Opera Scotland

Oberon 2004Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Oberon

Edinburgh's major visiting company in 2004 was from Germany, but a Festival newcomer, the Hanover State Opera. In a mere four performances they presented the work of three of Europe's most controversial 'concept' direction teams. The single performance of Il trovatore, never presented at a previous Festival, was directed by the never-dull Catalan Calixto Bieito, whose production of Celestina for Birmingham Rep was also seen at the Festival. Peter Konwitschny's production was of Nono's massive Al gran sole carico d'amore, while Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito took a fresh look at Pelléas et Mélisande, given two performances to end the visit. The final opera was Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, presented by Opera North in a co-production with Emio Greco I PC. There were four operas given in concert at the Usher Hall. A stimulating series gave a survey of the three major Weber operas - Der Freischütz, Euryanthe and Oberon. The first two had not been seen in Edinburgh in half a century. There was an excellent Bartók evening, including Duke Bluebeard's Castle. The final offering saw a vintage cast assembled for Strauss' Capriccio.

This concert performance was Scottish Opera's contribution to Weber year at the Festival, and made amends, to some extent, for the travesty of the work perpetrated back in 1985.

Richard Armstrong produced a dramatic account of the score. Peter Bronder had the technique vital for the difficulties of Huon's music, and if he didn't quite have heldentenor reserves of power his tone was refined enough to project well. Barry Banks was developing into an excellent character tenor able to tackle high-lying romantic roles as required. Elizabeth Whitehouse returned to the company for the first time since her Fidelio, a similar role vocally. Jane Irwin and Barry Banks both gave accomplished performances as the subsidiary couple.

While Planché's original text is a great improvement on the ghastly nonsense produced by Anthony Burgess back in 1985, it still presents huge problems in performance, so the lovely music is unlikely to be performed frequently.

Performance Cast

Oberon King of the Fairies

Barry Banks

Puck Oberon's servant

Anna Burford

Sir Huon of Bordeaux Duke of Guienne

Peter Bronder

Sherasmin Sir Huon's squire

Garry Magee

Reiza daughter of Haroun el Raschid

Elizabeth Whitehouse

Fatima Reiza's attendant

Jane Irwin

Performance DatesOberon 2004

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

18 Aug, 19.30

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