' Der Rosenkavalier

Glasgow: Theatre Royal, Sat 6, 13 & Thu I8 Feb; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed 24 & Sat 27 Feb.

Stella Doufexis as Octavian

Woman dresses up as man, who dresses up as woman. No, it's not cross-dressing in a knot or even out-of-

season pantomime. It's serious opera

and one of the most beautiful at that.

Still a secret to most Scots,

Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier tells of the young COiint OctaVian who has an affair With the older, and married, Feldmarschallin However, at the end of the day, it is the young and charming Sophie that wins his heart.

A new production by DaVid McVIcar marks the first time in twenty years that Scottish Opera has staged this seductive opera about the pursuit of

passion. For the first time ever, and on her first visit to Scotland, the title role is taken by the young, highly acclaimed German mezzo-soprano, Stella DoufeXIs.

Recovering from discovering the realities of Scotland’s rain, her enthusiasm shows no trace of its dampness. ’It’s gorgeous, really wonderful,’ she says of the opera, ’and I really adore it. It is a long evening, but the cast are fantastic.’

Set in mid-18th century Vienna, the production is not, according to DoufeXIs, shocking in any way. ’However,’ she says, ’it is absolutely modern in that what is happening is very real today Although the lvlarschallin is older than OctaVian, the opera Is not really about the age thing. It is more about love swrtching from one to another and the things around love which make it pos5ible or impossible.’

Being almost caught in the act With the Feldmarschallin, OctaVIan (the Rosenkavalier) dresses up as a maid and immediately takes the fancy of the sleazy Baron Ochs. 'A lot of the opera is about sex,’ says DOufeXis, 'and about the sexual behaViour of some people. Ochs goes about things in a qmte different way from the Marschallin. But these things are relevant in modern times.’

True love blossoms when OctaVian presents a ceremonial rose to the lovely Sophie. Ochs is discredited for being in the wrong sort of pub and the Marschallin gives the young couple her blessing. Aaah (Carol Main)

Firefrost: fiddleing the passion into St Valentine's

Cracking River Ceilidh New Lanark, Sat l3, Sun 14 Feb.

the beautiful Falls of Clyde have long been

i an artistic inspiration Downstream, the renovated puddings in Robert Owen’s I model mill-Village of New Lanark are

the setting for a Valentine's weekend of storytelling, music and crafts and

: workshops from lantern-making to love potions

The Saturday night Thistles and Roses

ceilidh teases the conjugal relationship

With our s0utherly neigthur,

presenting Ewan lvlcVicar's fables and

folklore. There WIH also be performances from the Bold Girls, a raunchy twosome who promise to put

the 'F' back into fairy tales, and the

four-strong Firefrost a band which might perfOrm Appalachian or Irish

fiddle tunes, southern gospel, a Highland lament, country and western,

skifer and percuSSion breaks or classic

four-part vocal harmony. Their fiddler, Glasgow-domiciled

American fiddlei Kate Kramer explains

her own eclectic approach

’I was an

Army kid, brought up all over the US,’ ,

she smiles. 'I’d started on the Violin when l was four, and, when l was

older, I went to a speCIal music school way up in Northern Michigan. We have a fourth season up there, it's called

Mud and it was when I was back

there on a Vi5it once that I heard real traditional Irish music for the first time, Just locals fiddling in a bar. It changed

everything. I learned fiddle mu5ic on

the Reservations, and stories from the

Ojibwe tribes. I hardly looked at a classical score anymore

Touring as Hamish Imlach’s accompanist in the year or so before his death broadened her mind even further, and in Firefox's fusion of myth and mum she finds a natural home. ’When I play music, I see the melody as if it’s a story. I feel that mUSlC and storytelling are tied together. They're the same thing. Aren’t they?’

(Norman Chalmers)

preview MUSIC

CI‘FCohce-r'rs GIaéQoWArches l H I I , Thursday 18th February



GLASGOW BARROWLAND " Saturday 13th March


A Spoxfiisie 'RMANCE




4-48 Feb 1999 THE lIST 41