Opera Scotland

Gurrelieder 2016Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Gurrelieder

The opera programme of the 2016 Edinburgh Festival featured two imported stagings. The surprising rarity was a piece difficult to bring off and receiving its first Festival showing - Bellini's Norma. The second was a work far more frequently seen, Così fan tutte. There was the start of a new Ring project, in concert form, with Das Rheingold. The Usher Hall concert schedule also included several works that should be listed here, even if they are not exactly opera. These ranged from Bach (St Matthew Passion) to Elgar (Apostles) and Schoenberg (Gurrelieder).

It is twenty years since the Festival last mounted Schoenberg's gargantuan cantata, which starts as a massive late romantic tragedy, ending as a sparely-composed modern drama. Marking the end of the notably successful Donald Runnicles era at the BBCSSO, the performance also allowed us to hear two great Scottish singers of the present day in Karen Cargill and Iain Paterson.

Back in 1983, and again in 1996, the brief but vital role of the speaker was taken memorably by the astonishing octogenarian Hans Hotter. Thomas Quasthoff now made a similar impact (and would repeat the feat for Simon Rattle at the 2017 BBC Proms). Anja Kampe and Simon O'Neill take the leading romantic roles that provide a huge challenge.

Performance DatesGurrelieder 2016

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Usher Hall | Edinburgh

28 Aug, 20.00

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