Opera-tunity knocks ...

Fife Opera 2013 productions of 'Suor Angelica' by Puccini and 'I Pagliacci' by Leoncavallo.
Fife Opera 2013 productions of 'Suor Angelica' by Puccini and 'I Pagliacci' by Leoncavallo.

Rehearsals are well and truly underway as members of Fife Opera prepare to stage their latest production in Kirkcaldy next month.

The company will present a double bill at the Adam Smith Theatre from Thursday, November 7 to Saturday, November 9.

They will stage Puccini’s ‘Suor Angelica’ (Sister Angelica) and ‘I Pagliacci’ (The Clowns) by Leoncavallo.

Speaking to the Press this week, Rosemary Nairne, from Fife Opera, explained: “They wouldn’t normally be put together, but they are both short operas so we feel they link well together.

“Suor Angelica is mainly performed as the middle opera in a group of three, while ‘Pagliacci’ is often presented with ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ - they are a popular pair.”

Fife Opera incidentally produced ‘Gianni Schicci’ one of the other operas in ‘Il Trittico’, the trio two years ago.

‘Suor Angelica’ is set in a convent at the turn of the 19th century.

Angelica, a nun of noble birth is very skilled and knowledgable in the use of plants and herbs in her medical potions, but she has a secret which is revealed when her aunt visits the convent to demand that Angelica renounces her entitlements in favour of her younger sister who is about to be married.

One of Fife Opera’s express aims is to nurture young singers both at amateur and professional level.

Rosemary, who plays the title role in the Puccini opera,said: “It’s an all female cast and lots of people in the company have parts.

“There are the central parts, but it’s full of smaller characters which allows most members of the company to have an actual part.

“It gives them a chance to have a go and it’s good for characterisation.”

Elaine Young is Angelica’s aunt in the production.

And Rosemary is pleased to be part of the ‘Suor Angelica’ production, though not for the first time.

“I have done it before,” she said.

“This is the fifth time I’ve taken part in Sister Angelica.

“It’s been popular in the area for the company and for other groups.

“But this is the second time I’m playing this part.

“It’s a wonderful part, I really love singing it.”

The second opera on the bill is ‘I Pagliacci’ (The Clowns), which explores another aspect of love, the obsessive destructive love which leads inevitably to tragedy.

Composed in 1892 by the little known composer Leoncavallo, the story is based on a real court case tried by his magistrate father.

Canio, the star and troupe manager, has a young beautiful wife Nedda, whom he guards jealously.

She is grateful to Canio who rescued her from desitution, but loves another man.

Canio suspects and in a jealous rage uses the play within the play to seek revenge.

Experienced professional singer Bob Crowe is Canio and he is joined by young professional Elizabeth Chanell as Nedda.

This is Elizabeth’s first time performing with the company, while Bob started out his career singing with Fife and Tayside opera.

Alistair Digges and Christopher Nairne, who are also part of Opera Bohemia and performed in the Old Kirk earlier this year, take on roles in the production.

Rosemary continued: “Rehearsals are going very well and I really think it’s going to be very good.

“The company has been going for over 30 years and has quite high standards and always puts on a good production.

“The music in ‘I Pagliacci’ people will recognise, particularly the prologue which is sung by one of the characters before the opera starts.

“People will know them, but they probably won’t know Angelica so well.

“Both of the operas are easy to follow and because they are short, they are tighter.

“‘Angelica’ rolls along and you get sucked into the story, while ‘Pagliacci’ has a lot of humour in it, even although it is a tragic opera.”

Tickets for all three of Fife Opera performances are available online at www.onfife.com or at the Adam Smith Theatre box office, as well as from Fife Opera’s Roselind Evans by calling (01592) 741670.