The Two Widows – Scottish Opera

What more could one want at the end of a long day than gin and two widows?

Scottish Opera’s Two Widows is a delightful concoction. Sometimes it is a joy to go for an evening out and know that one will not be sent out into the darkness with a TB-related cough rattling in one’s ears or having to face sleep having just witnessed the massacre of nuns. No, The Two Widows is a simple tale of requited love accompanied by some lovely music. More or less plot free, young man spies young widow and puts himself in her way until eventually she capitulates and changes her mind about him. The naughty coniving of her cousin, the other widow is the only artiface on which the tale turns.

Musically it was well sung and well played. The forty or so faux-peasants which made up the chorus brought jollity and fun into the equation when the leads were charmingly bewailing unrequited love or pining for things that could not be.

Does unrequited love often turn around so? Not in my experience. However, the young man in question kept on through the forest of love until the lovely doe that he had espied became his true love forever.

Yet this was not mere confection. A clever stage design allowed for some interesting business over mirror images and reflections. This device kept us entertained and interested through one or two of the more unlikely arias (Mumlal’s silly growling song, for example), but did more than this also. The audience were invited to consider whether other people’s perceptions of themselves are true to their own inner conviction and narrative.

Does my reflection match my inner conviction? Does love inevitably win out in the end?

Better librettos have been written by people who have been less certain than Emanuel Z√ľngel seems to have been about both those questions. However, Smetana made silk out of rough material and Scottish Opera sported that silk with some panache.

Well worth seeing.

Rating: ★★★★☆