Scottish Opera – Five: 15
Following on from the great success of last year’s showcase of five new, short operas from Scottish composers and writers, the latest batch of Scottish Opera’s Five: 15 once again shows that the company is onto a winner. Taking five completely diverse subjects and making operas from them is collectively impressive. At an individual level, we know that if they don’t much like one, another will be along in a few minutes.
Traditionally strong emotive opera themes of love, death, sex, murder, betrayal are all there, although there’s not much humour in any of them, with the possible exception of Happy Story by David Fennessy and Nicholas Bone. Skilfully moving through six scenes in its 15 minutes, Happy Story is thoroughly refined writing, and the easiest of the five to listen to.
More powerful is the darker drama of Death of a Scientist, by John and Zinnie Harris, where spine-chilling menace highlights the vulnerability of the main character – based on tragic government scientist David Kelly – through totally integrated script and score.
Oran Mor, Glasgow, Fri 20 Feb
Five: 15 continues at the Hub, Edinburgh, Sat 7 & Sun 8 Mar.