Opera Scotland

From Russia with Love 2018National Opera Studio

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Every year, Britain's major opera companies host residencies with the London-based National Opera Studio - the UK's leading training organisation for young opera professionals. This year is the Studio's fortieth anniversary, and this year’s trips began in Glasgow with a week-long residency culminating in a semi-staged performance directed by Max Hoehn featuring Russian-themed repertoire.  Curated by Music Director Stuart Stratford it was hosted at the Theatre Royal and accompanied by the Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

The singers on display were: Carly Owen, Lorena Paz Nieto (sopranos); Bethan Langford, Polly Leech, Sinéad O'Kelly (mezzo-sopranos); Feargal Mostyn-Williams (countertenor), Andrew Henley, Satriya Krisna, Bechara Moufarrej (tenors); Edmund Danon (baritone) and Emyr Wyn Jones (bass-baritone).

There were also four repetiteurs, who contributed to the actual performance by playing in the pit, variously on piano, celeste and harpsichord. These were Erika Gundesen, Igor Horvat, Satoshi Kubo and Florent Mourier.  They could also appear silently on stage when extras were required.

The programme was:

Rimsky-Korsakov: The Golden Cockerel (CO, F M-W)

Prelude; Astrologer's Aria (Act 1): Aria of the Queen of Shemakha (Act 2).

Rimsky-Korsakov: Kaschey the Immortal ((BL)

Kascheyevna's Aria (Scene 2). 

Tchaikovsky: Cherevichki (CO, BM) .

Scene and Vakula's Arioso (Act 1)

Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress (LPN, AH, ED)

Act 1 Scene 1; Anne's Aria(Act 1 Scene 3);Tom's Aria (Act 2 Scene 1).


Walton: The Bear (SO)

Popova's Aria.

Musorgsky: Khovanshchina (CO, PL, ED, EWJ)

Scene from Act 3 (Marfa, Susanna, Dosifey; Shaklovity's Monologue.

Musorgsky: Boris Godunov (SO)

Marina's Aria (Act 3).

Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin (SK, ED, EWJ)

Duel Scene.

This was a meticulously planned and executed programme, staged within the set for Flight currently in the repertoire - the three airport lifts were useful for fast entrances and exits.

Particular highlights were undoubtedly the extended excerpt from Khovanshchina, with Polly Leech's moving Marfa matched with Carly Owen's hysterical Susanna. The Duel Scene from Onegin was a lovely appetiser for the forthcoming staging, while Marina's aria (Sinéad O'Kelly) was a reminder that we have not seen Boris in Scotland for far too long. She earlier gave us a hilariously fiery account of the Walton. The demanding Stravinsky extracts were beautifully delivered and it was wonderful to be remided of one of the best productions from David Pountney's early career in Scotland, in The Golden Cockerel.

The two extreme rarities spotlighted Rimsky's short single act Kashchei piece, a frightening solo by Bethan Langford, If Rimsky's version of the Tsarina's slippers story, Christmas Eve, has been seen in Scotland, we have not previously heard anything from Tchaikovsky's treatment, Cherevichki. Here we had an excellent tenor aria, with Carly Owen as his love Oksana setting the scene for Bechara Moufarrej's attractively sung Vakula.


The 2017/18 season of Scottish Opera

The season 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. There were further performances in Glasgow in January. 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 were fresh stagings of another successful recent piece, Flight (Jonathan Dove) as well as Ariadne auf Naxos and Eugene Onegin. As a follow-up to the four operatic rareties mounted as Sunday concerts in 2016/17, the new subjects were rare Russian operas - Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, Prokofiev's Fiery Angeland a Rachmaninov double bill - Aleko and Francesca da Rimini. The fourth of these concerts was a digest of Russian pieces performed by students from the National Opera Studio under the title From Russia With Love. There was also the regular Highlights tour round the Highlands and Islands, this time in two phases, autumn and spring.

Performance DatesFrom Russia with Love 2018

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

25 Feb, 15.00

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