Opera Scotland

Oedipus Rex 1989Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Oedipus Rex

The programme for the 1988-89 season of Scottish Opera opened with the company's first production of a work by Tippett, Midsummer Marriage. The other new productions were Fledermaus, Rheingold, Don Giovanni, Oedipus Rex, Traviata and Street Scene. The revivals were Magic Flute, Iolanthe, and Bohème, In the autumn the previous season's Richard Jones Così fan tutte, redirected by Tim Hopkins, went out on the medium-scale tour. There was also a small-scale, piano-accompanied tour of Don Carlos, so far Scottish Opera's only attempt at this work.

Oedipus Rex received a superbly concentrated production which built up an excellent sense of tension. The musical pacing by Graeme Jenkins and the orchestra was highly effective, and the climax was shattering. It was helped by the claustrophobic set designed by Stafanos Lazaridis. The ranks of chorus members were each confined in a small space, with just heads visible from the rows of boxes. Only the soloists were able to enter and exit freely. The excellent designer was here trying his hand at direction, along with Michael Hunt, and the results were excellent.

The great Wagnerian tenor Alberto Remedios returned to a work he had appeared in at Sadler’s Wells in 1962, when he sang, and recorded, the role of the Shepherd. Anne-Marie Owens was a superbly incisive Jocasta, and Rodney Macann highly effective as Creon and Messenger. Justin Lavender, John Tranter and the narrator all made very useful contributions.

The coupling was distinctly odd – a new version of Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka, translated to a setting completely different from Fokine’s original faitground. It was all very dark -  an abstract concept emphasising the alienation of the central character. While it was excellent to have Scottish Ballet collaborating in this way, and musically it was fine, the production was a sad disappointment which was never seen again.

Performance DatesOedipus Rex 1989

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Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

23 Mar, 19.15 25 Mar, 19.15 28 Mar, 19.15 30 Mar, 19.15 1 Apr, 19.15

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