Opera Scotland

Xerxes 1997Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)

Read more about the opera Serse

Serse  has become one of the most successful and popular of Hsndel's operas in modern revivals. This may be because the work is, like Agrippina, a serious subject that is generally treated in comic terms. In Britain it was neglected until 1992 when English National Opera mounted a superb staging by Nicholas Hytner that instantly achieved classic status.

This student production was the Scottish premiere, and like the ENO reading, took a light-hearted view of the piece. After the overture, the first voice we hear is that of King Xerxes himself, briefly diverted from his invasion of Greece by his admiration for a plane tree. This opening aria, 'Ombra mai fu' immediately became accepted as a great melody, to be included in vocal recitals long after the opera itself appeared to be consigned to history. It turns out that the work is a beautifully integrated comic masterpiece, and the student team seems to have had a good success with it.

Cast details are from a copy of the programme in the Scottish Theatre Archive, one of the Special Collections in Glasgow University Library.

Performance Cast

Serse (Xerxes) King of Persia

Renata Skarelyte (May 3, 7)

Hester Dam (May 5, 9)

Arsamene (Arsamenes) brother of Xerxes, in love with Romilda

Lynne McMurtry

Romilda daughter of Ariodate, in love with Arsamene

Adeline Ramage

Atalanta Romilda's sister, also (though secretly) in love with Arsamene

Rachel Hynes

Amastre (Amastris) Princess of Tagor betrothed to Xerxes, disguised as a man

Noemi Szelenyi

Ariodate (Ariodates) a prince, commander of Xerxes' army

Christopher Wilson

Elviro servant to Arsamene

Olafur Sigurdarson

Performance DatesXerxes 1997

Map List

New Athenaeum Theatre | Glasgow

3 May, 19.15 5 May, 19.15 7 May, 19.15 9 May, 19.15

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