March means music at the Byre! Whether it’s opera, jazz, or 70s pop, your musical taste buds can indulge in a variety of performances over the next month.
From Tuesday March 10th–Thursday March 12th, OpSoc return to the Byre Theatre with their new production of one of the most beloved operas of all time, The Magic Flute. It is more than just Mozart’s last opera (first performed in 1791), but an exciting adventure by turns whimsical, dark, and fun. To set the scene, OpSoc invites us to settle down to a stormy, winter’s night. The story revolves around three characters: a wicked queen who wishes to cast eternal night, a mischievous bird-catcher, Papageno, working to keep the dawn at bay, and a young and hapless Prince Tamino, who attempts to rescue the fair Pamina and banish the darkness. As ever, such an opera bubbles beneath the surface with allegory, exploring the quest for wisdom, which allows for fascinating parallels to be drawn between the enlightened absolutism of the eighteenth century and today’s political and social landscape. Mozart’s classic is sung in English through a stylish translation by Caroline Coetzee, leader of Cambridge Youth Opera. Let your imagination run wild and settle in for a fantastical foray into fairy tale. OpSoc’s production is traditional and true to the nature of the opera, whilst fully embracing the comedy and non-logic that The Magic Flute is known for.
For even more opera, the Byre is screening two from the Met. First up, on Sunday March 1st, is Agrippina by Handel. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato leads as the imperious title empress in this tale of deception and deceit. Set in ancient Rome, Agrippina plots the downfall of Emperor Claudius to secure the throne for her son Nero. This Baroque black comedy is given a politically charged, modern update.
Later in the month, on Sunday March 15th, Wagner’s masterwork Der Fliegende Holländer is shown. Inspired by the legendary tale of The Flying Dutchman, the Captain of the ghostly ship who has been condemned to sail the seas for eternity is offered a chance of redemption. Think Pirates of the Caribbean, but without the buffoonery, and much, much eerier.
Opera is only the starter on offer this month at the Byre so make sure you leave room on your plate for some disco! If you are a Dancing Queen or a Super Trouper, you’ll be able to dust off those platforms and put on those flares for a nostalgic trip back to the 70s for Gimme Abba 2020, one of the best-loved UK tributes to Sweden’s most famous export. Their two-hour show reproduces the charismatic stage presence of the flamboyant four. The many costume changes, dance routines, superbly crafted harmonies and instantly recognisable guitar and piano riffs converge to re-create that original Abba party feel that truly encapsulates the 70s era. Grab one of the few remaining tickets for Saturday March 14th.
More talent from the students of St Andrews is on show with Jazz Works. Their melodic afternoons are the perfect way to round off the end of a busy week. On various Sundays throughout March you will find the University’s Jazz Society performing at the Byre Café Bar between 2pm and 4pm. Kick back and unwind with the finest jazz that St Andrews has to offer. In totally improvised open jams that bring students and locals together, you’ll hear jazz standards spanning everything from bebop and modal jazz to funk and the blues.
Showcasing the musical repertoire of the student community through Jazz Works, and promoting student performing arts such as OpSoc is essential for the continued excelling of the University of St Andrews as a cultural hub. We are certainly saying Thank You for the Music this month.
Sunday March 1st, 5:55pm – £18.50/£17.50/£14.50: Agrippina (Met Opera)
Tuesday March 10th – Thursday March 12th, 7pm – £10/£8: The Magic Flute
Saturday March 14th, 7:30pm – £22: Gimme Abba 2020
Sunday March 15th, 5:55pm – £18.50/£17.50/£14.50: Der Fliegende Holländer (Met Opera)
Various Sundays (March 1st, 15th, 17th): Jazz Works
Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office or online. For more information visit https://byretheatre.com/