Mary Woodward Review

Scottish Ballet: Cinderella, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Review:

Scottish Ballet   Cinderella

**** 4 stars

I wonder if Christopher Hampton is in a time warp, and hasn’t realised he’s creating ballets in an age which is accustomed to Matthew Bourne’s ballets and expects a more continuous story line and costumes that don’t look as though they come from mid-way through the last century… mind you, this ballet was first created for New Zealand in 2007: maybe it’s simply showing its age, like the rest of us.

This is a little harsh but oh dear … the Fairy Godmother [who first came out of the undergrowth, gave her god-daughter a pumpkin and disappeared again] wore what looked like a governess’s costume in a very drab greyish colour.  Her rose fairies were equally frumpy with pink skirts and green tops that did nothing for them – or me.  At the ball, the guests were dressed identically, the men in evening dress, the girls in dull pink and black frocks, with which the sister’s acid green and bright pink dresses clashed horribly – but maybe this was the intention?  Cinderella and the prince were lovely in silver and gold but why was she the only one in a tutu?  And don’t get me started on the grasshopper and moths in the garden scene –they were straight out of the pastiche ballet in the middle of MB’s Swan Lake but without the permission to laugh or even giggle because everyone else was taking things so seriously!

There were slight twists to the classic Cinderella story.  On her mother’s death Cinderella plants a rose bush in her garden, which she visits when she can: when she leaves the ball, she drops a sparkling slipper, but retains a silver rose the Prince has given her.  The Prince orders copies of the slipper to be made and sent out throughout the kingdom – but still takes the original with him as he hunts for his beloved.  The wicked stepmother finds and destroys Cinders’ remaining slipper, and the one the Prince brings with him somehow manages to fit Tall Stepsister.  He is about to accept her as his bride when he sees that Cinders has the rose, and it all turns out well…

The characters are excellent – especially Kayla-Maree Tarantolo’s short Stepsister, who had a fabulous comic sense and way more heart than her taller sister, and richly deserved to end up with her one of the Prince’s Best Friends [Evan Loudon and Thomas Edwards].  The other one’s reluctance to dance or have anything to do with Tall Stepsister was obvious, but not overdone.  Grace Horler’s tall Stepsister was as mean as her heartless and greedy mother [Marge Hendrick], while Cinderella’s father [Christopher Harrison], though loving, sought comfort in alcohol and stood by while his daughter was cruelly treated by her new family.  I felt very sorry for the grasshopper [Jamiel Laurence] and the moths [Constant Vigier and Bruno Micchiardi], who did the best they could but were fighting a losing battle with their ridiculous costumes: the tailors and cobblers made a much better job of their cameos.  The corps did a good if slightly ragged job, and the Prince and Cinders [Barnaby Rook-Bishop and Sophie Martin] were technically superb – one amazingly high lift somehow corkscrewed down into an impressive hold: but I guess (a) I’ve been spoiled by a recent diet of Matthew Bourne, Ballet Rambert and the Trocks and (b) I’m not a ballet expert and so don’t appreciate the finer points of what I see [no pun intended].

What were the bits I really liked?  The row of legs as the Prince went by with the sparkling slipper… the rose moon which first bloomed in the garden and watched over Cinderella when she was at the ball… the dressmakers’ dance with Cinders and their tape measures as they made a ball dress for her… and the lovely transformations from house to garden.  It was a delight to have a real, and huge, orchestra making a very good job of the Prokofiev score – and unusual to see them applauding their conductor as he left the pit to go on stage and receive his applause.

The story was well told, and the loneliness of both Cinderella and her Prince were subtly shown, especially when the rest of the action was frozen and the main protagonist showed their isolation from the people around them.  I usually love Scottish Ballet and really enjoy their shows: I enjoyed the storytelling but got bored when it was interrupted by some ‘show-off dancing’.

There was a delighted ‘aaah’ from the audience when finally the happy couple went to the garden and rose petals showered down on them, and plenty of warm applause both during and at the end of the show.  It may have failed to excite me, but most people were delighted and went home happy – the woman next to me saying she’d been transported into a wonderland she’d not experienced since she was eight years old.  Go and see it and make up your own mind.

Scottish Ballet Presents, Cinderella, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Runs until  30th, December, for tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/sbcinderella

The production will then tour to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle.

 

Review by Mary Woodward.

Mary Woodward Review

McGonagall’s Chronicles, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Review

McGonagall’s Chronicles (which will be remembered for a very long time)

**** (4 stars)

Originally presented as part of Oran Mór’s Play, Pie and Pint series, and back by popular demand, Gary McNair’s play more than justified its return.  I arrived very late, and sat all alone on the back row of Trav 1, so was somewhat divorced from proceedings: had I been sitting lower down, I think I would have given 5 stars: the audience certainly loved it.

A simple set – a chair in front of a fireplace, with three claymores of graded size [akin to flying ducks] beside it and the mounted heads of a unicorn and a stag above it – in front of which a man with a HAT speaks to us of the tragic life and death of the self-convinced World’s Greatest Poet whom the rest of the world regarded as a laughingstock.

The Traverse’s winter offering is presented in rhyme as tortuous and torturous as McGonagall’s own, exquisitely delivered by McNair himself, ably supported by Brian James O’Sullivan and sound designer and composer Simon Liddell.  I was impressed by O’Sullivan’s chameleon-like ability to represent any number of civic dignitaries, editors, critics, and Ordinary People while also providing, with Simon Liddell, the musical background to this tragic story.  And all credit to McNair, who manages to marry the absurdity and comic potential of the appalling rhymes and highfaluting sentiments with the pathetic story of the man who refused to accept his failings and persisted in believing that the world would finally recognise his genius.

What on earth made McGonagall do it?  A poorly-educated weaver, child of weavers, who left school at the age of seven, tried to escape the poverty trap [sprung upon him and the other weavers of Dundee when machines took the work away from the men, women and children who had previously prospered] by writing poetry, or at least what he thought was poetry: a collection of lines of random length and with little attention to rhythm, metre, grammar or syntax but with a RHYME at the end of each line.  Criticism didn’t deter him; abuse and missiles hurled at him while performing his poems didn’t stop him.  He walked to Balmoral to try to read his poems to the Queen, he walked to London in the hopes of finding the fabled gold that paved its streets, he even crossed the Atlantic to try to make his name in America – all to no avail, as he died in poverty and was buried in a pauper’s grave in Edinburgh.

And yet… we remember his name, when his contemporaries are forgotten, his poems are studied in universities, and it’s impossible to cross the Tay rail bridge without remembering the 96 people whose death was commemorated in what is possibly his most famous poem.  Do we laugh at the deluded madman, or applaud his irrepressible drive to write despite all the mockery and abuse?  McGonagall Societies host McGonagall Suppers, and wherever poetry is found, there too will be his name: and if that’s not fame and recognition of a very unusual form of genius, I don’t know what is!

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry: if you sit on the front row you can throw the things you will be given – and if you sit further back, you can always bring your own eggs, tomatoes, cabbages or worse.  The run is short – don’t miss it!

McGonagall’s Chronicles, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, run ends 15th December, For tickets go to: https://www.traverse.co.uk/whats-on/event-detail/1525/mcgonagalls-chronicles-(which-will-be-remembered-for-a-very-long-time).aspx

 

 

 

Mary Woodward Review, Uncategorized

Fisherman’s Feast, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Review:

Fisherman’s Feast

***** (5 stars)

Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre welcomed us to an evening celebrating the first ever ‘St Andrew’s Fair Saturday’.  In a world obsessed by consumption, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday a recent memory, and at a time of global uncertainty with challenges presented by climate, migration, war and prejudice, it was good to come together and celebrate Scotland’s welcoming of diversity and the shared cultures that unite us, while raising awareness of the group that the Storytelling Centre is supporting this year – the Multicultural Family Base in Coburg Street.

The evening’s format was simple – entertainment, first course, entertainment, second course, closing entertainment and farewell – and it was excellent.

Gerda Stevenson, poet, songmaker, singer, musician and so much more read some of her poems from her most recent collection, Quines, which pays homage to the many remarkable Scottish women from Neolithic times to the 21st century, whose stories are told by a narrator, the protagonist, or someone/ something that was part of her story.  We heard from Maggie Dixon of Musselburgh who was hanged for the alleged crime of killing her illegitimate child, but startled everyone by knocking on the lid of her coffin at her wake in the Sheep’s Heid in Duddingston and emerging alive.  Under Scots law she was regarded as dead, and couldn’t be hanged again [huge cheers].   A young girl, daughter of a Scottish slave owner who brought her to Scotland, spoke about winning a prize for penmanship at the age of twelve, and the Horsehead Nebula commented on the Dundonian astronomer who discovered her, but who the records ignore.  Gerda ended her contribution with her song aye the gean blooms from her latest album, celebrating the turning cycles of the world.

We were then treated to an outstandingly good fish pie – St Andrew was a fisherman, after all!  There was plenty for all, and the greedy among us made sure the dishes were returned empty…  It was the perfect opportunity to get to know our table companions – the ice was broken between us as we passed plates around to be filled, rather than each sitting in front of our own plate, not needing to communicate with anyone else.

Carlos Arrendondo began part two.  He’s a poet, musician and songmaker who fled the harsh regime in Chile in 1974 and sought refuge in Glasgow.  He reminded us that displacement is not one-way: people have been forced to leave Latin America and Africa, but plenty of Scots have moved the other way, and there are many Scottish surnames in Patagonia, Chile, and Argentina.  In una nuvel blanca, written in his early days in Glasgow, Carlos speaks to the cloud that’s floating freely in the sky.  It accompanies him everywhere and shares his loneliness: there is no freedom for the people left behind in Chile.  An inhabitant of Dungavel spoke movingly of their “Welcome to Scotland” after the horrors they had experienced in fleeing their homeland – refugees flee from wars instigated and supported by nations in the West who then turn their backs on the people whose plight they have created.

Anne Spiers then spoke of the Multicultural Family Base [mcfb]. It’s a family support agency which is doing amazing work available to everyone who arrives in Scotland, regardless of their country of origin or their reason for coming.  [See their website www.mcfb.org.uk.]   Anne spoke movingly of the work mcfb do with people of all ages, and was most grateful for the Storytelling Centre’s championing of them.

Popular culture brings people together, and one of the most common links is the telling of stories.  Brilliant storyteller and Kenyan Scot Mara Menzies began by telling us her own story which began in Kenya and through an incredible chain of circumstances ended in Glasgow.  She told us the story of the young, well-intentioned chief of a tribe, whose mother kept nagging him to get married: with the help of his barber and a supposedly magic mirror, the perfect wife was found – but would she consent to marry the chief?

We were left hanging in the air but consoled with the advent of our dessert and the opportunity for further conversation with our fellow diners.

Donald then reminded us that St Andrew was both a traveller [around the Black Sea, probably not as far as Scotland] and a very good social bridge-builder, bringing people to meet Jesus, bringing Greek visitors to meet his early followers.  He was also the one who got the party going when a hungry multitude had assembled to hear Jesus: Andrew was the one who found the lad with five loaves and two fishes…  He’s the obvious choice for our patron saint, embodying Scotland’s culture of welcoming and making connections between the diverse peoples who arrive here.

Mara Menzies returned to tell us how the wild cat came to live indoors, raising the roof with her concluding revelation of “the most wonderful creature in the world” with whom Wild Cat chooses to live.  Carlos sang a moving lament for all the people and places he has had to leave and how “maybe being alive is the greatest miracle of all”.

The whole evening was enormous fun and a joyful celebration both of the resilience of the human spirit and the warmth of the welcome Scotland can offer to the people who seek refuge here.

Mary Woodward Review

Ballet Rambert Life is a Dream, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Review:

Ballet Rambert Life is a Dream

**** (4 stars)

There were castors. A bed on castors.  A bald female dummy on a tall wooden framework with castors.  A small table with a desk lamp, on castors.  A huge spotlight with wings, on castors.  Sometimes these were moved around, possibly significantly.

A man slept at the small table. Various people slept on the bed, lay on the bed, jumped on the bed, danced on the bed.  Sometimes there were many people on stage, sometimes just one or two.

In act one there were windows onto which a variety of black and white grainy patterns and various monochrome scenes of ‘outside’ were projected: in act two, stark white light and black shadows. There were dancers in shades of black, white and grey, whom it was hard to see among the first act’s grainy textures of costume and projection.  There were straitjackets.

There was a lot of excellent dancing – all barefoot – with some of the dancers swapping traditional ballet roles, so that women lifted men into leaps and poses and men danced with men. There was a superb bit of mirroring when two nearly-identical men copied each other’s moves so exactly you might have thought there was but one man and a mirror.  There was music, much of it of the ‘tinkle tinkle plonk’ type, with occasional lyrical swoopings, and at one stage a cabaret-style song in what I took to be Polish.

The Financial Times called it “a cinematic masterpiece”, and the creative team included Olivier Award-nominated choreographer Kim Brandstrup, ‘legendary filmmakers’ the Quay Brothers. The music was by Witold Lutoslawski.

Apparently this was ‘a contemporary re-imagining of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s classic play, Life is a Dream’.  In the play, a prince has been incarcerated since childhood and is freed for a day.  He goes on a violent rampage and is seized, put to sleep, and imprisoned again.  When he wakes, he thinks it was all a dream – when he is released for a second time he approaches everything more cautiously.

It would seem that the first act was meant to represent the dreamlike imaginings of a theatre producer, while the second act showed him the stark light of reality from which he ultimately chose to retreat. I can’t say that I was aware of any clear sense of narrative – maybe there was but I simply couldn’t grasp it?  Reading the programme today, things have become a little clearer: but last night I simply marvelled at the dancing and wished that it hadn’t been lost in the monochrome mist.

Rambert: Life is a Dream, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, Runs until Saturday 24th November for tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/rambert

Review by Mary Woodward.

 

Mary Woodward Review

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo Review:

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

***** 5 Stars

For anyone who has never seen Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo [which included me until now] I must explain that they are a New York-based company of male dancers, all of whom have been trained and performed in classical ballet, and who have now seized with both hands the opportunity to embrace their inner diva, put on pointe shoes, and dance the female roles hitherto denied them.  They have nothing to do with Monte Carlo – the company began in New York doing late-night ‘off the wall’ shows – no-one had any idea that 44 years later they would be touring the world and being greeted as rapturously by audiences in Japan as in Edinburgh.

The Trocks display strength, power, grace, beauty and exquisite comic timing…a fusion of classical ballet at its best and the merciless exposure of all that is pretentious and posey in the ballet world – the bitchiness, the rivalries, the competition – and the usually unspoken thoughts and attitudes that were here clearly expressed.

The Trocks’ first offering was Les Sylphides – a piece from the classical repertoire in which nothing very much happens: some girls in long white frocks dance about in the woods and have fun at the expense of a young man who strays into their path.  The original was choreographed by Michael Fokine to the music of Chopin, and is a ‘mood piece’.  I haven’t laughed so much for ages: not simply at the byplay between dancers and the witty sending-up of the whole balletic convention – and especially at the completely vacant face and aimless wandering of the lone male dancer who’d possibly strayed in from another planet, let alone another ballet…

Modern dance was sent up in Patterns in Space, as three dancers clad in wonderful figure-hugging panne velvet costumes leaped, stomped, posed and gestured while two wannabe soloist ‘musicians ‘ produced a pants-wettingly hilarious stream of “music” from a random assortment of objects including an egg whisk, bubble wrap, an electric-shaver-and-aerosol combination and, finally, a recorder – from which a single squeak emerged.  The musicians were obviously more intent on making an artistic impression themselves than in having anything to do with the three dancers strutting their stuff behind them – so acutely observed and such an accurate parody!

La Trovatiara pas de cinq allowed three tall and feisty ballerinas to run rings around the two [tiny] men who supposedly had captured these Barbary pirate women – a delightful romp to the music of Verdi with many comedic moments and a whole lot of brilliant dancing.  Following that, I would have preferred Olga Supphozova’s Dying Swan to have been performed completely straight – the dancing was so superbly expressive, it should stand alone.  However, the seemingly endless stream of feathers falling from “her” tutu as she danced, and her sudden crippling attacks of sciatica kept the rest of the audience in gales of laughter.

There was a feats of fabulous frocks in the final piece – Paquita, originally a two-act ballet but now only existing in the form of the divertissement inserted into the original by Petipa, which the Trocks lovingly re-created for us.  They were dressed in jewel-coloured tutus in pink, orange, red and crimson, a perfect foil for the cream tutu of the slender graceful principal dancer that one woman I spoke to wouldn’t believe was a man.  They performed astonishing balletic feats – there was still had a little humour at the start but the piece was ultimately a showcase for the incredible technique of these dancers who could well rival “real” women with their grace, poise, elegance and physical strength.

This was a fascinatingly mixed programme which was greeted by almost constant laughter from the extremely knowledgeable audience – but which was also given the accolade of prolonged and appreciative applause for some extremely technically assured and jaw-dropping technique and artistry.  In their encore, to New York, New York, the Trocks celebrated their home city and let down their hair in a chorus line number, giving us the opportunity once more to show our warm appreciation.

The evening was an absolute joy!  Alas, we will have to wait two or three years to see them again in Edinburgh: anyone fancy going over to Belfast to catch the final performances of the Trocks’ UK tour??

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Run Ended.

Review by Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward Review

Scottish Opera:Edgar Giacomo Puccini, Theatre Royal, Glasgow: Review

Edgar Giacomo Puccini Scottish Opera concert performance

***** (5 stars)

I went to see this concert performance of one of Puccini’s early operas expecting to be bored – Puccini not being my favourite composer – and found to my surprise that I really enjoyed myself! As well as splendid roles for soprano and tenor, there were two excellent roles for mezzo and baritone, a major part for the chorus [including the Scottish Opera Young Company], and the additional bonus of having the superb Scottish Opera Orchestra on the platform in plain sight instead of being tucked away down in the pit.

The plot is melodramatic, and the characters mainly two-dimensional stereotypes. Set in Flanders in 1302, the noble hero Edgar is seduced by the wiles of the gypsy Tigrana, who seduces him away from his home and from the woman who loves him – the pure and noble Fidelia.  Frank, Fidelia’s brother, is also drawn to Tigrana, but is rejected.  Edgar, realising the error of his ways, rejects Tigrana and determines to redeem himself by fighting for Flanders on the field of battle.  Tigrana vows to avenge herself…

There was some superb singing and a lot of good music with hints of Puccini’s future operatic successes: I certainly heard snatches of Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut and Tosca.  The orchestra was often telling the story with the vocal line soaring above it, and the principals, singing without scores from the front of the stage, reached out and grabbed us effortlessly.

Peter Auty’s Edgar seemed to be suffering vocally: his middle and lower register came out clear and strong, but some of the high notes seemed to be requiring a lot of effort and a few didn’t seem to want to come out. He isn’t the most expressive of actors – but that seems to be quite common among tenors!  Claire Rutter’s Fidelia was a moving blend of innocence and fidelity, especially in her grief at Edgar’s supposed death: her gorgeous soprano voice came out clear and strong, with some lovely pianissimid.  David Stout was excellent as Frank – he has a lovely baritone voice and a very mobile face, much more expressive than Edgar in the duel [with air swords], fractionally less credible as the passionate lover struggling with his infatuation with the ‘evil’ seductress Tigrana.

But the show was stolen by Justina Gringytiė’s Tigrana. From the first moment of her appearance, supremely indifferent to the scorn and insults of the crowd of church-goers, to the final tragic moments of the opera, she had us all bewitched.  Truly the devil gets all the best tunes and the baddies have all the fun!  Her voice was magnificent and her facial expressions incredibly eloquent: she obviously enjoyed the power she had over her lovers and the sensual pleasures she could offer them.  She became a tigress when scorned by Edgar yet seemed so genuine in her grief over Edgar’s coffin – only to cast off that mask and display a vindictive pleasure in getting her revenge on Edgar by killing Fidelia.

The Glasgow audience cheered and applauded this opportunity to enjoy one of Puccini’s first operas – it is to be hoped that this won’t be its only appearance in Glasgow.

Edgar Giacomo Puccini Scottish Opera concert performanceRUN ENDED

Review by Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward Review

Scottish Opera: Rigoletto, Theatre Royal Glasgow: Review

Rigoletto Giuseppe Verdi: Scottish Opera

**** (4 stars)

Rigoletto is the hunch-backed jester who serves the Duke of Mantua, assisting this handsome womaniser in his seductions, and laughing at the pain suffered by the distraught parents of the young women he’s pursued, bedded and discarded. As the opera begins, the court is mocking the distraught Monterone, whose daughter is the Duke’s latest victim: Monterone curses Rigoletto for his part in the seduction.

Rigoletto has a daughter of his own, Gilda, whom he keeps hidden from everyone at the court: unbeknown to him, the Duke has found her. Rigoletto is tricked into being part of the group who abduct Gilda and take her to the Duke’s palace: when he, weeping, tries to find his daughter, he is mocked.  Rigoletto decides to take a contract out on the Duke, and hires the assassin Sparafucile to kill him.  Sparafucile’s sister, Maddalena, lures the Duke to their mountain hideout, but begs her brother to spare his life: he agrees – if another victim shows up in the dreadful storm that is now raging.  Gilda, determined to save his life even though she has been betrayed by him, appears disguised as a boy and is stabbed.  When Rigoletto returns to gloat over the Duke’s body, he discovers to his horror that Gilda has been killed – Monterone’s curse has been fulfilled.

This was a very dark production, both in feel and in design. Almost everyone is in unrelieved black or white, the only splashes of colour being Rigoletto’s sparkly green jacket, Maddalena’s scarlet frock, and the blood on Gilda’s shirt – maybe intending to imply that everyone sees things in terms of black and white?  To me the only really honest person on stage is Sparafucile:  he may be a killer, but he is an honest one, true to his bargain and outraged when his sister suggests that he kill Rigoletto, who is paying him, rather than the intended victim, the Duke.

The production emphasises the objectification of women through clever use of mannequins. In act one, the Duke’s followers are seen dancing with women in lovely frocks – it’s only later that you realise they are dancing with mannequins, not live human beings.  In act two the Duke is surrounded by discarded and broken mannequins: he sings earnestly to one of his desperation that Gilda has been taken from him – but when to his delight she is presented to him by his followers who have abducted her, he uses her as he has all his other women.  Gilda is surrounded by broken and abandoned bodies as she haltingly tells her father her short and pitiful story.  In act 3 Rigoletto opens the sack supposedly containing the Duke’s body, only to find not Gilda’s body but yet another mannequin – does Gilda mean any more to her father than she did to the Duke?

The lighting design made excellent use of shadows, underlining the menace that runs throughout the plot, and using harsh daylight for the hideous disclosure of Gilda’s rape. The skewed cabin that served as Gilda’s prison emphasised her confinement which failed to protect her from its invasion by the carnival-masked abductors.  Sparafucile’s hut, equally confining, had the red ladder used in the abduction as the way for the Duke to escape Rigoletto’s plot…

The singing was excellent, but I was largely unmoved by any of the characters – most of them are unlovable people with whom I’m unable to sympathise.  The Duke is a womanising bastard, Rigoletto is a boiling cauldron of spite and venom who delights in others’ misfortunes, and Gilda somehow didn’t touch my heart.  The staging rarely allowed characters to sing to each other – Gilda and her father sang to each other’s backs, the Duke and Gilda rarely looked at each other. Rigoletto’s twisted delight in tormenting others was cleverly portrayed but I had no sympathy for him then or when he professed to love his daughter above everything – did he really love her, or did he love the symbol she represented, the only thing remaining to remind him of his dead wife?  Throughout the production women were merely commodities, to be bought, sold, and discarded.

The voices were lovely, and the technique sound. Adam Smith, making his Scottish Opera début, was excellent as the heartless womaniser, though he was rather too fond of interpolating the high Cs that Verdi didn’t write…  Greek baritone Aris Agilis, also  débuting here, gave a splendidly twisted account of the duke’s jester, while Norwegian soprano Lina Johnson, also making her first appearance for Scottish Opera, navigated her complex music with ease but reminded me rather too much of Sandi Toksvig with a long plait.  Sioned Gwen Davies, a former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist, followed up her memorable Stewardess in Jonathan Dove’s Flight by making the most of her short time on stage as the red-dressed temptress Maddalena.  For me, though, the palm goes to David Shipley, another Scottish Opera debutant, with his beautifully sung and honestly acted Sparafucile.

It was a good but harsh production. The Glasgow audience loved it and were warmly enthusiastic with their applause.

Rigoletto Giuseppe Verdi, Scottish Opera, Theatre Royal Run Ended Tour continues to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Inverness

Review by Mary Woodward