Opera Scotland

Zar lässt sich photographieren 2021Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Tsar has his Photograph Taken

The more aware we become of the range of Kurt Weill's compositions, the more of a chameleon he becomes.  For the last years of his life, from 1936 until his death in 1950, he lived in New York, adapting his style to be suited to Broadway.  He collaborated with old Broadway-hands, including Moss Hart and Ira Gershwin.  He experimented with new forms, such as Lady in the Dark.  His development culminated in the wonderful Broaway opera that is Street Scene.

For many years our knowledge was limited, in the UK at least, to his earlier collaborations with Bertolt brecht, most obviously the Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, perhaps Happy End.  The dance drama Seven Deadly Sins also appears from time time to time.  These revealed a jazz influence, blended with cabaret and a hard, cynical, satirical edge.

What had passed us by was Weill's earliest work.  The text for The Tsar is by that arch-expressionist of German drama, Georg Kaiser.  Billed as an opera buffa - a farcical comedy - it is, musically at least, far more modern-sounding than the pieces, such as Threepenny Opera, that followed soon after.

Scottish Opera's Young Company presented a new production of Weill's satirical comedy.  It was produced at a time quite soon after the death of the Tsar and his family, so the question of taste must have been relevant then, in a way not so apposite now.

Due to the prevailing Covid-19 precautions it was staged in an open-sided marquee behind the Edington Street production and rehearsal studios.  The set was a modernistic affair of plastic panels.  The musicians, in Paul Aron's reduction for two pianos and perfcussion, were on a balcony to the right.  The stage was very wide, but quite shallow.

Tactful amplification allowed the voices to carry well, and for the words to project clearly.  This was a most enjoyable and stimulating addition to these young performers' repertoire.  The audience, all suitably spaced within their bubbles, was extremely enthusiastic. 

Performance DatesZar lässt sich photographieren 2021

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Scottish Opera Production Studios | Glasgow

31 Jul, 19.00 1 Aug, 16.00

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