Opera Scotland

Impresario 2016Fox Opera

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New opera company Fox Opera, launched to give opportunities to emerging artists, made an interesting choice for their first venture - a double bill of Bizet's rarely performed farce Dr Miracle, composed when he was a student, preceded by Mozart's Impresario. The Bizet was in English, while the Mozart had English dialogue and arias sung in German.

Featuring current students and alumni from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the participants were all volunteers giving their time to gain useful experience. The excellent orchestra consisted of twenty-five players and reached a high standard of performance under Olivia Clarke, beginning with a sprightly account of what was undoubtedly the most familiar piece of music in the programme, the Overture to The Impresario. The direction of Paola Cuffolo did all that was required of it, making sure that all four characters were as natural as they could be, and handled the extensive dialogue well.

The difficult decision to be tackled with this rather obscure piece is simply how to perform it. There are four vocal numbers, a showpiece for each soprano, an elaborate trio in which they are joined by the tenor, and a concluding quartet that includes a few perfunctory lines for the baritone. The original has several non-singing roles, most notably the title role of Frank himself. Here a sensible decision was taken - the tenor singer, Vogelsang, disappears as a character, being subsumed into the role of Frank, who therefore assumes greater musical importance.

The two sopranos were both excellent, and, importantly, had well distinguished voices. Ana Pousa had no problems with her stratospheric vocal runs, while Caroline Kennedy injected plenty of emotion into her challenging music. Nicolas Maraziotis has a good lyric tenor, and he and Alan Rowland combined well with the ladies in the finale.

The venue, it must be said, was quite spectacular, a church designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the last years of the nineteenth century. It is a superb structure, full of beautifully observed detail typical of the architect's unique style. There are all sorts of attractive elements throughout this fascinating building that rewarded exploration. As a performance space it worked well, and the good-sized orchestra to the left side never threatened to drown the singers on a small stage. The acoustic was warm, giving the voices an attractive bloom

Performance Cast

Buff a comic singer

Alan Rowland

Monsieur Vogelsang a tenor

Nicolas Maraziotis

Mme Herz a prima donna

Ana Pousa

Mlle Silberklang a prima donna

Caroline Kennedy

Performance DatesImpresario 2016

Map List

Mackintosh Church | Glasgow

4 Aug, 19.30 5 Aug, 19.30 6 Aug, 14.30

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