Opera Scotland

War Requiem 2019Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera War Requiem

It can hardly be said that there is ever a time when a performance of the War Requiem would be inappropriate. It was recognised from the time of its premiere that it had a universality that projected its relevance far beyond the First World War era of Owen's poems.

2019 saw much activity in June to commemorate the anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, giving this event particular immediacy. This performance was originally intended to restore the original distribution of solo parts - a Russian soprano, British tenor and German baritone. Where there was perhaps a sense of novelty was in the presence of a French orchestra, guided by Daniel Harding, a brilliant British conductor whose career has been largely spent on the continent.

In the event, the performance provided an interesting echo of the 1962 Coventry premiere, as the promised Russian soprano, Albina Shagimuratova, could not appear, with a British singer, Emma Bell, making an excellent substitute.

 

The opera programme for the 2019 Edinburgh International Festival included two fully-staged productions. The Komische Opera, Berlin, last here in 2015, brought a staging by director Barrie Kosky of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. Scottish Opera's contribution was the European premiere of the noted American compoer Missy Mazzoli's interpretation of Breaking the Waves, a bleak view of life in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, as depicted in the 1996 film by Lars von Trier.

The series of notable concert performances featured Götterdämmerung, bringing to a climax the Festival's four-year cycle of Wagner's Ring. A second Berlin company, the Deutsche Oper, led by its Scottish conductor, Donald Runnicles, brought Puccini's rare early Manon Lescaut featuring the Met's star soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role. Iestyn Davies led the cast in a performance of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice.

There was a rare and wonderful Elgar oratorio, the Kingdom, with the Edinburgh Festival Chorus joined by Martyn Brabbins and the Hallé. Even more unusual was the celebration of Leonard Bernstein's centenary - a concert presentation by Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra of his great musical West Side Siory.  In addition, the opening concert brought the Los Angeles Philharmonic and their charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel in Mahler's inspiring 'Resurrection' Symphony. And the Orchestre de Paris brought Britten's War Requiem.

Performance DatesWar Requiem 2019

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Usher Hall | Edinburgh

24 Aug, 19.00

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