Opera Scotland

Belshazzar's Feast 1998Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Read more about the opera Belshazzar's Feast

This was a real surprise, out of line with the RSNO's usual programming.  Alexander Lazarev believed in performing large-scale pieces in the Caird Hall,  either with a chorus (the Verdi Requiem) or without (Mahler's Song of the Earth).  This was very definitely with.  A further experiment was in the allocation of evenings, with Glasgow on Thursday and Edinburgh on Sunday - leaving Dundee to take the Saturday evening slot.  This unusual arrangement has not become standard.  Another unusual feature was the fact that the Dundee event was sponsored by GNER, operators of the East Coast railway line from London to Dundee and Aberdeen.

The solo baritone, William Shimell, had worked briefly with Scottish Opera early in his career.  He then sang Don Giovanni in a new production with ENO directed by Jonathan Miller.  Apart from occasional appearances at Covent Garden, however, his subsequent career was largely spent abroad - including major roles at La Scala, Munich, Vienna and the Met - so it was good to have an opportunity to hear him.

It is impossible to imagine choosing a work to follow after Belshazzar's Feast.  However many different pieces have been experimented with for the first part of the evening.  Here Lazarev tried two masterworks from earlier in the century.  First came a little squib, Fireworks, op4,  in which Stravinsky sought to show how well he had mastered the advice on orchestration learned from Rimsky-Korsakov.  This was followed by the two suites extracted from Ravel's ballet Daphnis and Chloë.

Performance Cast

Baritone

William Shimell

Performance DatesBelshazzar's Feast 1998

Map List

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow | Glasgow

1 Oct, 19.30

Caird Hall | Dundee

3 Oct, 19.30

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

4 Oct, 19.30

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