Opera Scotland

Manon 2009Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Manon

Scottish Opera's 2008-09 season was unusual, in that it did not feature any revivals. What is more, the level of presentation, musical and dramatic, was also of a consistently high standard. Perhaps the one slight disappointment was the Edinburgh Festival offering, a rare staging of Smetana's charming domestic comedy The Two Widows. This was the company's second production of the piece. It was joined by two popular classics, La traviata and Così fan tutte, both directed in memorably intelligent fashion by David McVicar. The rarities were by Cimarosa (The Secret Marriage) and Massenet (Manon). Bellini's I puritani was given in a single concert performance. These were all company premieres. The small-scale tour was, unusually, an operetta, The Merry Widow. After the great success of the previous year's opener, the company also put on a second group of new, experimental 15-minute chamber dramas in the 5:15 series. Another welcome rarity was the next collaboration with the RSAMD - a large student cast assisted by Scottish Opera's musicians and technical staff, in a hugely enjoyable version of Prokofiev's Love For Three Oranges.

Massenet has been seriously neglected in Scotland. Only one of his operas has been staged at the Edinburgh Festival, Don Quichotte in 1962 (with Thaïs only as a concert in 2011). And Scottish Opera's sole contribution was a short-lived and none too special Werther. The most interesting contribution is probably the Edinburgh Grand production of a great rarity, Hérodiade, in 1990. At last, Scottish Opera returned to the fray with this rather good version of Manon. Directed by a Canadian team, it looked super, and centred round the near-perfect interpretation of the title role by Anne Sophie Duprels, tiny and beautiful, always with an air of vulnerability about her, even at her most wilful. The necessary delicacy was not always found by Paul Charles Clarke, or by the conductor, who occasionally gave the impression that he was giving us Puccini's version of the story (and that hasn't been given here for a long time, either).

Performance DatesManon 2009

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

20 May, 19.30 23 May, 19.30 29 May, 19.30 31 May, 19.30

Empire Theatre, Eden Court | Inverness

5 Jun, 19.30

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

12 Jun, 19.30

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

20 Jun, 19.30 24 Jun, 19.30 26 Jun, 19.30

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