Opera Scotland

Prigione di Edimburgo 2011Edinburgh Grand Opera

Read more about the opera Prigione di Edimburgo

A UK first - a concert performance of Federico Ricci's opera La prigione di Edimburgo. The plot is a ruthless adaptation of Scott's Heart of Midlothian. One of the main events of that famous novel is Jeanie Deans' walk to London to beg for her sister Effie to be pardoned. Indeed, a later operatic version of the the story, by Hamish MacCunn, is even called Jeanie Deans. In Prigione, that odyssey does not occur, and Jeanie (under the more Italian-friendly name of Fanny) is relegated to chorus leader. The two soprano roles of Ida (Effie) and Giovanna (Madge Wildfire) have equal prominence, one lyrical, the other darkly dramatic, and they have an excellent duet where rivalry turns to friendship. Both roles were beautifully sung and clearly differentiated. EGO veteran campaigner Ivor Klayman gave plenty of character to Tom, as smuggler turned prison governor. The performance was given a simple staging, with sets merely providing adjustments of level, but the performers all put a great deal of expression into their work, which even the chorus performed from memory. The contribution from the orchestra under Neil Metcalfe's direction, was astonishingly good, and the strongly melodic act finales built up a good head of steam. The linking narration as delivered by Donald Maxwell was an entertainment in itself and covered the absence of recitative and some numbers which were cut. It also attempted the perhaps forlorn task of making the plot reasonably clear. 

The opera may not be a masterpieve of the quality of Lucia di Lammermoor, but it is probably, at the very least, comparable in quality to Bizet's Fair Maid of Perth - another work which EGO might like to perform in a similar simplified style. Further opportunities to assess and enjoy it will be given when it has two further performances on this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

It is well worth listening to Opera Rara's single disc recording of extended highlights (illustrated with permission).  The cast includes Elisabetta Scano (Ida), Nuccia Focile (Giovanna), Christopher Purves (Tom) and Dean Robinson (Duke). The excellent Philharmonia is conducted by Gabriele Bellini. Order it from their website   http://www.opera-rara.com.

Performance Cast

Duca d'Argyle the Duke of Argyll

Peter Cannell

Giorgio the Duke's son

David Hamilton

Ida secretly married to Giorgio

Susan McNaught

Fanny Ida's sister

Jennifer Craig

Giovanna a madwoman, infatuated with Giorgio

Christina Dunwoodie

Tom a smuggler

Ivor Klayman

Patrizio a follower of the Duke

Russell Malcolm

Performance DatesPrigione di Edimburgo 2011

Map List

Queen's Hall, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

15 May, 19.30

St Andrews and St George's West | Edinburgh

19 Aug, 19.30 21 Aug, 19.30

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