I play 2nd Flute/Piccolo: my first job was in The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, I then moved to The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; then the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and returned to Scottish Opera in 2016. It’s great being back in this wonderful orchestra and, in particular, to play with such a fine Principal Flute, Richard Blake.

I have chosen all my tracks from Scottish Opera recordings showing the wide range of repertoire covered by the company.

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HMS Pinafore: Act II Trio

I’ve chosen this track, Never Mind the Why and Wherefore, as a tribute to Tim Brooke-Taylor who died of Covid-19 on 12th April. I’ve been a fan of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue for many years and during normal times the Sunday repeat of Desert Island Discs was often followed by I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. Scottish Opera performed a concert version of HMS Pinafore at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival and Tim Brooke-Taylor was the extremely genial narrator.

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Vilja from Lehár's The Merry Widow

Alfie Boe is singing on this track: Vilja is sung by Hanna Glavari, the Merry Widow, a soprano role, but I think Alfie Boe sings it beautifully. There were five Scottish Opera tours of The Merry Widow between 1973 and 1989, and in 1977 Classics for Pleasure released a highlights recording conducted by Sir Alexander Gibson. There are so many absolutely wonderful melodies in this operetta.

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Marc Blitzstein's Regina Prologue

Under the supervision of Leonard Bernstein, John Mauceri, Scottish Opera’s Music Director from 1986 to 1993, and Tommy Krasker restored Marc Blitzstein’s Regina to the composer’s original conception. I remember during the performances and recording sessions being so impressed by the gorgeous voice of Theresa Merritt who sings Addie.

Leos Janacek: The Makropulos Case Finale

Between 1975 and 1982 Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera co-produced an extremely successful series of Janacek operas of which this is one. The story is extraordinary: Elina Makropulos is 300 years old having been used as a guinea pig for an elixir of eternal life the potency of which is coming to an end. Janacek creates a unique sound world which in this opera warms and blossoms into a radiantly beautiful conclusion.

The Finale from Richard Strauss' Salome

The orchestral writing in both Salome and Elektra is truly amazing and every time I’ve played this piece I’m overwhelmed by Strauss’s gargantuan achievement.

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