Opera Scotland

Elektra 2017Edinburgh Players Opera Group

Read more about the opera Elektra

For their third assault on the huge operas of Strauss, the astonishingly ambitious musicians of EPOG followed Der Rosenkavalier and Die Frau ohne Schatten by taking on Elektra. Many of the volunteer singers were familiar regulars, including Elaine McKrill, a well-known dramatic soprano who has worked widely abroad, and was recently heard as one of the Valkyries at the Edinburgh Festival. The redoubtable Mike Thorne continued leading from the front and marshalling his forces over an amazingly brief rehearsal period of three days, after which they do a run through - a 'final rehearsal' as he described it. Sundry 'supporters' - family, friends and hangers-on - were welcome to sit in, after proffering the suggested donation of £15 as a contribution towards costs. On this occasion they included Cara McHardy's parents, who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary - perhaps by reminding themselves of how family life could have turned out.

As in every year so far, the quality of the result was astonishingly enjoyable even if it could hardly be perfect. In the intimate hall, the players took up most of the open stalls area, with the soloists lined up in front of them, below the front of the balcony. The spectators were spread around upstairs. The orchestra of seventy was perhaps slightly unbalanced - twenty-nine strings were sometimes overwhelmed by the twenty-eight winds (including Wagner tubas) and ten brass, plus timpani, percussion and harp. With the players meeting up once a year for such a short rehearsal period, it was inevitable that there were sections with slighty muddy textures. The loudest parts - such as the Recognition of Orest and the execution of Aegisth - found even the most powerful voices nearly inaudible.

However the plusses outweighed these minuses by a very substantial margin. Elaine McKrill and Cara McHardy are experienced performers of this repertoire, and were completely tireless. Deborah Humble had a beautiful, smoothly produced mezzo, rather showing up the veteran singers who are so often cast in this part. Julian Tovey really did sound like a proper Helden-bariton suitable for Wotan - Orest may not appear for long, but he does need plenty of power, sometimes at odds with the youthfulness of the character. Michael Doroszenko was a lighter-toned tenor than is usually heard as Aegisth. Of the other singers there were several young performers who stood out - Andrew Powis was excellent as the Young Servant, while the squad of maids with their Overseer got the afternoon off to a great start.

The dates for the next project have been confirmed as 28-30 September 2018, with the work to be confirmed later. Will it be more Wagner? - The Dutchman and Lohengrin have not been tackled yet. With Strauss they could do Salome or a Scottish premiere such as Die Aegyptische Helena or Arabella. Perhaps they will sample a third composer.

Production Cast

Conductor

Mike Thorne

Performance DatesElektra 2017

Map List

Town Hall, Portobello | Edinburgh

24 Sep, 14.00

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2017

Site by SiteBuddha