Opera Scotland

Macbeth 2014Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Macbeth

Dominic Hill's first attempt at directing opera, Macbeth in 2005, with piano accompaniment, was a great success, followed quickly by an equally good full-scale production of Falstaff.

Macbeth, as was shown by the company's earlier staging by Richard Jones in 1987, can work very well with piano. For this revival, Tony Burke's reduced orchestration was employed for the spring performances in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the keyboard returned for the extensive autumn tour.

Hill's remarkable production makes a positive virtue of the reduced resources. There were seven singers involved, with the witches as three solo roles instead of chorus. They provided effective doublings as Lady-in-waiting and the apparitions. Banquo doubled as doctor, with Macduff as Messenger at the outset. No murderer was required, since Macbeth did his own killing, and Fleance escaped from the clutches of Lady M.

There were minor cuts, most notably the final celebratory chorus, which would have challenged the resources involved. The evening ended with Macbeth's downbeat solo re-instated from the original 1847 score - a common practice nowadays.

The work of Scottish Opera's education branch was in evidence. Throughout this tour, local workshops are held in a chosen primary school (for Dundee it was Craigiebarns), with six children of varying heights being selected to walk on as the future monarchs, and to play Fleance. Let us hope this will prove an effective way to change perceptions of opera and help build an audience for the future.

David Stephenson's Macbeth is a beautifully assured performance, all of a piece dramatically, with a lovely account of 'Pietà, rispetto amore' to climax. Catrin Aur offered a bright tone, at ease with both opening aria and sleepwalking scene. Thomas Faulkner has an ideal Banquo voice, smooth and firm, though his acting was perhaps a little stiff in doctor mode. Anthony Flaum's tenor came over well in Macduff's aria, leading the exiles effectively. Indeed the chorus of exiles sounded fine given the small number of voices available, and built to a rousing climax. The three witches were all consistently good in their highly prominent roles, and Andrew Porter's effective translation, liberally laced with Shakespearean lines, was clearly projected.

The biggest cheer of a thoroughly engaging evening in Dundee was reserved for the excellent pianist, Susannah Wapshott. She earned a hugely deserved ovation for what must be an exhausting performance.

Read about previous performances of Macbeth in Scotland here.

Performance Cast

Macbeth a general in King Duncan's army

David Stephenson

Banquo a general in King Duncan's army

Thomas Faulkner

Lady Macbeth

Elisabeth Meister (Spring)

Catrin Aur (Sep 25, 27; Oct 1, 4, 7, 9, 11, 28, 30; Nov 1)

Shuna Scott Sendall (Oct 16, 18, 21, 23, 25)

Macduff Thane of Fife

Anthony Flaum (Spring; Sep 25, 27; Oct 1, 4, 7, 9, 1116, 18)

Robyn Lyn Evans (Oct 21, 23, 25, 28, 30; Nov 1)

Lady in waiting

Sioned Gwen Davies (Spring)

Sarah Shorter (Autumn)

Doctor

Thomas Faulkner

Witch 1

Katie Bird (Spring)

Marie Claire Breen (Autumn)

Witch 2

Sioned Gwen Davies (Spring)

Sarah Shorter (Autumn)

Witch 3

Martha Jones (Spring)

Laura Margaret Smith (Autumn)

Performance DatesMacbeth 2014

Map List

Citizens Theatre | Glasgow

22 Mar, 19.30 27 Mar, 19.30 29 Mar, 19.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

8 Apr, 19.15 10 Apr, 19.15

Eastwood Park Theatre | Giffnock, Glasgow

25 Sep, 19.30

Gardyne Theatre | Dundee

27 Sep, 19.30

Garrison Theatre, Lerwick | Lerwick, Shetland

1 Oct, 18.30

Haddo House Hall | Ellon, Aberdeenshire

4 Oct, 19.30

Thurso High School | Thurso, Caithness

7 Oct, 19.30

One Touch Theatre, Eden Court | Inverness

9 Oct, 19.30

Corran Hall | Oban, Argyll

11 Oct, 19.30

Gaiety Theatre, Ayr | Ayr

16 Oct, 19.30

Macphail Theatre | Ullapool

18 Oct, 19.30

An Lanntair | Stornoway, Lewis

21 Oct, 19.30

Aros Centre, Portree | Portree, Isle of Skye

23 Oct, 19.30

Buccleuch Centre | Langholm

25 Oct, 19.30

Cinema, Newton Stewart | Newton Stewart

28 Oct, 19.30

MacRobert Arts Centre | Stirling

30 Oct, 19.30

Rothes Halls | Glenrothes

1 Nov, 19.30

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