Scottish Opera’s 2018/19 Opera in Concert series opens with the Scottish premiere of Edgar by Giacomo Puccini.
It will be performed on Sunday 28 October, at Theatre Royal Glasgow.
A gem from the world of verismo opera, Puccini’s rarely-performed second opera was commissioned following the success of Le villi, which was performed as part of Scottish Opera’s 2016/17 Opera in Concert programme.
Italian conductor Gianluca Marcianò leads a cast that features soloists Peter Auty (Eugene Onegin 2018), Justina Gringyte (Carmen 2015), Claire Rutter (L’enfant prodigue 2016), David Stout (La bohème 2017) and Richard Wiegold (Madama Butterfly 2007). They are joined by a chorus, which includes members of Scottish Opera Young Company, and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. This semi-staged performance is directed by Roxana Haines.
Edgar tells the story of an impulsive young knight who runs off with the seductive gypsy Tigrana. Edgar eventually tires of their indulgent life and fakes his own death, but Tigrana soon takes her revenge. Despite the dark themes of murder and vengeance, Puccini’s score is one of remarkable lyricism, lush harmonies and rich orchestral colouring, clearly heralding the later genius of both Madama Butterfly and Tosca.
Scottish Opera music director Stuart Stratford said: ‘I’m thrilled that we’re performing Edgar, Puccini’s second opera, following on from the success of Le villi last year. It has all the elements you’d expect from a Puccini opera – amazing melodies and beautiful harmonies.
‘It’s not a tug of war, it’s a tug of love; the sacred love of Fidelia and the profane love of Tigrana. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share a forgotten masterpiece. Puccini famously didn’t want it to be staged in his lifetime. We’re doing it in concert, with semi-staging, which is a lovely way to experience the piece.’
The Opera in Concert series continues in April 2019 with the long-overdue Scottish premiere of Mascagni’s Silvano, a passionate seafaring story whose hard-hitting drama is reminiscent of the composer’s celebrated Cavalleria rusticana. Conducted by Stuart Stratford, Silvano tells the tale of a love triangle that ends in death and despair, and includes the Barcarolle famously featured in Scorsese’s Raging Bull.
It is performed in City Halls, Glasgow and at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh with soloists including acclaimed soprano Emma Bell as Matilde, Alexey Dolgov (Iolanta 2018) as Silvano, Lester Lynch as Renzo and Leah-Marian Jones (Rusalka 2016) as Rosa.
Scottish Opera is also performing at the award-winning Lammermuir Festival in East Lothian for the first time this September, with a new semi-staged performance of Benjamin Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace.
Soloists, chorus and instrumentalists will perform Britten’s colourful and exotic Church Parable in Haddington’s mediaeval St Mary’s Parish Church, telling the tale of Nebuchadnezzar and the three Israelites.