Students present political upheaval through opera

Students present political upheaval through opera

University of Aberdeen students and graduates will team up with Royal composer Paul Mealor to present an opera which deals with political upheaval as Britain tries to pick its way through the Brexit mire.

The University’s Opera Society will perform Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera from Friday (March 15) to Sunday (March 17).

Society President David Walsh, a third year music student said they couldn’t have picked a more appropriate time to stage the socialist musical drama.

“When we began the planning for the performance in April last year we had no idea we’d be performing this story of political upheaval in the midst of such uncertain political times here,” he added.

“Hopefully our performance of The Threepenny Opera, a biting satire on capitalism's post-war rise, will provide some light relief and entertainment for audiences!”

It is the 12th production of the University Opera Society, which has been running since 2007.

Students and graduates have been rehearsing since September for the performance under the musical direction of Paul Mealor, professor of composition at the University and a renowned composer whose work has been performed for royalty and at some of the world’s most prestigious venues.

The stage director is Thomas Henderson, a University graduate in English with Music who has previously performed with the Society, and the production designer is Jillian Bain Christie, a Scottish artist and soprano.

David said their approach to the opera ‘makes no secret of how this 1928 social commentary reflects today's leaders and celebrities’.

“We wanted to choose a work that was a bit more unheard of in the mainstream of the opera world for this year's production,” he added.

“The Opera Society has never done The Threepenny Opera before, a show brimming with history, based on John Gay's original play The Beggar's Opera

“We're thrilled to have the opportunity to resurrect this gripping drama, with our own spin on it and for a new audience. We've been very fortunate in the society to have received the continual support from our generous patrons, Professor Derek Ogston, CBE and Margaret Carlaw, without whom none of this would be possible.

“We also were very lucky to have been in contact with director and translator Jeremy Sams, who gave us his blessing to use his translation of the musical numbers in the show that are paired with Robert David MacDonald's translation of Brecht's libretto. It's a very exciting production and a very exciting time for all of us in the society, and we hope that our audiences enjoy these three nights of performances"

The Threepenny Opera will be performed in the Arts Lecture Theatre, William Guild Building, University of Aberdeen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 with student/concession tickets available for £5. They can be booked in advance at www.aberdeenperformingarts.com or purchased on the door.