Last One Out
A non-traditional opera featuring text from Johnny McKnight and music from Gareth Williams
This article is from 2013.
Last One Out is hardly an opera in the traditional sense – it’s more of a poignant, highly evocative mystery tale that happens to be sung. In any case, much of its music comes from an onstage radio – in the form of composer Gareth Williams’ masterful evocations of late-night country ballads – alongside his rippling, glowingly harmonious score for live string trio.
Written by Williams, Scottish Opera’s composer in residence, and with a text by Random Accomplice’s Johnny McKnight, the show spins together two sad monologues of longing and loss – one from a lighthouse keeper looking back to his childhood, the other from a lonely girl desperately missing her father. The ever-present radio forms a kind of supernatural bridge between the two figures, slowly revealing more and more reflections between their tales.
It’s an elegant, highly charged production, with immaculate, superbly understated performances from singers Jennifer Neil and Matthew Stiff. If there are a few longueurs where not much seems to happen, they’re more than made up for by the haunting atmosphere conjured up beautifully by director Amanda Gaughan and designer Robbie Sinnott.
Paterson’s Land, 651 1421, until 26 Aug (not 12, 19), £10 (£5).