Sound to Sea
Glasgow Science Centre
FEW people bar the irrepressible founder and artistic director of Cryptic, Cathie Boyd, could have assembled the cast that contributed to this memorable highlight of the final weekend of Glasgow's Commonwealth Games adventure. With the basin at Pacific Quay around which the Garden Festival flourished over a quarter of century ago as its stage, Sound to Sea married music of many genres with merchant and Royal Navy vessels, quayside mummers, aerialists on the roof of the science centre, choreographed buoy-hauling and kayaking and pyrotechnics.
It was a feast of fine moments, with two female singers edging popular beatboxer Bigg Taj, aboard the dinky Wee Spark, for the honours. Rachel Sermanni's arrival in a scarlet dress on a fishing boat (Glasgow Green and the RSNO one night, River Clyde and ME113 the next) was the first captivating moment, but soprano Marie Claire Breen, who has been involved in some of the most interesting work I have seen this year, had the principal role. Rescued by the first deployment of the Navy from a GalGael longboat when two RIBs from HMS Pursuer responded to her distress call, she appeared aboard the pirouetting HMS Bangor to sing Cio-Cio San's aria of expectation of a vessel on the horizon bringing back her lost love in Madame Butterfly.
Elsewhere we heard from Miaoux Miaoux, Model Aeroplanes, Glasgow Phoenix Choir and Treacherous Orchestra live, and Mogwai, Craig Armstrong and Richard Strauss recordings in an event which, a little like the Opening Ceremony at Celtic Park, never became more than the sum of its parts. And some of those were simply dwarfed by the setting.