Opera Scotland

Resurrection Symphony 1986Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Symphony no2 'Resurrection'

The Edinburgh Festival's Director, Frank Dunlop, was definitely a man of the theatre, and many Festivals had enjoyed the fruits of his labour since the sixties. He had not previously directed an opera, but the highlight in 1986 was clearly his staging of Weber's Oberon, the pantomime elements of which suited him to a tee. The Maly Theatre from Leningrad were the first Russian opera company to visit the Festival, bringing three productions, at a time when it was quite unthinkable that the Kirov and Bolshoi would be almost frequent visitors within a few years. Two fitted the Festival's Tchaikovsky theme. The Toronto Symphony brought a Stravinsky double-bill, simply staged in the Usher Hall, where The Soldier's Taleand Oedipus Rex came over well. A second theme of the Festival was the Scottish Enlightenment and the works of Walter Scott and James Macpherson ('Ossian'), for which the SNO and conductor Neeme Järvi assembled a fascinating evening that ended with a concert performance of Mehul's Ossian opera Uthal

Non-operatic events included notable performances by Simon Rattle and the CBSO of Dream of Gerontius and Mahler's Resurrection Symphony.


At this point, Dame Janet Baker was winding down her concert appearances, though in addition to this Mahler she also, the previous evening, collaborated with Rattle and the same chorus and orchestra on a performance of Dream of Gerontius. These were her last Festival performances, though she was every bit as communicative as before. Her retirement was quite understandable, even if it did leave her audience still wanting more.

This visit was also a celebration of the wonderful relationship between Rattle and the CBSO, marking the transformation of a previously worthy body into a world-class band with a fascinating repertoire and lively, loyal audience.

Dame Felicity Lott and the Chorus helped to ensure that this was just as memorable an event as the last time Baker sang the part in Edinburgh (with Bernstein in 1973).

This Mahler symphony was preceded by a performance by the small modernist vocal group Electric Phoenix, who performed Sinfonia by Luciano Berio. This may seem an unusual piece of programming, even by Rattle's imaginative standards, but Berio was inspired by Mahler's massive work and even quoted from it - so a properly imaginative prelude after all.

Performance DatesResurrection Symphony 1986

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

30 Aug, 20.00

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2024

Site by SiteBuddha