25 Aug 2006
Edinburgh Festival Stages World Premiere of Stuart MacRae's Opera The Assassin Tree
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
(Photo: © Catherine Ashmore) By Matthew Westphal [Playbill, 25 August 2006]
When Brian McMaster, outgoing director of the Edinburgh International Festival, looked to commission an opera for his last season in the Festival City, he turned to a Scot for the music. But not to James MacMillan, currently the best-known of Caledonian composers. Instead McMaster settled on Stuart MacRae, a relative youngster (now only 30) whose Violin Concerto had a big success in 2001 when Tasmin Little premiered it at the BBC Proms and another when Christian Tetzlaff played it in Edinburgh the following summer. (The Sunday Telegraph's critic called it "one of the best pieces of new music I have heard.")