Opera Scotland

Roi malgré lui 1994Opera North

Read more about the opera Roi malgré lui

Chabrier was a major focus of the 1994 Festival, marking the centenary of his death. The Usher Hall saw a concert performance of the surviving act of an unfinished serious piece, Briséïs. Opera North's significant contribution to the festivities included a staging of his enchanting comic masterpiece L' étoile. This was rather overshadowed by memories of the wonderful Lyon production, a highlight of the 1985 Festival.

More interesting, then, was this attempt to rescue the musically rich but dramatically inadequate Reluctant King from oblivion. The text sung was not merely a new translation, but a comprehensive exercise in redrafting the plot, invented by Michael Wilcox and director Jeremy Sams. However well-intentioned, it does not appear to have been enough of an improvement to allow the opera to take on new life, despite the best efforts of a good cast of experienced singers, including Russell Smythe, Justin Lavender, Geoffrey Dolton, Nicholas Folwell and Rosa Mannion.

The character descriptions in brackets are derived from the original version.

Performance Cast

Liancourt a revolutionary

Brian Cookson

D'Elbeuf a revolutionary

Peter Bodenham

Caylus a revolutionary

Bruce Budd

Villequier a revolutionary

Galloway Bell

Max a revolutionary

James Thornton

Nangis (Comte de Nangis) a dissolute nobleman with republican sympathies

Justin Lavender

Fritelli (a Venetian Duke) a revolutionary, quarter-master to Henri

Geoffrey Dolton

Basile a recent recruit to the cause

Keith Mills

Minka (Laski's servant) a spy working secretly for Laski

Rosa Mannion

Henri (Henri de Valois) leader of a revolutionary cell in Moldavia, secretly 'The Runaway Prince'

Russell Smythe

Alexina (Duchess of Fritelli) a committed revolutionary, in love with Henri

Juliet Booth

Laski (a Polish Count) Master of the Royal Household

Nicholas Folwell

First Courtier

Peter Bodenham

Second Courier

Stephen Briggs

Third Courtier

David Owen-Lewis

Fourth Courtier

Anthony Baines-Davis

Prince Albert variously Albert the GBlack, Albert the Bastard

Maurice Bowen

Minka's First Nymph

Irene Evans

Minka's Second Nymph

Victoria Sharp

Minka's Third Nymph

Lesley Roberts

Minka's Fourth Nymph

Deborah Pearce

Minka's Fifth Nymph

Vivienne Bailey

Minka's Sixth Nymph

Philippa Thompson

Performance DatesRoi malgré lui 1994

Map List

Kings Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

1 Sep, 19.15 3 Sep, 19.15

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