Published: 15/10/2015 09:54 - Updated: 15/10/2015 14:17

Opera tour takes magical Mozart to the Highlands

Scottish Opera's touring production gives the 18th century opera a 1950s makeover.
Scottish Opera's touring production gives the 18th century opera a 1950s makeover.

Scottish Opera’s new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte will bring a touch of 1950s Italian glamour, romance and comedy to Wick (15 October), Inverness (17 October), Ullapool (31 October) and Plockton (5 November) as well as 14 other venues across Scotland.

This stylish update of one of Mozart’s best-loved operas is directed by former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Lissa Lorenzo (Platypus in Boots 2013, Anamchara: Songs of Friendship 2014 and Opera Highlights 2014) who transports the action from its traditional 18th century setting to Italy in the 1950s. This opera, a humorous, light-hearted tale of young love tricked into testing its fidelity, even includes a bit of "fiancée swapping", but Lorenzo intends to tease out the romance at the heart of the story.

"We aim to give the audience a magical night of romantic comedy that they will treasure," she said.

"We wanted to find a setting that would be an enticing backdrop for this story, but more than anything I want to honour the exquisite music that Mozart gave us, after all, it’s the music that has captured people’s hearts ever since. As a Scot who is passionate about our remote communities and their cultural diversity, I have always celebrated Scottish Opera’s commitment to touring work. The Autumn tour is one of my favourites because I know just how important it is to culture lovers in these communities."

When Don Alfonso wagers that he can prove all women are fickle, Ferrando and Guglielmo foolishly accept, convinced that their beloved fiancées could never be unfaithful. Pretending they have been sent to war, the men disguise themselves and each attempts to seduce the other’s wife-to-be. The women resist at first, but a bit of Don Alfonso’s meddling is enough to spark talk of a double wedding. As the chaotic confusion of the sham comes to an end and the deceit is brought to light, the question remains: who will end up with whom?

Mozart’s  music reflects the bright, witty nature of the storyline, while also capturing the tender, emotional essence of the tale. For this touring production, the original score has been adapted for piano accompaniment, making for an up-close-and-personal experience for audiences in smaller venues.

Designer Robbie Sinnott takes on the challenge of creating a beautiful yet adaptable set to be transported to a variety of venues ranging in size from theatres to village halls and high schools. The intricately detailed set and retro costumes will be designed to reflect 1950s Italian glamour at its best.

This year’s national tour showcases the talents of Scottish Opera Emerging Artists, past and present – some of the best young singers of their generation. The ensemble includes former Emerging Artist and winner of the John Scott Award 2015 soprano Rosalind Coad (Jenufa 2015), along with three of this year’s Emerging Artists, Emma Kerr, Jennifer France, and Ben McAteer. Joining them onstage are singers Sarah Champion, Trystan Llyr Griffiths and James McOran-Campbell. Music directors Claire Haslin and Nicholas Fletcher will direct the performances from the piano.

This production is sung in English.

Cast List

Fiordiligi: Rosalind Coad

Dorabella: Sarah Champion/Emma Kerr

Ferrando: Trystan Llyr Griffiths

Guglielmo: Ben McAteer

Don Alfonso: James McOran-Campbell

Despina: Jennifer France

Highland dates

Wick High School - Thu 15 Oct 7.30pm

OneTouch, Eden Court, Inverness - Sat 17 Oct 7.15pm

The Corran Halls, Oban  - Thu 29 Oct 7.30pm

Macphail Theatre, Ullapool - Sat 31 Oct 7.30pm

An Lanntair, Stornoway -  Tue 3 Nov 7.30pm

Plockton High School - Thu 5 Nov 7.30pm

Look out for an interview with Canadian singer Sarah Champion elsewhere on the website!

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