Opera Scotland

Makropulos Case 1970National Theatre, Prague

Read more about the opera Makropulos Case

1970 saw a very successful mix of operas at the Festival. The Czechs from Prague's National Theatre, returning after the success of their 1964 visit, once more brought five productions. There was again a British premiere, The Excursions of Mr Brouček. The others were the popular Bartered Bride, Dalibor (repeated from 1964), and two works familiar in London, but new to Scotland - The Cunning Little Vixen and The Makropulos Case. or Affair as it was billed here. The two other Festival operas were also great rarities. Proceedings opened with the Frankfurt Opera, who brought their controversial staging of Prokofiev's Fiery Angel. The director and designer were the Czech pair responsible for Dalibor (and the 1964 Rusalka). Scottish Opera's excellent contribution was just as enterprising - Henze's acerbic Elegy for Young Lovers, directed by the composer himself.

The Festival's opera schedule was as follows:

First week, commencing 24 Aug: Mon Fiery Angel; Tue Elegy for Young Lovers; Wed Fiery Angel; Thu Elegy for Young Lovers; Fri -; Sat Elegy for Young Lovers.

Second week, commencing 31 Aug: Mon Bartered Bride; Tue Dalibor; Wed Cunning Little Vixen; Thu Makropulos Case; Fri Bartered Bride; Sat Excursions of Mr Brouček.

Third week, commencing 7 Sep: Mon Dalibor; Tue Makropulos Case; Wed Excursions of Mr Brouček; Thu Cunning Little Vixen; Fri Bartered Bride; Sat Dalibor.

This was the Scottish premiere of a work which had already had a great success in London at Sadler’s Wells with Marie Collier as Emilia, conducted by Charles Mackerras. This Czech staging was a bit obscure in its design - a skeletal framework supporting a number of letters which flashed on and off to generally mystifying effect. But it was musically enjoyable, with Bohumil Gregor building things to a well-timed climax.

The opera has since gone on to achieve greater popularity here, with David Pountney's production enjoying two runs, and, perhaps surprisingly, a small-scale piano-accompanied version directed by Antony McDonald, which toured far and wide. The role of Emilia Marty is a demanding one even for a talented singing actress.

Performance DatesMakropulos Case 1970

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King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

3 Sep, 19.30 8 Sep, 19.30

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