instance, dressing rooms do not really exist, there is no curtain to open and, from the audience‘s point of view. it is likely to be cold. Lavatory facilities are also limited. The fabric of the building cannot be tampered with in any way and in deciding how to stage Columba. the preservation ofthe building has been a priority. meaning simple but crucial contributions such as cables for lighting and any other electrical equipment may not be in the ideal position.

One of the Cathedral‘s main concerns was to keep this year for local peOple who have kept music live in Glasgow over the years. This certainly applies to Columba. It is

produced by Peter Ebert who for many years has been associated with

the city based Scottish Opera and in whatever the Cathedral can provide as the equivalent ofa pit will be the

' BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

whose home is in Queen Margaret Drive. Singers too. come not just from Scotland but in particular from the West coast. Ayrshire-born William Mackie takes the title role and Alan Oke. John Robertson,

3 Christine Cairns and Margaret Price

are some of the internationally known - but Glasgow bred - singers. The 80 strong chorus too. is made up predominantly ofGIaswegians. This

. policy however. does not apply to 3 the audience. Moira Meighan says

she ‘looks forward to people coming and sharing in this experience. because it is a unique and unusual presentation and I would think it should arouse the interest of music lovers who are not opera goers. Although Columba. publicised as the high spot of the whole year‘s celebration‘. promises to live up to this claim. there is another special performance to look forward to. Befitting the source of Festival Year. the Cathedral has commissioned a work entitled The Sr Kenrigern Suite by Glasgow composer. Thomas Wilson, which will receive its first performance in April by the Scottish Ensemble. While other music being performed during the Festival is. perhaps, not so directly related to Glasgow and its Cathedral. the performers certainly are. Sir Alexander Gibson conducts the SNO in September and the BBC Symphony Orchestra appear the following month with the Cathedral‘s own organist. John Turner. as soloist. Earlier in the year. he conducts the Glasgow Cathedral Choral Society in its Spring concert. In August. Thomas

E Trotter gives a recital on the

Cathedral organ and Benjamin Luxon with Geoffrey Parsons. both much loved in the city. present an evening's entertainment in May

For Glasgow Cathedral to present itself as an artistic showcase in this way is no mean achievement. As Moira Meighan sums up: ‘Really, the presentation of the Festival and in particular the unique venture of the opera. has had all the support of the Society of Friends and we trust it will give stimulus and interest in the wonderful work which has gone on through the years in Glasgow Cathedral.‘


Glasgow Cathedral Chapter House Doorway by Henry Rankin. 1907. student of architecture at Glasgow University.

Opposite: Glasgow Cathedral; Foreground: Monument to William Miller-writer of the nursery rhyme Wee Willie Winkie.

-:l l ’.l l

The List 24 Jan-6 Feb?