Opera Scotland

Don Carlos 2000Tayside Opera

Read more about the opera Don Carlos

Verdi's majestic Parisian grand opera took a long time to reach Scotland. It did so, it seems, only in 1988, in the bizarre, but amazingly successful form of Scottish Opera's small-scale tour with piano accompaniment.

A decade later, while their London headquarters was being substantially remodelled, the Royal Opera paid a rare visit to the Edinburgh Festival, with Luc Bondy's French-language production.  While enjoyable musically, this was by no means dramatically ideal.  It was certainly not an adequate successor for the vintage 1958 staging by Luchino Visconti and the Royal Opera soon replaced it with a more effective version.

The complete original French text was given by Welsh National in 2005.  This was a far better effort musically than it was dramatically.  They do not appear to have revived it either.

It was therefore left to Tayside Opera to give the Scottish premiere of the 4-act Italian or Modena form of the piece.  The absence of the opening Fontainebleau scene no doubt does great damage to the plot, and the character development of Carlos and Elisabeth, but in these circumstances the omission was quite justified.

The simple, skeletal sets worked well.  There were many participants imported from other local amateur groups.  With one exception, the soloists were all regular company members, even the two sopranos who shared Elisabeth.  That exception was the tenor in the title role.  Colin McKerracher had actually appeared in the Scottish Opera staging a dozen years previously.  His performance was as excellent as it had been then.

Fiona Brownsmith provided some lovely soft singing, and Helen Brown gave a fierily dramatic reading of Eboli.  The lower voices were all well contrasted and the vicious confrontation between King and Inquisitor was highly effective.

Altogether a worthy enterprise that rewarded the company's ambition.

Performance DatesDon Carlos 2000

Map List

Gardyne Theatre | Dundee

18 Oct, 19.15 18 Oct, 19.30 19 Oct, 19.15 20 Oct, 19.15 21 Oct, 19.15

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