Tippett’s The Knot Garden at Scottish Opera

The Knot Garden
Sir Michael Tippett
sung in English

The Knot Garden, with a libretto by the composer, has a typically enigmatic title. The elaborate Elizabethan Knot Garden often resembled a maze – and the reference to Shakespeare’s time is underlined by numerous references to The Tempest. The enchantment and isolation, which are such powerful themes in Shakespeare’s play, are put into a late twentieth-century context by Tippett. To this is added a web of psychological disturbance – where the maze of the garden becomes a metaphor for the labyrinth of human thoughts and relationships. The cast includes an analyst, Mangus, whose role as Master of Ceremonies in the final act is decisive.
The Knot Garden was brave and controversial at the time of its first performance in 1970. Two of the main characters – the bisexual black writer Mel and his white friend Dov, a musician – are probably the first openly gay couple to appear in an opera. It is their relationship, grown fragile, around which much of the plot revolves.
First performed in 1970, Tippett’s third opera involves a psychological exploration of a group of contemporary characters, and frequently invokes parallels with The Tempest. One of Tippett’s most eclectic scores, it shows the influence of jazz, and even of the pop music of the 1960s (an electric guitar is included in the orchestra) as well as one of Tippett’s great loves, the songs of Franz Schubert.
Cast information:
Mangus — Peter Savidge
Thea — Jane Irwin
Flora — Rachel Nicholls
Faber — Andrew Shore
Dov — Hilton Marlton
Mel — Derrick Parker
Denise — Rachel Hynes
[Click *here* for scheduling and ticket information.]