CLASSICAL PREVIEW Amahl And The Night Visitors

Edinburgh: Queen's Hall, Sat 8 & Sun 9 Jan.

The Dunedin Consort's fully- staged production of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s short opera Amahl and the Night Visitors will bring a little bit of Italy to these early January days. Commissioned by NBC TV in the US, it was the first opera written specifically for television and now, almost 50 years old, it remains one of Menotti's most popular pieces.

Italian born Menotti, currently resident in East Lothian, spent much of his life in the US, where his output made him one of the most prolific opera composers of the last century. The story goes that he was hopeless at meeting deadlines and although he had received the NBC commission, had no idea what to write. ‘Seeing Hieronymus Bosch's painting The Adoration of the Magi,’ explains the Consort's Director Ben Parry, ’reminded Menotti of his childhood in Italy, where it is not Santa who brings presents, but the three kings.’ He then had the idea of staging the kings on their way to see Jesus, calling in en route at the impoverished home of a crippled boy and his mother. The mother cannot resist temptation and steals some of the kings’ gold. She is, of course, caught and the boy offers his crutch as his gift to the baby Jesus. With that, he finds that he can walk unaided and is allowed to accompany the kings on the rest of their journey.

’It’s terribly moving with wonderful characters,’ says Parry, who as a boy played the part of Amahl. 'It’s beautiful music, it touches people and is sheer escapism, which is what it should be.’ The new production is

When we were kings: Gian-Carlo Menotti

directed by Menotti himself. ’The Consort met him when performing in Haddington and he invited us twice to his festival in Spoleto. He said that if we did Amahl, he would stage it for us. It’s all terribly exciting. He may be an 88-year-old man, but he runs around the stage with impressive energy.’

The drama unfolds through the eyes of Amahl, who is rather impish and appealing to children. In the role is twelve-year-old Scott Shepherd from Aberdeen. ‘He's a complete natural,’ says Parry. ‘He‘s never had an acting or singing lesson in his life.’ Opera may be a new departure from the more usual choral activities of the Dunedin Consort and, says Parry, ’lt's not meant to be a regular thing, but you never know.’ (Carol Main)

Traveller by Trane: Nigel Clark


The club will run monthly, and launches with Freddie King’s Quintet, which will be the house band at the club, guitarist Nigel Clarke, and The Groovediggaz. Subsequent guests include guitarist Jim Mullen in February, American saxophonist Bob Rockwell in March, and flautist Dave Heath, better known as a classical composer, but a man With a long- standing interest in jazz and improvisation, in April. Each vrsrtor will team up with musicians from the Scottish scene.

'That is an important part of the concept,’ Wilson explained. ’We felt that there was a gap between the formal concerts at the Queen’s Hall and the kind of things that have been happening at The Jazz Joint or Cafe Graffiti, and St Bride’s gives us a lot of options for laying the venue out with concert seating, tables or whatever, as well as having good facilities in

The Jazz Trane

Edinburgh: St Bride's Centre, Fri 7 Jan. Following hard on the heels of the resumption of activities from the Edinburgh Jazz Project at the King James Thistle Hotel, an ambitious new

40 THE UST 7—20 Jan 2000

addition to the Edinburgh scene comes on stream this week. The Jazz Trane (as in Coltrane) is the brainchild of singer Freddie King and Stuart Wilson, who looks after promotion and administration as well as turning his hand to playing bass in rock bands.

general. I think you can see from the initial programme that the music policy is very wide-ranging. We intend to feature jazz in its broadest sense, and we hope to attract an audience from right across the board as well.’

(Kenny Mathieson)

Surface noise

The scrapping, scribblings and scrapings from the corners of the music world.

LOVERS OF OLD school crooner Andy Williams will be disappointed to hear he has cancelled his live date at the SECC on Sat 22 Jan due to ill health. No date has been mentioned for any rescheduled dates and refunds can be obtained from point of purchase.

SOME OF THE big guns return early this year with some long awaited album business. Oasis drop their new album Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants on us complete with young Liam’s songwriting debut. Smashing Pumpkins also return with more pompous guitar workouts on Machina. Both are out on Mon 28 Feb.

With musical timing that would make the Stone Roses seem punctual, Kraftwerk sprint out with their first single in fourteen years called ‘Expo 2000' on Mon 7 Feb. Unsurprisingly it sounds ’very Kraftwerk'.


BLUES 2000 IS a new blues festival for Scotland housed in Edinburgh's newest live music venue, the Corn Exchange. The one-day festival on Sat 29 Apr, will provide over nine hours of live music on two stages with a host of big name and local guests to be announced in the coming weeks. We'll keep you posted.

DEATH IN VEGAS album The Contino Sessions rated highly in the end of year polls and dynamic duo Tim Holmes and Richard Fearless can do no wrong, it would appear. They bring their nine-piece band back up to Scotland following their successful show last autumn with an evening of dark beats at the Arches on Sun 13 Feb.

ENGLISH FUNKSTERS BRAND New Heavies have rescheduled their postponed date from late last year. See their loon-panted, retro antics at Barrowland on Sat 18 Mar.

KURT COBAIN'S FAVOURITE covers band Bjorn Again return to Scotland to reassert their status as Kings and (Dancing) Queens of all ABBA imitators with a tour which takes in a night at Edinburgh's Corn Exchange on Sat 22 Apr.

w See Book Now section on page 44 for details of ticket outlets.

Weightno longer: Brand New Heavies