Lilac Time

Attribution: unknown (The ruin of Free Church in Jamestown)

Strathpeffer's Fine Success

With their presentation of “Lilac Time” at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, last Friday and Saturday nights, Strathpeffer Amateur Operatic Society set a very high standard of singing and acting which, at times, could have been regarded as a professional performance. The props and costumes, which were all made by members and friends, would not have been out of place in Vienna 160 years ago when the action was supposed to have taken place and added an excellent touch of colour to the stage. There was plenty of movement and, apart from the first two or three minutes at the start on Friday night, when the actors were a little hesitant and getting their bearings, the three scenes flowed to their ultimate conclusion with love triumphant. Tom Fraser as Otto Zell, a glass maker with three marriageable daughters, provided the humour, obviously revelling in his role as the evening wore on. Malcolm MacArthur as Baron Franz Von Schober was outstanding as the victim of Madam Taliani, an opera singer with romantic designs upon him. In the end, however, he gets the hand of the youngest daughter of Papa Zell, beautifully played by Anne Campbell. Leon Radin took the part of Franz Schubert, bringing to it a diffidence and hesitation of speech which the part required, whilst Christine Fraser, as Adelina Taliani, portrayed the strong-willed prima donna to perfection. The fine singing by the chorus and supporting cast, assisted by the orchestra under conductor Fred Henson, rounded off an excellent evening’s entertainment. This was a new Operatic Society version adapted for stage by Heinrich Berte and arranged by Ronald Hanmer.

“Inverness Courier” 1980

Amateur entertainment of 'high standard'

We are often indebted to amateur companies for their public performances of little-known pieces or works which, because of soaring production costs cannot be undertaken by professionals.

This was very much the case with Strathpeffer Amateur Operatic Society’s presentation at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, on Friday, of “Lilac Time”, a play with music and songs of Franz Schubert.

Although there were moments when the amateurism of the performers came through, the evening was in many ways a remarkably fine achievement from people who, in the main, do this just for fun and hopefully for the pleasure of others. Judging from the generous and spontaneous applause from the large audience, this enterprising company had succeeded in providing entertainment of a high standard.

The pure and lovely melody, which is one of Schubert’s greatest charms, characterises much of the tuneful and musically delightful songs with which the show abounds. Both soloists and chorus demonstrated that they have the talent to convey with ease and fluency the unique flavour of the music.

Principals who were particularly well cast were, of course, Schubert himself, played by Leon Radin who admirably captured the shyness of the character; Anne Campbell, a delightful Mitzi; Malcolm MacArthur as Baron Von Schober; and the stylish Christine Fraser as the jealous singer Adelina Taliani. Tom Fraser in the part of Otto Zell gave a very fine comedy performance – if at times a little overdone.

The sets and costumes were very good. The lighting on the other hand could have been a bit more imaginative. The producer was Mrs Ruth Gilvray and the small but effective orchestra was conducted by the company’s musical director, Fred Henson.
“The Press and Journal” 1980

View details from the Programme

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