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Bella Calladonia Article 2015

The Descent o’ Orpheus tae the Underwarl by Ayrshire Opera is an owresettin o an auld French opera fae 1686, La descente d’Orphée aux enfers bi Marc-Antoine Charpentier, intil Scots.

The tale taks us doon tae the underwarl o Greek mythology, whaur oor hero Orpheus gings in search o his newly deid wife Eurydice. Giftit wi sang sae saft and bonnie that nane can refuse him, Orpheus ettles tae save his pairtner fae the clutches o Pluto, high heid yin o the warld ablow wir feet. Nae spoilers, but.

The owresettin fae French intil Scots wis the wark o Chris Waddell fae the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. This isnae Waddell’s, nor Ayrshire Opera’s furst wee bairnie steps in the warld o Scots opera. Baith hae aaready markit their nemmes in history ae year syne wi the production o Actéon meets Tam o Shanter, the furst Opera in Scots, anithir owresttin o Charpentier bi Waddell.

The shaw’s Creative Director, as weel’s its tenor, is West coast chiel David Douglas. It wis David’s love o Scots sang that gard him big a brig atween his classical operatic scuilin an the rich Scots o his native Ayrshire, he telt us. “The Scots taks the hail wark in a new airt, gies it a new smeddum. Opera companies aa owre the yird hae owreset Operas intae their ain leid, an Ah was fair tane wi the idea o owresettin ane intae Scots.” The enterprise wis aidit bi Michael Dempster, wha gied assistance bi “relatin Scots soonds tae phonetic alphabet” fir the fowk wha didnae ken Scots.

The opera has but a wee twa-nicht run at this year’s Fringe sae tak tent an dinnae miss this neer-afore-seen spectacle. David Douglas’ troops promise baith beautiful music an “Scots [that gies the piece] a folk-like storytellin quality.


Alistair Heather - Bella caledonia

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