Opera Scotland

Cosi fan tutte 2015Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Così fan tutte

After a brief appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival, with an enjoyable concert performance of H M S Pinafore, Scottish Opera's 2015-16 season proper began with a revival of the staging of Carmen by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser. This was first put on by Welsh National Opera, and was mounted by Scottish Opera in 1999. This ran in tandem with a new small-scale tour of Così fan tutte. In the New Year the premiere of a new work by Stuart MacRae, The Devil Inside, was followed by three further operas being given by the company for the first time - Ariodante, Rusalka and The Mikado.

As usual, the small-scale tour with piano accompaniment took young performers to beautiful parts of Scotland that they might not have the chance to visit again - at least while they're being paid! And nineteen performances allowed them to develop their interpretations while playing to relatively small but enthusiastic audiences in packed houses. Indeed the Byre in St Andrews was so crowded that an overflow venue was opened in the form of the top floor studio theatre, where some seventy or so patrons were able to watch proceedings downstairs by excellent video link.

Jennifer France, Emma Kerr and Ben McAteer were this year's new recruits to Scottish Opera's Emerging Artists scheme. New Zealander Rosalind Coad was already a company regular for a couple of years, while James McOran-Campbell made a strong impression in Ghost Patrol in 2012. The other singers were unfamiliar, but these teams are always worth watching.

Musically this was an excellent interpretation, led by the fluent pianist Nick Fletcher, who had taken over for the last half of the tour, and was playing his second performance. The quality of Mozart singing that we can now take for granted in youthful performers is very pleasing - Jennifer France's Despina was hugely accomplished, and Rosalind Coad's two arias were particularly impressive. But there were no weaknesses, and there was certainly no sign that Emma Kerr was only giving her second performance - she fitted in beautifully. The major disappointment, musically, was the cutting of Ferrando's two arias from the second act. They may be extremely demanding, but Trystan Llyr Griffiths did everything else well, and would have coped fine. These arias are important elements in any attempt to show the men to be as human as the girls are.

Così is one of those great operas that can be interpreted in many different ways. Director Lissa Lorenzo, one of last year's Emerging Artists, set it in nineteen-fifties Italy. The designs were stylish, if the boutique location added little, and was at odds with so much of the open-air as depicted in the music. Indeed the fifties seemed to have influenced the director's attitude to the work. Back then, Così was not generally treated as more than a simple farce with characters of pasteboard. Arias that gave the lie to that, and might threaten to make the audience think, always used to be cut. And that is what happened here. The performance was fine though, the movement and groupings worked well and the audience enjoyed it all hugely.

These tours are an unmissable part of Scottish Opera's offerings, and welcomed every year. Long may they continue!

Performance Cast

Ferrando a young army officer

Trystan Llyr Griffiths

Guglielmo another officer, Ferrando's friend

Ben McAteer

Don Alfonso a middle-aged bachelor

James McOran-Campbell

Fiordiligi a young lady from Ferrara, engaged to Guglielmo

Rosalind Coad

Dorabella Fiordiligi's sister, engaged to Ferrando

Sarah Champion

Emma Kerr

Despina maidservant to the sisters

Jennifer France

Performance DatesCosi fan tutte 2015

Map List

MacRobert Arts Centre | Stirling

24 Sep, 19.30

Victoria Halls, Helensburgh | Helensburgh

26 Sep, 19.30

Gaiety Theatre, Ayr | Ayr

29 Sep, 19.30

Tait Hall | Kelso

1 Oct, 19.30

Gardyne Theatre | Dundee

3 Oct, 19.45

Town Hall, Elgin | Elgin, Moray

6 Oct, 19.30

Haddo House Hall | Ellon, Aberdeenshire

8 Oct, 19.30

Deeside Theatre | Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

10 Oct, 19.30

Orkney Arts Centre | Kirkwall, Orkney

13 Oct, 19.30

Wick High School | Wick, Caithness

15 Oct, 19.30

One Touch Theatre, Eden Court | Inverness

17 Oct, 19.30

Brunton Theatre | Musselburgh, East Lothian

22 Oct, 19.30

Byre Theatre | St Andrews

24 Oct, 19.30

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock | Greenock

27 Oct, 19.30

Corran Hall | Oban, Argyll

29 Oct, 19.30

Macphail Theatre | Ullapool

31 Oct, 19.30

An Lanntair | Stornoway, Lewis

3 Nov, 19.30

Plockton High School | Plockton, Ross-shire

5 Nov, 19.30

Linlithgow Academy Theatre | Linlithgow

7 Nov, 19.30

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