Scottish Opera recently announced details of their forthcoming 2009/2010 season, and it promises some fascinating collaborations, the continuation of innovative schemes such as the Five:15 new works in progress endeavour, and revivals of some classic shows from the company’s past.
An 'unashamedly Italianate' new season opens on September 23 with a revival of Giles Havergal's 1994 production of The Elixir of Love. This will be followed by a collaboration on October 21 with New Zealand Opera on a production of Rossini's The Italian Girl in Algiers, which will be conducted by Francesco Corti, and will star Mary O’ Sullivan as Elvira, and the Italian bass Tiziano Bracci , who will make his UK debut in the role of Mustafa.
A further collaboration, this time with Opera North, will lead to a co-production that opens on April 9 of Janácek's bizarre and vibrant The Adventures of Mr Broucek. It will star the English tenor John Graham Hall in the title role, and features bagpipes, organ, and 40-strong choir amongst its many delights. This production will complete the Company's presentation of the complete body of Janácek's work that began in the 1970s and 1980s. The Company will also tour Janácek's rich, pathos-filled Kátya Kabanová to smaller venues across Scotland starting in the Eastwood Park theatre on September 10 this year. A revival of Tony award-winning director Stewart Laing's 1999 production of La Boheme, which presents the action in a contemporary context–the modern art scene of 21st-century New York-opens on Febraury 27.
In addition to these repertory pieces, the coming season sees Scottish opera continuing its Five:15 project where five new pieces each fifteen minutes in length, are presented in embryonic formats. Past years have featured high profile figures such as Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin, so though specific details have not been announced as yet, the project promises more interesting exploration of current developments in the form.Letters of a Love Betrayed - a new opera from contemporary company Music Theatre Wales- is based on the Isabel Allende story Cartas de Amor Traicionado, and will premiere in the Spring. Auntie Jane Saves the Planet, an interactive opera for three to six year olds first produced in 2002, is revived from January 6, whilst in yet another fascinating collaboration Scottish Opera and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama present a new production of Prokofiev's War and Peace, which will use a new performing version of the score that reduces the action to about three hours in length. It will run for four performances from January 22.
All in all then a promising looking season, with an emphasis on older repertory works and established productions (inevitable in these times) being balanced by the continuing efforts to encourage the composition and production of new Scottish works, and to engage in creative collaborations with a variety of other companies. Scottish Opera's recent resurgence shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
Photo: Giles Havergal
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