I enjoyed my very first taste of an Opera last night at Howden Park Centre in Livingston. Opera Highlights was just what I needed â€“ something new, refreshing and funny.
I was sceptical at first when I was offered the opportunity of attending but last night I returned home elated and determined to seek out the next Scottish Opera performed in the Lothians.
Opera Highlights was an exhilarating mix of operatic arias and ensembles, narration and comedy. The audience enjoyed not only the wonderful singing but also the comedy complimenting wonderful singing. The wide ranging choice of music was cleverly tied together by narration which filtered the storyline of two stage directors and two famous (but difficult) stars and their tragic love stories. The poignant opening scene of the intended suicide by sword was powerful to be followed by humour was a stroke of genius. This was only outclassed by ending with the notororius â€œDonâ€™t Put Your Daughter on the Stage Mrs Worthingtonâ€.
The performance was well rehearsed befitting the ambience of a lovely venue. Amongst the audience were some well behaved children. The theatre was almost full and the couple in front of us, had come through from Edinburgh, and were amongst the loudest to shout â€œBravoâ€ at the end of some truly wonderful performances.
The staging was simple with a number of screen dividers mostly with Japanese designs were stragetically placed mingled with the clever use of lighting created dramatic shadows to set scenes.
The five stars of this performance (letâ€™s not forget the pianist, Patrick Milne accompaning the talented quartet) were stunning, complimenting one another in actions and in singing. I wish I knew more about opera to do justice to their performance last night. The stars are –
Edinburgh born, Catherine Backhouse â€“ Mezzo-soprano, Maire Flavin â€“ Soprano, William Morgan â€“ Tenor and Benjamin Lewis â€“ Baritone (who dorned a black Guns N Roses T-shirt most of the performance).
Director, Jack Furness is pictured – credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan.
Opera Highlights are currently touring Scotland until the middle of March. More information at www.scotishopera.org.uk