Collaboration promises an evening to remember
The McLellan Arts Festival continues with its packed schedule of events including the much anticipated operatic collaborations between the Royal Northern College and the Arran Summer School.
With two poetry events scheduled for this weekend, including David Constantine’s reading at Little Rock tonight at 8pm, (Friday) poetry lovers will be spoiled for choice.
The weekends events continue with the ceilidh at Whiting Bay Hall on Saturday where local artists and musicians will be performing.
There is a discussion on translation in Brodick library on Sunday afternoon and on Monday August 29 at 8pm the film 45 Years will be shown in Corrie Hall.
On Wednesday, an evening of Arran memories with island raconteur John Sillars will be accompanied by music from Colin Donati and Robin Mason at Altachor-vie at 8pm. On Saturday September 3 students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will entertain with their own work in Corrie Hall on at 8pm with a new performance of Watership Down and The Little Prince.
This year a highlight of the festival for many will be the seventh Peter Alexander Wilson summer school for voice, opera and song with students from the Royal Northern College of Music who hail from Ulster, Wales, the Channel Islands, England, Norway and Australia.
The opera gala night concert will take place at the community theatre at Lamlash on Friday September 2. The three pianists will be Roddy Barand, Daniel Browell and, from Wales, Michael Davies.
Daniel is the head of Piano Accompaniment at Birmingham Conservatoire of Music, while Roddy is senior fellow in accompaniment, as is Michael at The Royal Northern College of Music.
The summer school is also very fortunate to welcome Philip Thomas this year, widely respected as one of the best vocal coaches in Britain. The other singing teacher to join them is Patricia Hay. Patricia and Peter Wilson taught at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Peter said: ‘She was a wonderful colleague and I learned a lot from working with her. She and her husband, John Graham were both well known principals with Scottish Opera and John was also the artistic director there.
‘We are doubly delighted that John Graham will be giving us a short talk on the history of Scottish Opera up until the present day.’
Alexander Crowe who has been with the school since its inception will also return as the musical director of the Arran summer school.
Known for having the patience of a saint, he will be joined by colleague Linda Ormiston who takes care of the dramatic side of the proceedings and who will also be involved in the direction of the opera scenes as well as the schools project.
The Corrie Parish Church service held on Sunday (August 28) at noon is anticipated to be full of wonderful music, both solos and quartets with five great hymns which the congregation will undoubtedly love.
Of particularly interest this year in the Opera Gala is the inclusion of the third act quartet from La Boheme, considered by many to be one of the most poignant scenes in all opera.
On the lighter side there will also be a good selection from Die Fledermaus, Hansel and Gretel and the concert opens with the first scene of Verdi’s Rigoletto, including the famous tenor aria, Questa O Quella.
The Oratorio this year is Rossini’s Petite Messe So-lenelle, a truly operatic piece full of soaring arias and choruses which will be sung by student soloists and the McLellan Festival Chorus.
Organiser Peter Wilson said: ‘Each year, funding the summer school becomes more and more difficult.
‘We are all hoping that a benefactor will come to our aid, and in saying that our thanks are always due to the late Iain Johnston who crucially supported us at the beginning.
‘Of course, we will continue to investigate all forms of fund raising ourselves.
‘The music is wonderful. The singers are truly of the highest calibre so please come and support us.’
Lara Rebekah Harvey gives an animated performance of Cole Porter’s ‘The Oyster Song’ accomponied by Roderick Barrand.
Renowned author and novelist David Constantine will present the poetry prize.
Last year’s singers of the summer school perform the finale at the high school auditorium.
John Sillars will talk about his love of Arran and his rich and diverse life at the Arran Clamjamfry.
Edinburgh duo Various Moons made up of Colin Donati and Robin Mason will be performing at the Altachorvie.