Opera Highlights -Scottish Opera

Scottish Opera 2019 Autumn Highlights – © Julie Broadfoot – www.juliebee.co.uk

Preparations for a drama-laden garden party provided the setting for Scottish Opera’s ‘Highlights’ show in the Hall on the last night of  Haddo’s highly popular Arts Festival.

Four young gifted singers Charlie Dummond, Martha Jones, Alex Bevan and Mark Nathan rose to the challenge of delivering extracts from over 20 popular operas. These ranged from composers as diverse as Mozart, Lully and Tchaikovsky to the lesser known Mildred Jessup, Ambrose Thomas  and Carlisle Floyd.

The structure of this production was a daring departure from the norm with the first half of the performance weaving 12 different flower-themed extracts into a loosely- woven, specially created story of romantic confusions.

At various moments, familiar tunes popped out from the plot including the highly popular Flower Duet, Lakme by Delibes with great performances from Charlie and Martha. Mozart’s Papagena from The Magic Flute was delivered with lively input from all the cast.

Following the interval, there were ten more diverse works including those by Samuel Bordoli, Scottish Opera’s current Composer in Residence, as well as Edward German and Alfred Cellier, who’d both collaborated with Arthur Sullivan.

With Alex Bevan as Marco and Mark Nathan as Giuseppe, the duo added extra oomph to a performance of Arthur Sullivan’s ‘We’re called gondolieri’ from The Gondoliers while music director, Ian Shaw skilfully maintained the show’s speedy momentum.

Flowers provide the theme connecting this programme together and there were some real gems of musical interest as well as familiar favourites. These were performed with verve and enthusiasm by the talented cast, but with such a diversity of great works it was a bit like ‘spot the tune’ within a richly-woven tapestry.

Lucy Gordon

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