Review: Betrothal in a Monastery

Scottish Opera and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 20 January 2012

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery is seldom staged in this country. This production by Scottish Opera in collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland worked reasonably well as a showcase for the singing talents of those on stage. However, no persuasive case was made for the piece itself and the staging was sloppy and careless from the outset.

One of the oddest things about this opera is its title. Though several couples do indeed end up wedding one another in a monastery, the monastery itself plays no part in the plot other than as a setting for a bunch of monks to carouse and throw pillows at one another. The actual plot itself is merely a case of one or two mistaken romantic identities.

The curious thing about this opera is how busy it feels. No one dies, no one falls in love, no one cross-dresses and despite the presence of considerable numbers of people on stage in religious orders, no-one gets their head chopped off. [Read more…]