Author: Christine Richard OBE FRSA

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Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 at 1:22 pm
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Fun, Pinafores and… Buttercups?

The well-loved comic opera HMS Pinafore, created by Gilbert and Sullivan was performed at the Usher Hall in concert format as part of the Edinburgh International Festival’s repertoire this year. The concert was narrated by Tim Brooke-Taylor and sung and played by Scottish Opera.

I went along for the 5 pm concert at the Usher Hall on Sunday 23 rd August.  The Hall was almost full and the audience highly appreciative. Richard Egarr, the conductor wielded his baton with verve and panache. BBC Radio 3 recorded the performance, which will be broadcast on 19th September, giving us an opportunity to listen again, although without the engaging spectacle on the stage in front of us.

The somewhat stern injunction at the bottom of each page of the programme instructed the audience ‘Please turn pages quietly’! As I was sitting beside the BBC Radio 3 individual in charge of their proceedings I managed to be very quiet. Richard Egarr did encourage the audience to join in the singing at different points although not many took up the invitation. I did not see anyone actually leave as I fairly quietly joined in with ‘sweet little buttercup …..’

The standard of acting, singing and instrumental playing was very high in every respect (if one discounts the above remark regarding my modest contribution). The performers clearly enjoyed themselves and this was transmitted to the audience with equal enjoyment and fun. A personal quibble -  I did think the enthusiastic applause by the audience following almost every piece somewhat excessive, not because it was undeserved but distracting, although people to whom I spoke after the concert disagreed with me.

My verdict was this was a fun concert with the highest standards and felt entirely ‘in tune’ with the beautiful evening sunshine. Originally performed in 1878 HMS Pinafore has certainly lasted well and continues to appeal to all age groups.



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