I NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF SPAIN A stunning startto this year's Spanish theme. The Edinburgh Festival chorus joins the orchestra in two works by Fella in this opening concent under conductor Ratael Fruhbeclt de Ourgos.
Usher Nail. Lothlan Road (Festival), 225 5756, 13, 14 Aug, 0pm. 26-210
Carol Main makes her first selection of the best classical music. Below —- a selection of previews.
I MONTSERRAT CARALLE Famed Spanish soprano, now mid-50s, with pianist htlguel Zanetti and songs by a variety oi Spanish composers as well as Rossini, Vivaldi and Bellini. Usher Rail, Lothian Road (Festival), 225 5756, 16 Aug, 0pm. 26-21250
I DUTCH NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA Incredibly high standard youth orchestra with breathtaking programme oi Strauss's Don Juan. Oebussy's La Mer and Mahler's Symphony No 1. Central llall, Tollcross. (Fringe Venue 100) 668 2019.14 Aug, 7.30pm, 23.50 (OAPs 22/others tree).
I NEW LONDON CONSORT A rich vein oi Spanish music of Renaissance Spain, accompanied by Instruments oi the period. Music from the Court of Ferdinand and isabella and From the Pilgrim Road to Santiago de Compostella (Festival) Oueen’s Hall, Clerit Street, 225 5756. 16,18Aug.11am. 24-21050
I OPERA SilOP New venture in British opera tackles two works by Gian Carlo Menotti The Medium is set inthe macabre world 01 spiritualism.while The Telephone is lighthearted The Medium/T he Telephone. Hill Street Theatre, 19 Iiili Street. (Fringe Venue 41 ), 225 7294, 14—26 Aug (not Suns) 24.50/24 (24/23.50).
The excitement generated by the Swedish/British collaboration on Strauss’ exotic opera Salome, guarantees audiences a treat at Leith Theatre. Carol Main examines this daring new
After thixe years of outstanding success with Folkopera of Stockholm and their scaled down productions of Aida, The Magic Flute and Turandot, the International Festival has decided to take things one step further this year and create its own company, Festival Folkopera. The brain-child of Festival Director Frank Dunlop,
the choice of opera — Richard Strauss’s Salome — is also his. But with shrewd judgement he has handed over the actual production to the tried and tested winning Swedish team headed by director Claes Fessbom. Based on the Oscar Wilde play (also on offer this year in a production by the Gate Theatre of Dublin) which was banned when it was first written in 1893 and generally drew outraged protests, Fellbom likes the choice. ‘It’s one of the most concentrated
operas’ he says. ‘There is so much content in every bar — and it‘s so challenging.’ On for a total ofeight performances, there are two alternating casts made up mainly of young British singers chosen from auditions in London. The Salomes, Susan Bisatt and Fiona O‘Neill, are both under 30. ‘This is younger than usual‘, says Fellbom, ‘but it was very, very important to me when we were casting. The story tells of the relationship between Salome and her step-father, who is in love with her, so it is important to make this as believable as we can. The singers will be in front of the orchestra, so I think the audience will be able to follow the story very closely.‘ Fellbom is full ofenthusiasm for the production and in spite ofa five week rehearsal period, working from 10am to 9pm, including Saturdays, he has found the whole experience ‘really inspiring’ and would very much like to see Festival Folkopera back again next year, although there is perhaps just a touch of resignation as he admits ‘when you‘re ready to go home, it always seems to be time for the next cast.’ (Carol Main)
I Salome (Festival) Festival Folkopera, Leith Theatre. I I, I3—I9 Aug, 7.45pm. £3—£9.50.
In the absence of any major commitment to piano recitals on the ofﬁcial Festival, one has to turn to the Fringe where among the haphazard array of odd recitals, David Howells’ themed series stands out as a bold stroke of imaginative programming. A now-regular visitor to the Fringe, Howells takes a look at the music of Adolph von Henselt, a rather neglected figure whose centenary falls this year, as well as other early Romantics such as Chopin, Schumann and Liszt. ‘I‘ve realised that through the years the Festival is paying less and less attention to piano recitals,’ says Howells, ‘and part of the reason I love coming to the Fringe is that you can do your own thing and be respected for it. Not having to conform to the
preferences of music clubs or concert promoters means a new freedom for me.‘ After finding that the music of Hensclt (‘Described by Schumann,‘ he says, ‘as the Northern Chopin.‘) went down well last year, he has returned with more. ‘He lived most of his life in St Petersburg and was a remarkable pianist, admired by all his contemporaries including Liszt. and a formidable teacher,‘ explains Howells. ‘His music is very colourful and puts the other composers in a new dimension, giving greater depth to music that we already know.‘ (Carol Main) I Romantics Reviewed (Fringe) David Howells, Royal College of Surgeons (Venue 122), 14—18 Aug. 7.45pm, £3.50 (£2.50).
BRITISH YOUTH ORCHESTRAS
Now in its tenth year, the
massive Festival of British
Youth Orchestras held at Tollcross’s Central Hall is
even more ambitious than ever. Opening with the specially formed British Youth Festival Orchestra (Saturday 12) under the baton of Sir Charles Groves, well known for his work with young people, this Festival within the Fringe kicks off with the premiere of lxion by Edinburgh based composer Lyell Cresswell. Based on the Greek mythological character banished to hell by Zeus and tied to a perpetually revolving wheel. it promises to be an appropriately exciting and celebratory start. Soloist for this concert is Emma Johnson, still well within the bounds of falling into
the young musician bracket herself, but also the official BBC Young
Musician of the Year in 1984. Thankfully. she‘s avoiding the Crusell concerto which won her the title and with which she has been identified ever since and for a change plays the Weber Clarinet Concerto No l. Elgar‘s First Symphony completes the concert, which also chalks up yet another first by being the inaugural performance on the Central Hall‘s newly completed concert platform, which may well make the Hall a welcome alternative orchestral concert venue in Edinburgh, falling neatly in size between the Queen‘s and Usher Halls and boasting excellent acoustics. Thirty-five different concerts follow on at 12.30pm and 7.30pm for the full three weeksof the Festival, including performances by the Dutch National Youth Orchestra and Anchorage Youth Symphony from Alaska. plus many of Britain‘s top youth
orchestras in some surprisingly adventurous programming. A similar Glasgow Festival of British Youth Orchestras runs concurrently at the RSAMD and both offer free admission for children , students, unemployed and disabled (Carol Main)
I Festival ot British Youth
‘ Orchestras (Fringe)
Central Hall, Tollcross (Venue 100). 12 Aug—2 Sept (excl Suns). 12.30prn/7.30pm. £1.50/£3.50(OAPs £1/£2);childrcn/students/ unemployed/disabled Free.
Billed in the Festival brochure as ‘thc first time a complete zarzuela comes to Britain‘. the National Opera ofSpain‘s contribution to the Spanish influence on the programme this year certainly sounds worth a try. But just what isa zarzuela'.’ Those with some knowledge of Spanish might well
wonder ifit‘s anything to do with the word zarza. Spanish for bramble, and. unlikely though it sounds, they‘d be right. Seemingly, this particular form ofopera took its name from Philip IV‘s Palace of Zarzucla. situated just outside Madrid Essentially,it‘s a populist and ﬂexible form of opera, with spoken dialogue. music, dancing and lots ofcolour. La Chulapona. with music — much of it based on folk tunes— by Fernando Moreno Torroba. one of this century‘s leading composers of large-scale zarzuela. is set in the back streets of prc-war Madrid. It tells of two women, both laundry workers. fighting over one man. giving plenty of scope for expression of hot-blooded Latin passion. It lasts three hours and is performed in Spanish. (Carol Main)
I La Chulapona (Festival) National Opera of Spain. Playhouse Theatre. 225 5756.17—19Aug.7.30pm. £5.5(i-216.5().
The List 11— 17 August 1989 43