No Mean Festivity – Taggart Star Tells Seasonal Tale

Award-winning actor Blythe Duff narrates Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman for this season’s RSNO’s Christmas Concerts

Blythe Duff, famed globally for her portrayal of Detective Inspector Jackie Reid in Scottish Television’s police drama Taggart, will join the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) in December, narrating the classic story of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, as part of this year’s RSNO Christmas Concerts.

The Orchestra takes its popular RSNO Christmas Concerts – now firmly ensconced as a traditional seasonal event – to the Music Hall, Aberdeen (Thursday 18 December, 7.30pm); the Caird Hall, Dundee (Friday 19 December, 7.30pm); the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (Saturday 20 December, 2.00pm & 6.00pm), and to the Usher Hall, Edinburgh (Sunday 21 December, 3.00pm). Led by conductor Christopher Bell, the Orchestra will perform Howard Blake’s iconic soundtrack synchronised with the screening of the animated film, with vocal soloists for the famous ballad Walking in the Air drawn from the RSNO’s own Junior Chorus. The concerts also feature well-known festive musical favourites, audience participation, the voices of the RSNO Chorus or Junior Chorus, and a few surprises.

Blythe Duff:
"It will be a joy to work with the RSNO again. Our paths have crossed many times over the years. I’ve also enjoyed working with the extremely talented conductor Christopher Bell in the past, so I’m very much looking forward to these concerts. The Snowman is such a wonderful tale, and to narrate the story along with the animation and full symphonic backing will be a memorable experience.

Following 2014’s festivities, on Friday 2 January 2015 the Orchestra welcomes audiences to a new year at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, for the matinee performance of Handel’s Messiah (3.00pm), with historical performance exponent Laurence Cummings joined onstage by soprano Sophie Bevan, mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson, tenor Allan Clayton, baritone George Humphreys and the RSNO Chorus.

To round off the seasonal programming, RSNO Assistant Conductor Jean-Claude Picard and soprano Natalya Romaniw present Viennese Gala at Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline (Saturday 3 January, 7.30pm); the Buccleuch Centre, Langholm (Sunday 4 January, 7.30pm); at Perth Concert Hall (Wednesday 7 January, 7.30pm), and at Eden Court, Inverness (Thursday 8 January, 8.00pm). For more information please visit www.rsno.org.uk.

RSNO Work Experience: Chris Wesley, Dunblane High School, Dunblane, Stirlingshire

For the past three days I’ve been at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra gaining valuable insight into the management of an orchestra. The main focus of my short time here has been to create graphics and posts using the social networking site Tumblr for next year’s Springfest, a festival of music in Dundee. I’ve hugely improved my skills in programs such as Photoshop and created promotional graphics and information to inform the public of concerts during the festival.

I also sat in on an improvisation workshop from musicians of the RSNO. It was incredibly interesting to listen to such unique styles of playing and how each instrument blends together to create beautiful sounding harmonies and rhythms all whilst even the musicians are out of their comfort zone as improvisation is rarely used in their repertoire.

On my last day, I listened to a rehearsal for the St Andrew’s Party concert with Scottish duo Phil & Aly. This was great to listen to as traditional Scottish music wasn’t a style I was very familiar with. It also included students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a drummer, which was quite unique.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at the RSNO and everyone I’ve met has been very friendly and welcoming. I know if I decide to try a career in music or in orchestra management there are great opportunities available such as apprenticeships here at the RSNO.