Opera Scotland

Creation 2016Dundee Choral Union

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Haydn's Creation is one of the most consistently invigorating and cheering of all the works in the regular choral repertoire. Although it is less than a decade since DCU last presented it, and other local choirs have done it more recently still, it is not a piece the repetition of which becomes in any way tedious.

The regular appearances by the Orchestra of Scottish Opera are one of the enjoyable features of performances by Dundee Choral Union at the moment. They never otherwise play in the Caird Hall, and their contribution helped to make this a memorable event. Derek Clark is always looking for novel ways to present a piece. Here we had the ideal, if more expensive, allocation of a singer to each of the solo roles, with a new soprano and baritone coming on at the end as Adam and Eve.

Two of these soloists may now perhaps be classed as veterans, though neither showed the slightest sign of a reduction in powers. Jamie MacDougall was returning after a gap of several years, and gave a beautiful performance using his sweet-toned lyric tenor to fine effect. Brian Bannatyne-Scott has enjoyed a long career, particularly in continental houses. He has a full-bodied bass voice of a quality that we don't often hear in this region at a time when the lighter bass-baritones seem to sing everything that goes down low. After his excellent Elgar Apostles in St Andrews last year it was good to hear him again.

The three remaining soloists were still at the outset of their careers. The third archangel was sung by Jennifer France. She recently had a thoroughly deserved success as Dalinda in Scottish Opera's Ariodante, and this role was delivered with a similar display of sweetness of tone combined with unusually detailed and accurate ornamentation and clear diction. In the final sequence, Deborah Rudden appeared as Eve. Her voice is fuller in tone, a lovely lyric soprano, and she showed no difficulty in adapting quickly to the performance of Haydn in a vast hall - on three of the four preceding evenings she had sung Mimì in an intimate Edinburgh venue. The part of Adam was taken by another alumnus of the RSAMD, now making his way professionally. Nicholas Morris was a late replacement, available as he is currently working with Scottish Opera. His baritone also projected easily in this big space.

One wee complaint about that cast change. It did happen at short notice, and flyers were printed. However their distribution in the programmes does not seem to have been universally successful. Fortunately we were alerted to the situation by another audience member, but others may have been less fortunate. Surely in those circumstances an announcement should also have been made - as a courtesy to both the affected singers and to the audience.

Performance DatesCreation 2016

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Caird Hall | Dundee

20 Mar, 19.30

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