Tippett´s Knotty Garden
REVIEW By Willard Manus
SCOTLAND -- Scottish Opera recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of
composer Michael Tippett's birth with a bold production at Theatre Royal
of THE KNOT GARDEN. First presented by the company in 1970, The Knot Garden
is a complex--okay, knotty--modern opera dealing with the human condition
from a strongly psychiatric point of view. Based loosely on Shakespeare's
The Tempest and Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, the opera explores, as Tippett
himself has said, "the loves and hates of seven people in modern
Tippett as dramatist was unable to successfully focus and construct his story, which consists of snippets of scenes, flashes of character insight, a fitfully starting and stopping narrative. But as composer Tippett holds the chaos together with his brilliant score, which alternates between evocative lyricism and angular dissonance, with touches of twelve tone, rock, blues, jazz and gospel.
Tippett has also given his singers many challenging and exciting arias to sing. Full of notes, but always going deep and hard into emotion, the arias were, on the whole, handled well by the cast, which also included Jane Irwin, Rachel Nicholls, Andrew Shore, Hilton Marlton, Derrick Parker and Rachel Hynes. The singers were helped by Antony McDonald's vivid direction and by Richard Armstrong's able pit work. In all, Scottish Opera did Tippett proud.
Forthcoming productions include Semele by Handel, Andrea CChenier by Giordano and Fidelio by Beethoven. For precise information about the company's mainstage and small-scale touring attractions, call 0141-248-4567 or visit scottishopera.org.uk