Reviews & features: Opera, Carol Main

16 reviews

Sorted by popularity / date / title / rating

Les Troyens

1 Sep 20143 stars

Mariinsky Opera delivers stylised Berlioz production at the Edinburgh International Festival

Anticipated as one of the must-sees of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, Mariinsky Opera’s visit with Berlioz’s epic Les Troyens (The Trojans) was a mixed bag. Running for five and a half hours, admittedly with two extended intervals, the…

Dido and Aeneas/Bluebeard’s Castle - Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 24 Aug 2013

27 Aug 20134 stars

Oper Frankfurt present a contrasting programme of warm, doomed love and psychological nightmare

In combining Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Oper Frankfurt have created a deeply powerful theatrical and musical experience for their audiences. Both productions are provocative but in quite different ways. While Barrie…

Zoe Strachan on The Lady from the Sea - interview

22 Aug 2012

The playwright is collaborating with Craig Armstrong on the production for Scottish Opera

Five years ago, Scottish Opera embarked on a brave new venture called Five:15. The plan was to put together contemporary Scottish writers and composers and commission them to come up with five new 15 minute long operas. Altogether, 15 short operas were…

Qing Cheng

21 Jul 2011

Epic, millenium-spanning Chinese love story part of the China Fringe Festival

A night at the opera takes on a whole new meaning with Qing Cheng, an elaborate yet moving Chinese musical making its European debut at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall as part of the China Fringe Festival. Top billing in a week of cutting-edge entertainment from…

Music highlights from the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

7 Jul 2011

Melvyn Tan and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra among picks

Melvyn Tan. The Queen's Hall morning concerts can usually be relied on for a few Festival surprises. Hearing perfectly formed piano music by 18th century Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti alongside Sonatas and Interludes by 20th century American John…

back to top

Sarah Connolly

12 Aug 2010

Mezzo soprano returns to jazz roots

Among other things, 2010 is likely to be memorable as the year of the mezzo-soprano at the Edinburgh International Festival. Joyce DiDonato, Petra Lang and Christine Brewer, who replaces the indisposed Susan Graham, are just three of the famous names…

American mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato returns to Edinburgh Festival

16 Jul 2010

DiDonato performs Idomeneo and with David Zobel at EIF 2010

Last summer, mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato soldiered on with a broken leg in London and was plunged into darkness at the Usher Hall. Carol Main keeps everything crossed for the Kansas girl’s Edinburgh return

St Kilda - Island of the Birdmen

13 Jul 2009

A multi-media, operatic portrayal of Island life

At 191 metres, there is no building in Scotland anywhere near as tall as Stac an Armin, the highest sea stack in Britain. Along with the slightly shorter Stac Lee, these wildly dramatic sea cliffs were among the hunting grounds for the birdmen of St…

Regal king size

21 Aug 2008

Karol Szymanowski considered himself an outsider which is why he identified with Sicily’s King Roger II and why his opera has become a gay favourite, finds Carol Main The Edinburgh International Festival’s staged opera programme is swinging from one…

Scottish Opera: Cinderella

31 Jul 2008

A fairytale debut at the Fringe

It’s probably safe to say that Scottish Opera is the only name which appears in both the music programme of the International Festival as well as the Fringe. As part of their continuing quest to bring high quality opera to a new audience, the company…

back to top

Death becomes them - The Two Widows

22 Jul 2008

Edinburgh International Festival

Jane Irwin and Kate Valentine are at very different stages in their operatic careers. But Carol Main finds them both in exuberant mood ahead of Scottish Opera’s take on Smetana’s 19th century comedy.

Regal king size - Król Roger

22 Jul 2008

Edinburgh International Festival

Fitting neatly into the EIF’s theme of Artists Without Borders, the majestic Król Roger opens up audiences to an innovative collaboration. Carol Main chats to Festival director Jonathan Mills about the opera’s arrival in the city. Listening to a…


23 Aug 2007

At the start of the Festival, opera-goers were spirited back to the genre’s origins with a spectacular production of the first great opera, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. Now, as things draw to a close, the opera on offer is one which poses questions to itself…


9 Aug 2007

In setting up this year’s Opening Concert of the Edinburgh International Festival, Jonathan Mills has quickly ditched the tradition of a Sunday evening kick-off (although the St Giles’ Festival Service remains in place for the morning) and has brought…


19 Jul 2007

Richard Strauss’ final opera Capriccio, which received its premiere in 1942, is described by the composer as ‘a conversation piece for music’. A young countess cannot choose between two lovers, one a musician, the other a poet.

The Turing Test

19 Jul 2007

Quite what Monteverdi would have thought about a singing computer featuring in an opera is anyone’s guess. Inspired by the famous test set by Alan Turing, founder of modern computer science, composer Julian Wagstaff has written a chamber opera to be…