Scottish Opera's Anamchara 'takes us through the journey of what friendship is'
Co-director Lissa Lorenzo discusses the new Alexander McCall Smith-penned production
Scottish Opera makes its mark on the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme with a new opera – Anamchara. The title, meaning ‘soul-friend’, is taken from ancient Celtic tradition, and it’s the inspiration for the work’s ‘Songs of Friendship’, written by Scottish novelist Alexander McCall Smith with a new score by composer Pippa Murphy. Appropriately for a cultural celebration of the Commonwealth Games, the performances will involves a multicultural cast, with two of the principal roles taken by Scottish Opera emerging artists, and a chorus of 35 voices from Maryhill bringing a direct link with Glasgow’s own diverse local community. Countries including India, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Botswana (with which McCall Smith has a particular bond) and Scotland are all represented. There are seven songs in the new opera, each symbolising different themes of friendship as experienced through everyone’s lives, from children to teenagers, from young adults to the twilight years. It’s about sharing, drawing on commonality and the reflection that life is better when people are brought together.
‘Anamchara takes us through the journey of what friendship is – what friendship can be, what it means to us,’ says co-director and Scottish Opera emerging artist Lissa Lorenzo. ‘It can be the struggles we sometimes have to keep friendships alive, and the support we get from having people in our lives who we can call friends.’ In recognition of how friendships grow from small beginnings, Scottish Opera’s technical team is creating an onstage garden. In the same way as flowers with colour and beauty start off as tiny seeds, good friendships blossom best through careful nurturing – with thoughtful feeding and watering never going amiss. ‘With friends in our lives, our lives are improved,’ says Lorenzo. ‘We bask in the warmth of having good people around us.’
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 25–Sun 27 Jul.