Anamchara Press Reviews
If the purpose of Anamchara – Songs of Friendship was to embrace the universal spirit of Glasgow’s “Friendly Games”, it did so in the most charming of
ways... a cast of singers, dancers and traditional instrumentalists from 16 countries, together with around 100 children from Scottish Opera’s Connect and Community Choruses, and the young Connect Orchestra, brought honest and innocent story-telling sparkle to this hour-long sequence of affectionate tales, specially written by Alexander McCall Smith and set to an uninterrupted wash of atmospheric music by composer Pippa Murphy.
The texts, imbued with a knowing innocence so typical of McCall Smith’s winning style, more poetic than narrative, evoke worldly wisdom in the simplest but telling terms... this was a production by Lissa Lorenzo and Martin O’Connor that communicated as meaningfully through gesture and atmosphere. Robbie Sinnott’s set design, a multi-level construction incorporating locational video projections, perfectly facilitated the sheer busy-ness of the cast, throwing the spotlight variably on Bhanu Sharma’s haunting sarod playing, and the fluid central dance sequence of Adrienne O’Leary and James Southward... Chris Gray’s unwavering musical direction lifted this whole delightful show above the ordinary.
The Scotsman ****
This new work must have been a colossal job to put together, involving young singers and orchestra from Scottish Opera's Connect Company, dancers, community choirs from Maryhill, and opera companies in Cape Town, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Canada and Botswana. So credit to all those involved, conductor Chris Gray, and directors Lissa Lorenzo and Martin O'Connor, for pulling off a show that was both heart-warming and professionally executed.
The music, written by Pippa Murphy, was poised delicately between being appealing to listen to, cleverly orchestrated, and also something that showed everyone on stage, from child to professional, in the best possible light. Pleasing high melismas for soprano Sarah Power, strings and percussion written to sound almost synthesised, plus light cultural references, kept the audience's ears interested.