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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Christine Richard OBE FRSA Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.