Opera Scotland

Maria Stuarda 2019OperaUpClose

Read more about the opera Mary Stuart

Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose presented the only Scottish performance of their new English version of Donizetti’s Mary, Queen of Scots (Maria Stuarda). Two ferocious 16th century Queens, Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor, went head- to-head in this historical tragedy, culminating in a fictitious meeting between the rival queens, which sizzles with vocal fireworks.

In their tenth anniversary year, OperaUpClose lived up to their stated aim of offering a high quality production in an enthralling performance of Donizetti’s Mary Stuart in the Younger Hall. The impressive programme, ninety-two pages long including the libretto, was a model of what audience members wish, explaining the production concept, set and costume design lucidly.

In a new English translation by Robin Norton-Hale, who also directed, the cast of six gave a committed and convincing performance ‘in the round’ and made every word tell. Donizetti's powerful melodies were directed from the piano, joined by Stefano d’Ermenegildo (violin) and Sarah Douglas (clarinet).The three musicians (violin, clarinet and piano) took their places on the stage, action taking place below them. The audience of around a hundred was seated either side of the apron and was clearly enthralled by the developing action – all were very much ‘UpClose’.

The St Andrews performance followed a run of six earlier this year, all held in historic venues.

The interactions between cast members were sharply drawn. Flora McIntosh as Mary, Philippa Boyle as Elizabeth and Cliff Zamit Stevens as Leicester all sang particularly well, but there really wasn’t a weak link.

This was a memorable return following an absence of a year – the company had previously performed Carmen (2016) and bohème (2017) in St Andrews. 

Haste ye back!



Performance Cast

Elisabetta Elizabeth, Queen of England

Philippa Boyle

Giorgio Talbot George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury

Julian Dubreuil

Lord Guglielmo Cecil Sir William Cecil

Jan Capinski

Roberto di Leicester Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Cliff Zammit Stevens

Anna Hannah Kennedy, Mary's companion

Emma Watkinson

Maria Stuarda Mary Stuart

Flora McIntosh

Performance DatesMaria Stuarda 2019

Map List

Younger Hall | St Andrews

20 Oct, 14.30

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