Opera Scotland

Così fan tutte 1988Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Così fan tutte

The 1987/88 season of Scottish Opera featured ten main stage productions. Six of these were new: Aïda, Lulu, The Pearl Fishers, Così fan tutte, La bohème and Candide. The four revivals were Seraglio, La vie Parisienne, Eugene Onegin (sung in Russian for the first time) and Death in Venice. The stylishly simple black, white and silver programme cover introduced for the season was highly attractive, but the idea was not repeated.

Richard Jones, had the unenviable task of replacing the rather special production by Anthony Besch and John Stoddart, which had been revived on several occasions between 1967 and 1982. It had not been seen for some time, however, and a new look at the work was overdue.

This was an uneasy mix, with too much frivolity for some tastes. Costumes were fairly conventionally in period of composition, and looked good. The basic set showed a small interior section of Neapolitan villa, with the shades of Pompeiian red and blue familiar from archaeological illustrations. However Fiordiligi sang 'Come scoglio' perched precariously on a lump of lava, and by the first act finale a model of Vesuvius occupied part of the stage. As an indicator of the tempestuous emotions bubbling beneath the surface this might have worked, but by the end it had grown enormously in size, and its slopes were liberally populated with rapidly reproducing bunnies. Such subtlety!

Musically things were fine, with five excellent singing actors on the stage - the lone exception was Maldwyn Davies, dry of voice and a less obviously youthful and natural actor than the others. Andrew Shore was already a scene stealer as Alfonso, but for the most part the team was beautifully balanced. Graeme Jenkins showed himself to be a stylish Mozartian.

After the brief series of appearances in Glasgow and Newcastle through the spring, the production was taken on a medium-scale tour of three venues in the autumn. The staging was tightened up by Jones's assistant, Tim Hopkins, and the cast was excellent. Indeed the men were quite exceptional. The only obvious economy, apart from a slight reduction in the orchestra, was that the chorus, kept offstage (therefore saving on costumes) in the spring, were now cut altogether. The conductor was the highly-promising Justin Brown, from the music staff. The final performance revealed Robert Dean as a now ex-baritone venturing onto a career as conductor, with effective results.

Performance Cast

Ferrando a young army officer

Maldwyn Davies (Spring)

Neill Archer (Nov)

Guglielmo another officer, Ferrando's friend

Steven Page (Spring)

Jason Howard (Nov)

Don Alfonso a middle-aged bachelor

Andrew Shore (Spring)

Roger Bryson (Nov)

Fiordiligi a young lady from Ferrara, engaged to Guglielmo

Marie Slorach (Spring)

Melanie Armitstead (Nov)

Dorabella Fiordiligi's sister, engaged to Ferrando

Clare Shearer (Spring)

Valerie Reid (Nov)

Despina maidservant to the sisters

Elizabeth Gale (Spring)

Mary Callan Clarke (Nov)

Performance DatesCosì fan tutte 1988

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

6 Feb, 19.15 9 Feb, 19.15 12 Feb, 19.15 20 Feb, 19.15 16 Mar, 19.15 4 Jun, 14.15

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

7 Apr, 19.15 7 Jun, 19.15

MacRobert Arts Centre | Stirling

17 Nov, 19.30 19 Nov, 19.30

Eden Court Theatre | Inverness

22 Nov, 19.15 23 Nov, 19.15

Gardyne Theatre | Dundee

25 Nov, 19.15 26 Nov, 19.15

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