Monday, 28 September 2015

The Devil Inside - new opera from Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh

Stuart MacRae
Stuart MacRae
Music Theatre Wales will be touring a new opera by Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh in 2016 in a new production which is a co-production with Scottish Opera. The Devil Inside (based on Robert Louis Stevenson's short story The Bottle Imp) will be directed by Matthew Richardson, conducted by Michael Rafferty, designed by Samal Blak with a cast including Nicholas Sharratt, Rachel Kelly, Steven Page and Ben McAteer. The production debuts at the Theatre Royal Glasgow (23, 26 January 2016) and then travels to Edinburgh (29, 30 January), London's Peacock Theatre (3, 4 February), Cardiff (9 February), the Anvil at Basingstoke (10 February), and Aberystwyth (23 February) with further Welsh dates to be confirmed.

Louise Walsh (c) Steve Lindridge
Louise Walsh (c) Steve Lindridge
Composer Stuart MacRae and novelist Louise Welsh have form together and their partnership has been admirably grown and nurtured by Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales. The first collaboration was the 15 minute Remembrance Day which was part of Scottish Opera's admirable evening of new short operas Five: 15 - Operas Made in Scotland. Later the pair's one-act opera Ghost Patrol (2012) was a joint venture between the two companies and won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Opera in 2013, and received an Olivier Award nomination.

MacRae and Welsh have created a contemporary take on Robert Louis Stevenson's unsettling tale whilst preserving the chilling, queasy qualities of the original. The story turns on a bottle with the power to grant the heart’s desire - but there’s a catch: you can only sell it for less than you paid for it, and, if you die while owning it, your soul goes straight to hell. James uses the bottle to get all he ever dreamed of, and then sells it. Happily married to Catherine, he feels his life is complete until an awful discovery begins to unravel their life together, with devastating consequences.

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