Opera Scotland

Rothschild's Violin 2014Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland

Read more about the opera Rothschild's Violin

Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland is the outcome of the formation of a music co-operative by members of the Orchestra of Scottish Opera to generate both a creative outlet and an extra income source to fill the gaps between Scottish Opera's mainstage productions.  Their first operatic performance was given as part of the Cottier Chamber Project in Glasgow's West End Festival.  The Cottier complex in Hyndland is an excellent venue for chamber opera with a clear acoustic and fine sight lines, and can surely be used for many such ventures in future. 

The choice fell on the Scottish premiere of Rothschild's Violin, a one act piece by Veniamin Fleishman, a student of Shostakovich's, killed during the siege of Leningrad in 1941. Shostakovich completed and orchestrated the work and on this occasion it was given in a reduction for chamber ensemble by Jünemann. 

This essentially unknown work, derived from a short story by Chekhov, turned out to be a fascinating find, well worth exploring. It is a short piece, less than forty five minutes but quickly makes its points and is full of dramatic effects. On this occasion, the performance started with a klezmer violin solo by Lev Atlas which introduced the Jewish musical idiom.  This was followed by three of Shostakovich's songs from Jewish Folk Poetry which led seamlessly into the opera itself.  In musical style, there were also elements reminiscent of Stravinsky's Russian pieces such as A Soldier's Tale, Mavra and Renard. There were also little suggestions of Weill.

The four singers all gave excellent performances, but the evening was dominated by Russian baritone Alexey Gusev as the violin's owner, Ivanov.  As his wife, Marfa, the young soprano Lauren McQuisten gave a reading of astonishing maturity using a beautiful smoky voice with an authentic Russian tang. Matthew Bridle and Iain Paton had less to do but were very effective.

Still at the start of a promising conducting career, Ian Ryan brought out plenty of character from the band, who sounded fully at ease with the intricate score.

The design, by Denis Boyar and Julia Atlas, was extremely simple, a series of projections of naive-style drawings which effectively conveyed a sense of the Russian peasant community.

Performance Cast

Yakov Matveyevich Ivanov 'Bronza' a coffin maker and amateur fiddler

Alexey Gusev

Marfa Yakov's wife

Lauren McQuistin

Rothschild a poor flute player

Matthew Bridle

Chakhkes a gravedigger

Iain Paton

Performance DatesRothschild's Violin 2014

Map List

Cottier Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

8 Jun, 20.30

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