Opera review: In The Locked Room/Ghost Patrol, Traverse, Edinburgh
LOVE, death, betrayal, murder are the sorts of major life-changing themes that have served opera well over the ages and, with some added non-gratuitous sex and a few near-naked bodies, they still seem to be the stuff that opera is made of today.
In the Locked Room/Ghost Patrol
Star rating: * * * *
A double-bill of new operas by composers Huw Watkins and Stuart MacRae, as part of Scottish Opera’s co-commissioning scheme with Music Theatre Wales, made for a gripping experience at the Traverse.
In In The Locked Room by Watkins, making money is paralleled alongside making love, the husband practising the first and his emotionally neglected wife enjoying the second with a poet who rents the locked room. Watkins’s score shifts between bustling and slow, jerky and angular to mysteriously reflective. From a slow start, it gains dramatic ground as the story unfolds and will no doubt tighten up as the run goes on.
MacRae’s opera, with no-holds-barred libretto by Louise Welsh, is immediately exciting, making exacting and effective use of rhythm to portray the ugliness and trauma of war.
While MacRae’s is somehow less self-conscious than Watkins’, both scores benefit from excellent casts and dependable conducting from Michael Rafferty.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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