ARTISTIC EVALUATION It should be noted the views expressed in this evaluation are intended to represent, as far as possible, an objective aesthetic judgement. Specialist advisors and officers should avoid making judgements based on their own personal tastes and preferences. Artist/Company: Mariinsky Opera Company, Edinburgh International Festival Venue: Edinburgh Festival Theatre Title of Event: Krol Roger Type of Event: opera performance Date of Visit: Wednesday 27th August Overall Rating: Excellent This was an outstanding festival production from one of the world’s leading opera companies. It is a huge production, both in terms of musical and visual impact, with intense theatricality and powerful performances the principals supported by an accomplished chorus and orchestra. The production was a strong contribution to the Edinburgh International Festival programme, and was an excellent example of the unique role the festival has in bring outstanding international arts to audiences in Scotland. Name: Anita Clark Date: 24/ 10 /2008 Scottish Arts Council Officer This report has been commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council to evaluate the artistic quality of the production named above. It has been prepared by either a specialist Advisor, or an officer of the Scottish Arts Council, as indicated at the end of the form. The report will be circulated to the organisation which produced the work and to the management of the venue, if the venue is core funded by the Scottish Arts Council. The report will form evidence for the Artistic Leadership and Public Engagement sections of the Quality Framework and be taken into account in assessing the work of the producing company in relation to applications for funding to the Scottish Arts Council. It may also be used by the Joint Board to report on the overall performance of its funded organisations. Evaluators should enter their rating under each section, explaining briefly their reason for the rating with reference to their comments under each section. Ratings should be given in accordance with the following: 1 - Very Poor – standard falls well below what is acceptable. 2 - Poor – not attaining acceptable standards of conception or presentation. 3 - Competent – routine rather than especially interesting. 4 - Good – well conceived and executed 5 - Excellent – conceived and executed to a high standard. 1. Artistic Assessment Please evaluate the artistic quality of the event, with particular reference to the strengths and weaknesses of the following: Artform Criteria Rating Comments and key reasons for rating All Vision and imagination of 5 This production of Krol Roger was by the polish work - Quality of ideas, skills in director, Maiusz Trelinki and performed by the execution; if you’ve seen the work Mariinsky Opera and Orchestra. An intensely of this artist(s)/ company before, theatrical production, the work was striking in its please comment on the comparison. visual impact and vibrant musical quality. This was a work of outstanding artistic collaboration with direction, design and performance combining to create an innovative interpretation of the work. This was not an opera I had seen previously, however I was immediately caught up in the production. All Curatorial/ programming 5 The production formed a key part of the EIF 2008’s (if relevant) vision/ selection programme, one of two staged operas part of this Please indicate how the event year’s festival. It is a relatively unknown opera and I originated eg from the exhibiting/ am not aware of it having been performed producing organisation, artist-led or commissioned. previously in Scotland and it was noted as the UK premiere of this production. If the event is part of a Festival, please say how it contributes to At the heart of the EIF experience, is the festival’s the overall programme. unique place in introducing the most innovative of international performing arts to audience in Scotland. This was an excellent example of the festival fulfilling this mission. All Success of event against 5 The EIF brochure and website gave an appropriate stated aims - in the programme description of the opera, highlighting the narrative or other printed material, including and themes of the production. The website also how well it communicated the included a selection of images from the production artistic themes. and a short video of the work. Education events – see 1below for guidance EIF aims to be the most exciting, innovative and accessible festival of performing arts in the world, and the performance of Krol Roger by the Mariinsky Opera was an excellent demonstration of this mission. All Performers/tutors - technical 5 A large cast of principals, chorus and orchestra standard, performance skills and were utilised in this performance. The chorus were ability to communicate and used to theatrical impact in Act 1, set in the engage. cathedral and to musical impact in Acts 2 and 3 Where performers are not trained, when they joined the orchestra in the pit, creating a please reflect this in your phenomenal sound. comments. All the principal singers gave outstanding performances, technically assured and with dramatic integrity. I was particularly moved by the expressive performance from Elzbieta Szmythka as Roxana. 1 Education is a bridge between artform excellence and increased access and participation, and it is people centred. Providing opportunities for learning and progressing in an artform or using an artform to address other, non-artistic, outcomes are equally valid; in either case a high quality strategic approach is required in order to benefit the participants and the organisation. Delivery can be through workshops, post/pre-show discussions, outreach work, etc aimed at any age group. Artform Criteria Rating Comments and key reasons for rating Dance, Choreography/Use of 4 The main choreography was a wild dance of Theatre choreography - originality, use ecstasy involving the Shepherd’s followers at the of space, number and use of end of Act 2, which Roxanna is enticed to join. This dancers, length of piece, etc utilised quite predictable movement vocabulary but was effective within the overall context of the opera and was important in carrying forward the narrative. Theatre Script – particularly in relation to 5 The opera was performed in the original polish with new work or second productions. English surtitles. The clarity of the direction and Relevant to classics where the excellent performances made it extremely easy to original has been substantially changed. follow the narrative. Theatre, Direction - Concerns issues of 5 Excellent direction maximised the dramatic Dance interpretation, casting and narrative of the work and drew out accomplished presentation. and rounded performances from the cast. Dance, Use of music – 5 The orchestra and singers were world class and Theatre appropriateness and effect of performed with technical virtuosity and passionate sound or music (whole/part, live/ quality. The musical impact was intensely powerful, recorded) to the production. especially during sections with the full chorus where it felt that the entire theatre was reverberating to the sound. Dance, Design – costume, set, lighting. 5 The visual impact of this production through the set, Theatre Take into account how costume and lighting design was outstanding. Each appropriate the design is in of the three acts had very distinctive designs which relation to the venue and, where appropriate, the touring schedule. were beautifully produced. I wasn’t convinced by the video projection in the final act, which felt unnecessary and didn’t add to by engagement in the production. All Quality of 5 The technical presentation of this work was Presentation/Engagement excellent throughout ensuring the audience were fully engaged in the production. Performing Arts - technical presentation of the production (eg lighting and sound cues, etc). Crafts/Visual Arts - Use of equipment, space and overall layout/hang All Audience It appeared to be a sell out performance at Performing Arts - appropriateness Edinburgh Festival Theatre. of the production for the audience/participants; estimate the size and reaction Crafts/Visual Arts – time spent, interest, activity, and visitors’ books comments, number of visitors/ participants at the time of visit All Additional Interpretative - Although EIF has an extensive programme of activity – what activities were insights, talks and education activities, I am not available to enhance the aware of any specific interpretative events linked to experience of the event eg the performances of Krol Roger. workshops, artist’s talks, discussion groups? Please indicate age-groups targeted. All Outcomes of education - N/A activity – what learning/skills development took place? What did participants take away with them? Are education resources being provided for follow up work? 2. Management of Event Please evaluate the way the event was presented/organised by the organisation and the venue, with reference to the checklist below, including additional comments/observations. Please try to view the venue and the services, and interpretative material as though you had never visited it before eg if you did not know the venue’s location, how easy would it be to find your way there, and to find your way around once you had arrived? Criteria Comment Suitability of the venue for the The Edinburgh Festival Theatre is a fabulous venue for work of event this scale and has clear sight lines throughout the auditorium. I was sitting in the upper circle but still had an excellent view of the production, including the surtitles. Information/ interpretive A programme was available to purchase for £3. The material at venue - programme was of the usual format for the EIF and included a programmes, displays etc. synopsis of the plot, an essay on the opera and information on the company and artistic collaborators. The format ensures the programmes contain high quality discourse, but is aimed more at the already knowledgeable audience. The extending use of the website is beginning to be utilised for different interpretive approaches for a broader audience. Publicity/ pre-publicity – EIF undertakes and extensive and strategic approach to leaflets, posters, websites, etc. marketing and audience development based on a strong What is produced, is it easy to understanding of their audiences. The main festival brochure understand and where can you get the information? Please be alert to for 2008 was a fresh and distinctive piece of print. The festivals the publicity available prior to your website was easy to navigate and included images and video visit to the event and comment on footage of the performance to give potential audiences the the company/organisation’s website. opportunity to get to know the work. E-flyers were utilised in the run up to and during the festival, building connections with the audience. The festival’s extensive PR work, ensured that there was a great deal of preview material in the media for this performance. Ease of booking and I booked tickets through the EIF website with ease. The payment website enables you to choose your seat which is a good feature. Location of venue – eg is it EFT is a city centre venues, suitable for public transport links easy to find? Is it on a main and with car parking facilities near by. transport route? External signage and There is adequate external signage and signposting for EFT signposting? and it presents a distinctive façade to the street. Internal directional signage Signage in the venue is appropriate. Access and provision for EFT has good access with lifts ensuring access throughout the disabled people – what can you venue. However, the height of the box office and the bars see? could be challenging for wheelchair users. The use of surtitles in the production will have assisted those with hearing impairments as well as the wider audience. Timing of the event – was the The performance began at 7.15pm and ran for 2 ½ hours with length appropriate? Did the start two intervals. and finish time seem to be appropriate for the audience? Customer service - quality and The front of house staff were helpful and efficient. efficiency of staff (e.g. box office,front of house, bar and/or catering) Acknowledgement of Scottish Scottish Arts Council funding was acknowledged within the Arts Council Funding 2 programme, publicity and on the Festival website. 2 In press releases, at launches, on all published materials (including leaflets, brochures, programmes, posters, company’s website, notices display, exhibition materials, websites and advertising, recordings, publications, video, 3. Organisation’s Comments (optional) This is the organisation’s opportunity to respond to points raised within this assessment. Please do not feel obliged to fill this section in. In the spirit of the Quality Framework, we would ask that any comments are self-evaluating, providing an insight as to why, if there is, a major disagreement of response between the organisation and the evaluation, in a constructive way. This will not alter the rating given by the assessment, but will allow the organisation the opportunity to give their opinion/feedback. The Scottish Arts Council reserves the right to edit comments if they are deemed to be libellous or defamatory. As the Scottish Arts Council implements the Quality Framework internally, we intend to publish artistic evaluations on organisations that we support regularly on our website. The final artistic evaluation, including the organisation’s response will be published on a quarterly basis on our website. Please keep your response to max 500 words. If we do not hear from you in 15 days, we will assume that you do not want to respond. broadcasts, computer programmes etc.) Where the event is publicised in the programme brochure of another organisation (eg venue, gallery, etc) then SAC acknowledgement should appear against the particular programme entry for this event.
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