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Orlando Press Reviews

 

The Scotsman ****

 

'Scottish Opera's production of Handel's Orlando is a thing of real beauty; a study in human suffering bathed in honeyed light and played with forthright vigour...The orchestra, under acclaimed early music master Paul Goodwin, have mastered a stylish kind of curt phrasing which injects an appropriate kind of nervous energy into the score. Soprano Sally Silver could rely far less on her rich, coloratura...in it's stead, a very natural vulnerability could be detected beneath her strong persona, a quality that worked particularly well in duets with Andrew Radley, playing Medoro...Quite rightly, however, it was counter-tenor Tim Mead as Orlando whose constantly evolving performance held the audience in breathless silence as he finally succumbed to madness...Mead's performance somehow maintained a precarious position on a path between duty and raw passion.'

 

 

The Herald ****

 

'Scottish Opera has a brilliant new production on its hands...Harry Fehr has set it and directs it with no tongue in cheek and with maximum discretion and understatement. I cannot imagine the narrative, about the twin tug of love and duty, being more lucidly unfolded...Everything is clear and there is nothing to fear. So, dramatically, it is spot on. But musically it is stunning with fantastic singing...Musical direction by the genius conductor Paul Goodwin is crisp, light, compact and pacy; it never stops. And the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, light years from its comfort zone, plays very well in the 18th century style. Bravo to all...'

 

 

The Daily Telegraph ****

 

'(Director Harry Fehr's)...new Scottish Opera production of Orlando is a little triumph...Paul Goodwin's keenly alert conducting sets the orchestra a cracking pace, and the opera's highlights...have time to breath and space to glow. Counter-tenor Tim Mead sings the title role with great sensitivity...Sally Silver and Claire Booth are both dazzling and stylish as Angelica and Dorinda, while Andrew Radley and Andreas Wolf lend strong support as Medoro and Zoroastro...Even the most hardened of baroque opera-phobes (no names) will relish it.'

 

 

The Guardian ****

 

'...for Scottish Opera, Harry Fehr has created a moving and provocative human drama, centered around a captivating performance from countertenor Tim Mead...Yannis Thavoris's designs add just enough perod detail to keep things stylish. Anyway, Mead's Orlando needs little decoration: his voice is in gorgeous, expressive form, and his acting is utterly convincing...Conductor Paul Goodwin has deftly turned Scottish Opera's orchestra into a credible baroque band.'

 

 

The Times ***

 

'Yannis Thavoris's lovely revolving set is the quintessence of 1930s architectural chic, a claustrophobic prison of tired minds...there are some lovely sounds: Sally Silver and Andrew Radley in duet, Mead's vertiginous mad scene, Booth's exasperated arias.'

 

 

Scottish Daily Express ***

 

'Yannis Thavoris's revolving set was elegantly versatile, clever back-projection brought the wartime setting to life, and a flawlessly crisp performance by a slimmed down orchestra under Paul Goodwin teased out the often majestic themes that underlie Handel's Baroque ornamentation. And Tim Mead well deserved his warm ovation for the title role.'

 

 

The Independent ***

 

'Claire Booth was a scene-stealing Dorinda, adorable in her swishing navy cape, the most animated actress in a piece which demands much more than standing still and delivering set-pieces. Tim Mead, making his Scottish Opera debut, produced a technically impressive performance of this terrifyingly difficult role, delivering tender arias while prone on a hospital trolley, cleverly underplaying the notoriously demanding, tempo-changing "mad-scene" at the end of Act Two.'

 

 

The Stage

 

'The singing, too, reaches a high standard, with counter-tenor Tim Mead fluent and sensitive as Orlando...Claire Booth's Dorinda is a charmer...Sally Silver's flamboyant Angelica shows enormous flair. Paul Goodwin conducts a pacy, detailed performance, with excellent playing from the orchestra.'

 

 

The List ****

‘In setting Handel’s Orlando in a 1940s London hospital, young director Harry Fehr has been completely ingenious…As Orlando, counter-tenor Tim Mead is outstanding. He has not only just the right voice for the role, but draws the audience directly to the core of his suffering and vulnerability, and ultimately into sharing the joy of his recovery. Hugely demanding vocally, Angelica is impressively sung by Sally Silver whose agile technique takes Handel’s leaping up and down the register in its stride. Likewise Claire Booth, whose tender Dorinda also brought a little tongue-in-cheek humour to her role as nurse.’
 

 

Evening News ****

 

'There's a haunting quality to the counter-tenor voice and [Tim] Mead used its plaintive aspects to great affect conveying the initial lovesick foolishness of his character...Andrew Radley...was excellent playing the magnetic Medoro who has some of the best music in the opera...Counteracting the lightness of the other voices was Andreas Wolf as Zoroastro the mighty sorcerer, here turned into a senior doctor with white coat and bow tie. If something of the power of the character was diminished by scaling down from magician to clinician, the Wolf's powerful bass-baritone reclaimed it with scenery-shaking delivery. The stand out in terms of performance was Claire Booth as Dorinda...she captured the gauche passions of a girl on the edge of womanhood perfectly.'

 

 

Independent on Sunday

 

Harry Fehr’s pithy, poignant production of Orlando shows Scottish Opera on defiant form…With smooth transitions from scene to scene, and brilliantly detailed character work from the five singers and six actors, Fehr’s production glides briskly but sympathetically through the corridors of [Yannis] Thavoris’s Art Deco hospital…Mead’s bone-china legato and spitfire coloratura are impeccable throughout, and all the voices are stylishly supported…Here’s hoping this production will be revived.’