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Review: 'Rubble' by Gareth Williams

Having recently interviewed Gareth Williams about his new opera ‘Rubble’, we were delighted to see the premiere this weekend!


From the moment we walked into the performance space we were transported to the 1980’s, thanks to the clever use of vintage board games dotted around the audience and posters of films like ‘The Goonies‘ and ‘E.T’ plastered on the walls. Suddenly, ‘Rubble’ starts with a (very loud!) bang and from the moment the performance began, we were gripped by the exhilarating music and stunning performances by the Scottish Opera Young Company.


Rubble sees a group of young people reflect upon their their time in a children’s home in the 1980’s. Throughout the opera these reflections become increasingly dark, exposing what really happened during their childhood behind closed doors. Johnny McKnight’s libretto handled this subject matter sensitively and directly, which made for a poignant telling of a story that has to be told. The young people certainly brought the story to life through there dedicated and impressive performance.


Johnny’s libretto refreshingly captured the spirit of the Glaswegian dialect, at times tender, sometimes cutting, but always expressive. Hearing familiar phrases such as ‘want to get of wi me?’ and ‘bawbag’ in an opera was a definitely a first for us!


Some stand out musical moments for us had to be the use of tedious piano fingering exercises sung as an ostinato by the ensemble backed by the rhythmical accompaniments of the orchestra to create a fizzing and exciting number. In contrast to this, we later hear Jude’s poignant solo moment as he sings an aria to his friend through a locked door, a particularly soothing moment amidst the driving music and unsettling plot.


This opera is definitely deserving of many future performances so here’s hoping we all get a chance to see it again soon!


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