Opening night of Dido and Aeneas, stage make-up done, excitement at boiling point, thank you all for your positive energy, feeling it 🙂
Here are some photographs taken by the RCS.
Here is the review from the The Herald written by Keith Bruce
The Opera Project, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
The unassuming portmanteau title given to this double bill, featuring senior students at the Conservatoire, masks a very fine double bill of short operas written three centuries apart, which has further performances tonight and tomorrow and will more than reward the effort of catching at the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio.
Both crucially showcase the significance of the new name for “the Academy”, as they feature dancers from Modern Ballet course working alongside undergraduates and masters students of music. Kally Lloyd Jones has choreographed both the dancers and the singing company in both shows in what is an admirable example of integration at work.
The dancers crucially animate Mark Hathaway’s staging of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, a piece which is full of good music but only really has the one great tune, given a heart-breaking performance at the close of the tale by the full-voiced Eirlys Myfanwy Davies. She was very ably supported by Charlie Drummond, Jane Monari (Sorceress), Charlotte Hoather and Anna Churchill (coke-snorting witches) and particularly Victoria Stevens as her sister Belinda, whose bold first entrance signalled a skill for dramatic phrasing.
With a baroque band of seven and a chorus of eight, under the baton of Tim Dean, this was a well-resourced and very effectively, if minimally, staged Dido. Our Aeneas, Euros Campbell, however, looked much more comfortable as Le Directeur, opening proceedings for the juicy rarity that is Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias. This outrageous post-Second World War appeal for French procreation, with a libretto by Apollinaire from his own First World War play requires a good deal of cross-dressing, much dada-ist larking about, and our heroine to liberate her balloon breasts from her bodice and become a proud, flat-chested, and, um, bearded, feminist.
In fact Le Directeur’s prologue (and another layer of satire about opera staging) is preceded here by tenor Matthew Thomas Morgan singing the rather more serious Apollinaire/Poulenc song Bleuet in a clever piece of period contextualising by musical director Oliver Rundell. Morgan returns later as Le Journaliste in the picaresque tale that incorporates vaudeville, a hilarious snippet of classical ballet, and a big mirrorball palais de dance finish. Barbara Cole Walton and Luke Sinclair are both excellent as the central couple in a company that includes fine performances throughout and is musically sure-footed over tricky terrain, accompanied by pianists Marija Struckova and Michal Gajzler in the version made by Benjamin Britten for Aldeburgh. The piece is a gem, and a real hoot to boot.