Scottish Opera: Cosi Fan Tutti
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Sat 2 May
For their keenly anticipated summer week in Edinburgh, Scottish Opera bring a choice of two operas – Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Jules Massenet’s Manon. Neither will disappoint. Both have been deservedly well received by public and press from their earlier Glasgow performances. While Manon, never tackled by Scottish Opera before now, needs a cast of thousands, including chorus, huge orchestra and corps de ballet, Così relies on its six soloists to bring the brilliance of Mozart’s famous score to life.
With world-renowned Scottish soprano Marie McLaughlin singing the role of Despina – the maid to the two sisters who are put to the faithfulness test by their boyfriends – it is testimony to the abilities of the young singers on stage that she doesn’t upstage them. There is not one weak link in the quartet of lovers, while Peter Savidge as the manipulating Don Alfonso also puts in a strong performance. Designer Yannis Thavoris brings beautiful sun-kissed light to the overall look of this Così, which is, in turn, reflected in the lightness of conductor Tobias Ringborg’s treatment of the score. Recitatives trip off tongues as naturally as if talking to a friend in the street and ensembles zip along, balance always intact. On stage too, there is lots of fleeting movement in David McVicar’s typically deft, yet warmly human, production. Così may be well over three hours long, but it doesn’t feel like it in this production which hits the mark in sustaining an opera where there is no real storyline as such to keep things moving.
Così fan tutte, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 19, Sun 21, Thu 25 & Sat 27; Così fan tutte Unwrapped, Thu 18 Jun. Manon, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Sat 20, Wed 24 & Fri 26 Jun; Manon Unwrapped, Tue 23 Jun.