For the first time in its 51 year history, Scottish Opera brings Handel’s back-stabbing baroque opera Rodelinda to the stage in Dumfries.
The new production will tour to 16 venues across Scotland this autumn, with a cast of six singers accompanied by three players on harpsichord, violin and cello.
The opera opens at a time of turmoil in the royal household of Lombardy. The queen Rodelinda is in despair, believing her husband Bertarido - the rightful king - to have been killed in battle by usurper Grimoaldo and his scheming sidekick Garibaldo. With enemies all around, Rodelinda is faced with a devastating choice, to marry Grimoaldo and keep her crown, or refuse him, and risk the life of her baby son.
Director Chris Rolls said: ‘Rodelinda has an epic plot any soap-opera script writer would envy: passion, ambition, blackmail, grief and revenge are all in there; as well as big doses of loyalty and betrayal. I’m fascinated by Rodelinda and the situation she finds herself in, a young mother desperately clinging to her integrity and power and using her fierce intelligence and mother’s instincts to survive in a cut-throat male world. What I find exciting is how contemporary the story really is, and I think audiences will love the drama of the production, as well as the great music and singing.’
Scottish Opera Head of Music Derek Clark said ‘The music for Rodelinda is full of contrast, from poignant love songs to energetic arias about passion and revenge. Working with harpsichord, violin and cello, my task has been to maintain the marvellous emotional content of the music while giving audiences a flavour of the orchestra Handel wrote for.’
Soprano Sarah Power sings Rodelinda alongside fellow Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Andrew McTaggart and Sioned Gwen Davies as Garibaldo and Eduige. Counter-tenors Andrew Radley and Reno Troilus are Bertarido and his loyal servant Unulfo, with Richard Rowe as the usurping ruler Grimoaldo. Music Director Susannah Wapshott leads the performance from the harpsichord, playing alongside cellist Andrew Drummond Huggan and violinist Gabi Maas.
So even if you’ve never tried opera before, why not come along and get caught up in the power, passion, murder and intrigue of Handel’s Rodelinda?
Easterbrook Hall, Thursday 17 October at 7.30pm. Tickets cost between £5 and £16. For full venue and ticket information go to www.scottishopera.org.uk