Published: 02/10/2014 15:57 - Updated: 01/10/2014 16:14

North youngsters get opera opportunity

Catrin Aur as Lady Macbeth in Scottish Opera's production of Verdi's opera. Photo: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan.
Catrin Aur as Lady Macbeth in Scottish Opera's production of Verdi's opera. Photo: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan.

SCOTTISH Opera will bring something wicked to the Highlands this month with its slimmed down version of Verdi’s Macbeth.

Joining the professionals in this revival of Dominic Hill’s 2005 production will be six local children selected from workshops held at Crown Primary School in Inverness.

"Although it’s great to be able to invite six children to actually play parts in the performance, our main aim is really that each and every one of the pupils at Crown Primary School who take part in the workshops will get something out of it," Scottish Opera director of education Jane Davidson said.

"It’s important to give pupils the chance to gain new insight into things that not everyone comes across at a young age, like opera."

Inspired by the war-ravaged Balkans of recent history, Macbeth was performed to sold-out shows at Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre and at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre earlier this year.

"We wanted to find a contemporary world that could carry the action of Macbeth with civil war and a struggle for power, but which still has a strong religious undercurrent to it," Hill explained.

"To convey that idea, we’ve taken inspiration from the Balkans conflict of the late 1990s and audiences will recognise the same tragic themes from modern religious conflicts that we still see on the news today.

"But it’s important to say that this isn’t a hi-tech, high-testosterone take on Macbeth — it’s true that the production is influenced by images of the Balkans Conflict, but it also takes inspiration from Russian religious icons and painting.

"The libretto is largely lifted from Shakespeare’s writing, but we’ve tried to ensure that the action on stage will be something that today’s audiences can engage with."

Leading the cast is David Stephenson, who returns to the role after being praised as "convincing and compelling" in the spring performances.

This piano-accompanied production also features former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Shuna Scott Sendall and Marie Claire Breen and one of this year’s Emerging Artists, Laura Margaret Smith alongside Marie Claire Breen and Sarah Shorter as the beer-swilling Three Witches.

• Scottish Opera’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth can be seen at Thurso High School on Tuesday 7th October; The OneTouch Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness, on Thursday 9th; The Macphail Theatre, Ullapool, on Saturday 18th; and the Aros Centre, Portree, on Thursday 23rd. All performances begin at 7.30pm.

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