Forty years of Fife Opera on Adam Smith Theatre stage

Faust, 1990
Faust, 1990
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As members of Fife Opera prepare to take to the stage with their latest production next month, we look back on the last four decades of the company’s productions at the Adam Smith Theatre.

Formed in 1977 by some local singers and musicians, Fife Opera were encouraged and supported by Arts in Fife.

The Tales of Hoffmann, 2011. Picture by Walter Neilson

The Tales of Hoffmann, 2011. Picture by Walter Neilson

The company’s first major production was Carmen in 1979 – since then they have performed this work by Bizet four times.

Audiences have enjoyed an unbroken run of opera at the Bennochy Road theatre courtesy of Fife Opera for the last 40 years.

During that time they have performed a wide range of works featuring everyone from Mozart to Massenet.

Eleanor Hubbard, acting chairman of Fife Opera, said: “In 40 years the opera company has tackled operas by most major opera composers perhaps the most obscure was Cinderella by Massenet, which Douglas Nairne produced last year but it was a very successful show with gorgeous music.

Cavalleria Rusticana, 2010. Picture by Walter Neilson

Cavalleria Rusticana, 2010. Picture by Walter Neilson

“Throughout the years we have also had some challenging moments. A bomb scare during The Bartered Bride in 1982 caused the theatre to be evacuated and some locals were bemused by being surrounded by Czech peasants in the Memorial Gardens.”

Over the years the company has encouraged singing talent of all ages and offered experience of operatic roles, which are rarely available otherwise.

And to give even more opportunities to members, for the last few years most of the principal roles in the productions have been double cast.

The success of Fife Opera in the last four decades has seen many of its young people go on to become professional singers or musicians with outstanding careers.

Tri-Opera: The Pearl Fishers, La Boheme and Aida, 2012. Picture by Walter Neilson

Tri-Opera: The Pearl Fishers, La Boheme and Aida, 2012. Picture by Walter Neilson

Current musical director, Alistair Digges, is a good example.

He sang as a young student with the company, and now conducts orchestras abroad and works with many prestigious choirs and groups including Opera Bohemia and the Edinburgh Singers.

Fife Opera’s association with the Adam Smith Theatre has been rewarding throughout the years.

Eleanor said: “We think they have supported the company well with getting into and out of the theatre, helping and advising on the technical aspects of the production, as well as having a friendly and welcoming manner at the box office and we look forward to many more years in partnership with them.”

Sister Angelica and I Pagliacci, 2013

Sister Angelica and I Pagliacci, 2013

Many productions have been staged at the theatre by Fife Opera over the years, including The Merry Widow, Bitter Sweet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, La Boheme, The Pearl Fishers and L’elisir d’amore.

In November members will put on their fourth production of La Traviata, with the most recent in 2004.

Verdi’s three act tragedy is based on the play, The Lady of the Camelias, by Alexandre Dumas who is perhaps best known for his novel The Three Musketeers.

First performed in 1853 in Venice the opera is now among the most popular and most often performed operas around the world.

This year’s showis a new production by Vanessa Codutti, a very talented young director from Italy, who has also worked in many other countries.

It runs at the Adam Smith Theatre from Wednesday, November 6 to Saturday, November 9.

Faust, 2015. Picture by Fife Photo Agency

Faust, 2015. Picture by Fife Photo Agency

The production is double cast so go along twice to see both.

Tickets are available from the Adam Smith box office, by calling 01592 583302 or click here

Read more: 48 pictures of Fife Opera over the years

La Traviata, 2004

La Traviata, 2004

Bitter Sweet, 2005

Bitter Sweet, 2005

The Pearl Fishers, 1994

The Pearl Fishers, 1994

La Boheme, 1998

La Boheme, 1998

Fife Opera' are preparing to stage La Traviata next month.  Picture by Sartorial Pictures.

Fife Opera' are preparing to stage La Traviata next month. Picture by Sartorial Pictures.