Opera Scotland

Andrea Chénier 2005Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Andrea Chénier

The 2004-05 season of Scottish Opera consisted of six events, five being full-scale stagings. Proceedings opened with a double-bill of early twentieth century classics, Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung. The autumn programme also contained a revival of Tosca, the vintage 1980 staging by the late Anthony Besch. The new year began with a rare sighting in Scotland of an opera by Tippett, The Knot Garden. Handel's wonderful setting of Restoration comedy, Semele, followed, and the fifth full-scale production was a revival of Fidelio, allowing the company to close down for a year with a glorious finale. The early part of 2005 also featured a rare concert version of Andrea Chénier, as well as the usual Highlands and Islands tour of Essential Scottish Opera.

Giordano's greatest work fell out of favour in Britain after the Sadler's Wells tour of 1960. In the eighties, Covent Garden eventually mounted it for the first time since the war, in a production by Piero Faggioni, prompted by the availability of Domingo, but it did not remain in the repertory for long. Richard Armstrong, at least, must have enjoyed conducting the revival (with Carreras). It has since been mounted at Holland Park, where they specialise in obscure verismo revivals, and Covent Garden put on a new staging by David McVicar (with Jonas Kaufmann) in 2015.

In Scotland it remains a rarity, never featuring at the Edinburgh Festival or with any of the amateur groups. These two concert performances were therefore very welcome, and would have been even more so if the opportunity had been taken to travel beyond the central belt.

While Franco Farina may not have been a familiar name in Britain, he had a useful career on the continent. Anthony Michaels-Moore was making only his second appearance with the company - twenty years after his Scarpia for Opera-Go-Round. Claire Rutter tried out several of these heavier Italian roles in concert, and did them very well. The backing line-up of notable singers in short cameo roles is also excellent. What a pity that the company's rocky financial state made it quite impossible even to consider a full staging.

Performance Cast

Major-domo

Paul Carey Jones

Carlo Gérard Charles Gérard, a servant of the Countess, later an agent of Robespierre

Anthony Michaels-Moore

Maddalena Madeleine de Coigny

Claire Rutter

Countess di Coigny Maddalena's mother

Anne-Marie Owens

Bersi Maddalena’s mulatto maid

Leah-Marian Jones

Fléville Pierre Fléville, a cavalier

Benjamin Bevan

Abbé

Aled Hall

Andrea Chénier a poet

Franco Farina

Mathieu a waiter

John Mackenzie

Roucher a friend of Chénier

Christopher Dixon

Incredibile an 'incroyable' or young beau, also an informer

Colin Judson

Madelon an old woman

Anne-Marie Owens

Dumas president of the council

Francis Church

Fouquier-Tinville attorney-general

Benjamin Bevan

Schmidt gaoler at St Lazare prison

Paul Carey Jones

Performance DatesAndrea Chénier 2005

Map List

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow | Glasgow

13 Mar, 19.30

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

16 Mar, 19.30

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