Classical review: A Tapestry of Many Threads, Dovecot (Venue 198), Edinburgh

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OPERA and weaving make for a surprisingly successful mix in this site-specific celebration of the Dovecot’s rich history as one of the world’s leading tapestry studios.

A Tapestry of Many Threads

Dovecot (Venue 198)

Star rating: * * * *

Taking place in the middle of the venue’s weaving floor, where rolls of brightly coloured threads line tall shelves, the concept seems to appeal to a largely older audience – but the joyful exuberance of Alexander McCall Smith’s libretto and Tom Cunningham’s composition are universal, whether or not you can’t tell the difference between a weft and a yarn or an aria and an opus.

A selection of invigorating songs, with music from pianist Stuart Hope and violinist Jacqueline Norrie, pay fitting tribute to Dovecot tapestries from the past hundred years as they are projected onto a large loom.

Baritone Andrew McTaggart and mezzo-soprano Beth Mackay are reunited after appearing together in McCall Smith and Cunningham’s previous collaboration The Okavango Macbeth. The rich pureness of their voices is complemented by the great acoustics of the room.

Director Mark Hathaway adds to the feeling of joyful abandon with well-choreographed sequences in which the performers move across the upstairs balcony, around the tapestries and across the stage. Music, movement, poetry and singing bring the tapestries to life, conjuring up distant times and magical places.

It was clearly difficult to decide which tapestries to use, but with the help of Dovecot’s director, David Weir, a great selection has been created covering a broad range of artists – including David Hockney, Patrick Caulfield and Skeoch Cumming – many of which also feature in the studio’s current centenary exhibition. After saying goodbye “with colour and spirit”, a final number will leave you skipping out the door.

• Until 15 August. 10 August, 7:30pm.