Opera Scotland

Opera Highlights - autumn tour 2022Scottish Opera

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Scottish Opera's autumn Highlights tour for 2022 consists of seventeen performances between 22 September and 29 October.  The geographical range is, as usual enormous, beginning in Dundee, where it launched a new-born Opera Festival.  The much-travelled team then embarked on a survey of Scotland, taking in Fraserburgh in the north-east and Stranraer in the south-west, with a final run up the north-west coast, finishing at Durness, as far as you can go without getting your feet wet.

A troupe of four talented singers included two of Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists, soprano Zoe Drummond and tenor Osian Wyn Bowen. They are joined by batitone Christopher Nairne, returning to home territory after several seasons with Opera North, and a new mezzo from Australia, Shakira Tsindos.  The superb pianist was another Emerging Artist, the Bulgarian Kristina Yorgova.

As always, Scottish Opera's Head of Music, Derek Clark managed to bring together a rich blend of operatic music of all styles, the earliest being Handel's Rodelinda of 1725.  There is also a completely new piece by Toby Hession (one of last year's Emerging Artists). With familiar pieces by Gluck, Mozart, Beethoven, Bellini, there was only one item by Verdi and none at all by Rossini, Wagner, Tchaikovsky or Puccini.  Much imagination was used to bring to our attention some little-known items, including Mendelssohn, Offenbach, Rimsky-Korsakov, Lalo and even Johann Strauss.  The singers all had great fun with the Noel Coward encore 'Don't put your daughter on the stage' (as adapted by Derek Clark).

This year, director Emma Jenkins brought in a novel feature.  Usually an attempt is made to knit a structure together using dialogue to make the four singers into identifiable characters with a narrative plot of some kind.  This time, for a change, all dialogue was dispensed with, and a series of cue-cards on a blackboard gave the briefest idea - half a dozen words - of the next song's theme.  This worked well and gave the packed Dundee audience all the guidance they needed.  The reception on this opening night of the tour was deservedly extremely enthusiastic.

There were many highlights - the second half opened with the new piece, a meditation of sorts on Macbeth, followed immediately by a lovely performance of Macduff's familiar aria.  Osian Wyn Bowen also made a touchingly naive Vašek in the charming Smetana extract.  In all these was a superb evening that showed four young singers of equal promise all showing themselves well on the way in their professional careers.  Christopher Nairne's voice has come on nicely in his years at Leeds, and Zoe Drummond had some delightfully characterful moments.  The one completely unknown singer, Shakira Tsindos, had a range of serious stuff - Handel, Gluck and Britten - that showed off her full range.

There were some particularly good French pieces including Alceste's great aria and a coloratura showpiece by Gounod, far less well known than his similar solos for Marguerite and Juliet.  The tenor gave beautifully lyric accounts of a classic Offenbach aria for the marooned Robinson Crusoe and Mylio's Serenade from Le roi d'Ys (conjuring up happy memories for this listener of Dad's old Gigli recording).  He also contributed to the first act finale - the famous duet from The Pearl Fishers.

The complete programme:

Part 1

Mozart La finta giardiniera: 'Che lieto giorno' (quartet).

Bellini I puritani: 'Ah, per sempre io ti perdei' (CN).

Handel Serse: 'Crude furie degli orride abissi' (ST).

Mozart The Magic Flute: 'The man who feels love's true emotion' (ZD; CN).

Beethoven Fidelio: 'Euch werde Lohn in bessern Welten' (ST; OSB; CN).

Rimsky-Korsakov The Snow Maiden: Snegurochka's aria (ZD).

Mozart Le nozze di Figaro: 'Se vuol ballare' (CN).

Handel Rodelinda: 'Io t'abbraccio' (ZD; ST).

Mendelssohn Die beiden Pädagogen: 'Nur mutig vor ans Ziel gedrungen' (ZD; ST; OWB).

Lalo Le roi d'Ys: 'Vainement, ma bien-aimée' (OWB).

Gluck Alceste: 'Divinités du Styx' (ST).

Gounod Mireille: 'O légère hirondelle' (ZD).

Bizet Les pêcheurs des perles: 'Au fond tu temple saint' (OWB; CN).

Part 2

Toby Hession Told by an Idiot: Scene for four voices and piano World Premiere (quartet).

Verdi Macbeth: 'O figli, o figli miei' (OWB).

Britten The Rape of Lucretia: 'Give him this orchid'  (ST).

Smetana The Bartered Bride: 'I know of a lovely girl' (ZD; OWB).

Sullivan Iolanthe: 'None shall part us from each other' (ST; CN).

Offenbach Robinson Crusoe: 'Six years and seven days' (OWB).

J Strauss II Waldmeister: 'Die ganze Nacht durchschwärmt' (CN).

J Strauss II The Gypsy Baron: 'Treasure Waltz' (ZD; ST; OWB).

Encore - Coward: 'Mrs Worthington' (arr Derek Clark) (quartet).

Performance DatesOpera Highlights - autumn tour 2022

Map List

Marryat Hall, Caird Hall Complex | Dundee

22 Sep, 19.30

Town Hall, Markinch | Markinch

24 Sep, 19.30

Dalrymple Hall | Fraserburgh

27 Sep, 19.30

Town Hall, Forres | Forres

29 Sep, 19.30

Woodend Barn | Banchory, Kincardineshire

1 Oct, 19.30

Cullivoe Public Hall | Shetland

4 Oct, 19.30

Arts Centre, Mareel | Shetland

5 Oct, 19.30

Linlithgow Academy Theatre | Linlithgow

8 Oct, 19.30

Wauchope Hall | Houston

11 Oct, 19.30

Ryan Centre | Stranraer, Wigtownshire

13 Oct, 19.30

Fullarton Theatre | Castle Douglas

15 Oct, 19.30

Village Hall, Dunlop | Dunlop, Ayrshire

18 Oct, 19.30

Village Hall, Gartmore | Gartmore, Stirling

20 Oct, 19.30

Municipal Hall, Biggar | Biggar

22 Oct, 19.30

Village Hall, Glenuig, by Lochailort | Loch Ailort

25 Oct, 19.30

Gairloch Community Hall, Raonmor | Achtercairn Brae

27 Oct, 19.30

Village Hall, Durness | Durness

29 Oct, 19.30

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