Dane Lam conducts "magnificently emotive" Carmen for Scottish Opera

15 May 2023

Conductor Dane Lam is being lauded for his fresh, invigorating take on Bizet's beloved opera Carmen, now on stage with Scottish Opera. Lam, who was recently announced as the incoming Music Director of the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra, returns to Scottish Opera after his acclaimed company debut conducting La Traviata in 2017. Scottish Opera's new production, directed by John Fulljames, reimagines the piece as a true-crime thriller, leaning on Prosper Mérimée’s 1845 source novella.

"Under the baton of conductor Dane Lam, the orchestra plays Bizet’s remarkable score with a delicate, sensitive freshness and, when required, an invigorating heft."
Mark Brown, The Telegraph

"Australian-Chinese conductor Dane Lam leads Scottish Opera’s orchestra with vim and swagger, and the chorus is on top form throughout."
David Lee, The Guardian

"...the score (slightly cut) gets its due from Dane Lam, whose conducting never drags or sags but gives Bizet’s melodies room to fly. The result is a briskly paced but very lyrical Carmen..."
Richard Bratby, The Spectator

"The greatest consistency comes from the orchestra, magnificently emotive and alert under conductor Dane Lam."
Ken Walton, The Scotsman

"The musical language of the show is... in safe[r] hands, conductor Dane Lam – who takes up the enviable position of Music Director of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra this summer – revelling in all the details of Bizet’s glorious orchestration and the orchestra delivering in spades, both soloists and ensemble."
Keith Bruce, The Herald Scotland

"In the pit, Australian Dane Lam conjured up Bizet’s score with energy and vigour, the Scottish Opera Orchestra nimbly responding with lively strings, bright woodwinds and splendid brass. Tune after tune tumbled out, Lam keeping his musicians and singers well in step, tempering the excitement with lyrical delights, some lovely flute solos and nifty castanets."
David Smythe, Bachtrack

"The ultimate, and most consistent, champions of this Carmen are the Scottish Opera Orchestra, whose performance on opening night under Australian conductor Dane Lam was exemplary, capturing Bizet’s red hot vibrancy, electrifying energy and melting expressiveness to the absolute full, proving that the beating heart of any opera emanates from the notes on the page."
Ken Walton, Vox Carnyx

"Dane Lam and the orchestra laid a lively musical foundation."
Andrew Clark, Opera Magazine

"The Orchestra of Scottish Opera is wonderfully responsive under Dane Lam’s baton. He coaxes glorious colours and timbres out of Bizet’s very well-known score, with the Intermezzo which opens Act III appearing as a real highlight."
Lorna Murray, West End Best Friend

"The chorus was on sparkling form as usual, and the orchestra, under conductor Dane Lam, fizzed with fiery passion."
Miranda Heggie, The List

"The curtain call on the show’s Edinburgh opening accordingly provided two particularly raucous cheers… the second for a rambunctious, and dynamic orchestra under Dane Lam."
WJ QUinn, The Quintessential Review

"...in purely musical terms, the production is quite excellent. The Orchestra of Scottish Opera is crisp and clear as ever, with Dane Lam’s musical direction fully exploiting Bizet’s rich store of melody and dramatic picture-painting, coupled with an emotional intensity that is quite astonishing for pre-verismoopera."
Donal Hurley, Edinburgh Music Review

Carmen is playing across Scotland until the 17th of June 2023. Find out more and book tickets here.

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