting opera here. The contrasts of contemplation with frenetic excitement will suit him ideally.

The only soloist to have been here before is soprano Catherine Naglestad, who has given excellent Handel performances in the past at the Edinburgh Festival. How voices develop and change through a career is always interesting.

Performance DatesMessa da Requiem 2020

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