Dir. Douglas Rintoul, Theatre Royal, 12th – 17th June
It’s common knowledge that Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was intended to draw obvious parallels between the mania of the 1692 Salem witch hunt featured in the play and the paranoia of McCarthy-era America. Hunting for fictional witches and hunting for would-be Communists amounts to pretty much the same thing: displaced terror and unnecessary disruption. But politicised theatre has a habit of remaining relevant for long after its envisioned lifespan, and as director Douglas Rintoul states, ‘there’s a palpable sense that this 1950s play is for now’. It’s clear that in their recent performance of The Crucible, Selladoor Productions are intent on creating another analogy: between the terrified, socially anxious, misogynistic society of colonial America and today’s skewed political climate. Reassuring, eh?
Le Villi on May 21st at Theatre Royal was the final performance in this season’s ‘Opera in Concert’ series. Consisting of two parts, the first included three instrumental pieces by Giacomo Puccini accompanied by some information about the music and the author. After the interval, the two-act opera Le Villi was performed as an operatic concert. ‘Opera in Concert’ is perfect for those who already like listening to classical music and opera, but don’t have a background knowledge of composers and eras.
Dir. Renaud Docet, Theatre Royal, 16th – 20th May
La Bohème tells the love story of Rodolfo and Mimi, a painter and a seamstress, whose romance ends in the tragic death of the terminally ill Mimi. As the curtain rises and the play begins, a colourful, bustling Parisian flea-market is revealed, with crowds of tourists and locals dressed in rather modern clothing amid a charmingly old-fashioned set.
Dir. Matthew Lenton, Theatre Royal, 28th March – 1st April
Scottish Opera has joined forces with theatre company Vanishing Point for a double bill including The 8th Door, a completely new work by Lliam Paterson and Matthew Lenton written especially for this occasion, and Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle.
Dir. Sir David McVicar, Theatre Royal, 23rd Feb – 4th March
While this opera is at its heart a simple love triangle involving siblings, Pelléas & Mélisande is shrouded in so much mystery and intrigue that what might happen next is anyone’s guess. The story itself is straightforward – a Prince finds a young girl and proceeds to marry her and bring her home where her affections for the Prince’s brother quickly begin to cause issue. This, however, becomes somewhat confusing as the story is told, with vague and seemingly unnecessary symbolism obscuring the plot.
Dir. Michael McCarthy, Theatre Royal, 24th-28th January.
Kafka’s The Trial as an opera means combining an absurdist, paranoid novel with a theatrical, traditional, usually (in my mind, anyway) opulent medium. To most, it likely would not seem a natural combination. Yet Scottish Opera have created exactly that with Philip Glass’s new interpretation.
Dir. Sir Thomas Allen, Theatre Royal, 14th – 22th October
Walking in the Glasgow rain, humming Se vuol ballare, Signor Contino, my arms feel sore from the 15-minute applause I’ve just given. It’s absurd to think that just a few hours ago I’d been worried that perhaps such a classical opera wouldn’t translate well in 2016. To a postmodern feminist, can the many disturbing pranks of an 18th-century household really be funny?