Die Fledermaus

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

Kelvin Holdsworth

five stars

OPERA at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland can feels

like a bit of a gamble. Students putting on an end of term show or tomorrow’s talent today? This production of Die Fledermaus falls fair and square into the latter category. It is well directed, brilliantly sung and is laugh out loud funny from beginning to end.

Set in the mixed up world of post-Brexit Europe, things feel bang up to date with references to flash-mobs, transgender friendly toilets and even a naughty joke about feeding David Cameron pork scratchings. Director Lee Blakeley manages to inject farce into Fledermaus and has produced one of the most entertaining operas to be seen in Glasgow for some time.

Musically things are top notch. Amongst a strong opening night cast (students will alternate some parts through the run) particularly fine singing came from Joanna Norman’s Adele and Charlie Drummond’s Roselinde. Chase Henry Hopkins was a splendidly glaikit cuckolded Tory MP as Eisenstein whilst Richard Shaffrey’s Alfredo had everything a rival Italian lover should have including a deliciously dark burnt-umber baritone voice.

One of the hardest parts in the operatic repertoire is the non-singing comedy gaoler in Die Fledermaus. I’ve never seen one that didn’t make me cringe – until this production. Jamie MacDougall was a hoot.

A particular joy of going to the RCS is the possibility of a chorus of strong young voices and in this production the power of the voice is paramount. Meanwhile, down in the pit, under conductor Timothy Dean, the orchestra never put a foot wrong.

This is funny, full-on, five-star fizz. Don’t miss it.