Opera Scotland

Fiery Angel 2017Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Fiery Angel

The 2017/18 season of Scottish Opera opened at the Edinburgh International Festival with a new production of Greek, the modern classic by Mark-Antony Turnage, which had its British premiere at the 1988 Festival. Further performances were scheduled for Glasgow later on. The main season began with a welcome and overdue revival of Sir David McVicar's powerful production of La traviata. In the New Year there are new productions of another successful recent piece, Flight (Jonathan Dove) as well as Ariadne auf Naxos and Eugene Onegin. The season ends with a novelty circus tent-style production of Pagliacci.

As a follow-up to the four operatic rarities mounted as Sunday concerts in 2016/17, the new theme is unfamiliar Russian operas - Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, Prokofiev's Fiery Angel and a Rachmaninov double bill - Aleko and Francesca da Rimini. The fourth of these concerts (third in date order) is a digest of Russian pieces performed by students from the National Opera Studio under the title From Russia With Love. There is also the regular Highlights tour round the Highlands and Islands, this time in two phases, Autumn and Spring.

A few years ago, the Conservatoire in Glasgow staged a series of generally excellent productions of Prokofiev operas in collaboration with Scottish Opera, who provided the orchestra and much of the technical assistance. The Love for Three Oranges, Betrothal in a Monastery and even War and Peace were tackled head on with great success, But the leading roles in The Fiery Angel are simply not parts that students should be expected to cope with. This concert will see them do some of the less strenuous parts, in what will presumably be a complete text of the work.

The Fiery Angel has only been seen in Scotland once before, at the 1970 Edinburgh Festival, in a version of the score that was significantly abbreviated. It came in for much criticism from the few enthusiasts then familiar with the piece. Even in those circumstances the obsessive Renata was given an exciting performance by the great Anja Silja.

It will certainly be a challenge for Scottish Opera, the students from RCS and a team of Russian guests to do this complex piece justice in a concert. These Sunday afternoon events have so far been hugely successful at involving the audience in the various dramas, even without scenery or costumes. However this meaty tragedy is even more of a challenge. Conductor Mikhail Agrest has worked for many years on the music staff at the Kirov/Mariinsky, where The Fiery Angel was staged (and recorded) in 1993.

Performance DatesFiery Angel 2017

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City Halls, Glasgow | Glasgow

3 Dec, 15.00

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