Review: My Light Shines On: The Telephone by Gian Carlo Menotti | Scottish Opera

The Telephone, or L’Amour à trois, is an opera in a single act, written for two singers and a hand-picked chamber ensemble. It was last performed at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1984 by Washington Opera.

 But this new adaptation was filmed in the city in the King’s Theatre in July under Covid19 rules. 

Soprano Soraya Mafi and celebrated baritone Jonathan McGovern aka Lucy and Ben are a doting couples whose love affair is repeatedly thwarted by a telephone, mainly from Lucy’s phone. 

It is a nod to the pandemic in that it highlights the importance of communication and talking to our friends and family during this strange time. But sometimes it is the people who are in front of you that need you rather than someone on a screen.

 International Festival audiences are given the rare opportunity to hear this charming work performed by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, conducted by Stuart Stratford, who has been the company’s Music Director since 2015. His expansive portfolio of acclaimed performances includes the European premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves at the 2019 Edinburgh International Festival. 

I admit that I have never seen an Opera but after watching this one, I am in love. When the words a sung I seem to engage with them more and I think they mean more somehow, I think we should all sing to each other from now on.

It’s funny, I watched this on my smartphone and I was gripped, I did not put it down as I wanted to know what happened to the couple. You will have to watch it to find out if they get their happy ending. 

It is a part of My Light Shines On, the Edinburgh International Festival has commissioned some of Scotland’s major national artistic companies to create extraordinary works that audiences can enjoy from their own homes.

Which is fantastic as I am all for theatre and culture being accessible to everyone.

In a tribute to the enduring spirit of our Festival City, they bring light and life to sites that must stay empty this year. These unique performances for film reflect on what it means to keep a hopeful light burning in dark times.

And this exactly what we need, we need arts and culture to entertain us. We also need good news and love stories to provide that light.

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