Michael Mori on The Devil Inside A scene from The Devil Inside at Scottish Opera. Photo by Bill Cooper.

Michael Mori on The Devil Inside

Jenna Simeonov

The Devil Inside tells the story of a bottle, inside which is everything you could ever want, yet which can only be sold for less than the price you paid for it. In a Faust-like version of “hot potato”, the person who dies while in possession of the bottle has their soul shipped straight to hell. The compelling story by Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Bottle Imp, and it had it world premiere in January at Scottish Opera.

The opera is a co-commission and co-production with both Music Theatre Wales and Tapestry Opera, and the entire cast, creative team, and orchestra tours across Great Britain before heading to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre Theatre for three performances, March 10-13. Tapestry Opera’s Artistic Director, Michael Mori talks about the opera and its unprecedented reception at its Scottish Opera premiere. Toronto is certainly in for a treat. For details and ticket information for The Devil Inside, follow our box office links below.

What can people expect from The Devil Inside?

Spoiler: There is no Mel Gibson in this Scottish story…but you can expect great singing and a tasty, multi-layered provocative drama. It is the kind of piece that works at every level—an emotive human story filled with provocative symbolism. Stuart MacRae’s music is truly spellbinding. It both captures the heart of sung lyricism and creates an orchestral world that evokes the supernatural. What surprised me the most was the delicate nuance of language that writer Louise Welsh and composer Stuart crafted for their singers. Every single word was elegant and crystal clear—allowing me to be swept along in the drama.

How did you find the audience reception when you saw the opera at Scottish Opera?

It was amazing! I saw this piece at the 1400-seat Theatre Royal, and the audience reacted to it with a kind of electric connection. I found out later from Alex Reedijk, the General Director of Scottish Opera, that this was their largest ever audience for a new opera. At the end of the show everyone was on their feet, giving a standing ovation (notably much rarer in the UK than in Canada). Interestingly, they were fully engaged in debating the little mysteries of the work at intermission and after the show.

The Devil Inside 2016 - Nicholas Sharratt and Steven Page - photo credit - Bill Cooper.

Is this collaborative project a departure from Tapestry’s long history of Canadian content?

Absolutely, but I would say that it is an arrival more than a departure. Occasionally welcoming international artists and works can stimulate and inform the creativity of Canadian artists. Tapestry is also committed to more international touring of Canadian artists and works in the future, so it’s a fair exchange. Our mandate to cultivate Canadian artists and works is unchanged, and over the next few years it will be even stronger with more new commissions, productions, and bold explorations into cross-genre works.

Why are you excited about The Devil Inside?

I remember being completely exhilarated after a performance of Lucia di Lammermoor about 15 years ago, filled with the need to sing, study literature, and in general be a better person…because something truly magical had touched me. There is magic coming to Toronto, all the way from Scotland, and Tapestry has the privilege to host and present it in the kind of intimate setting that pulls audiences into the world of the show in a way that a two thousand seat theatre cannot.

That’s why…and I may also have multiple excuses to raise a glass of Scotch in the course of a week. Not so bad!

For full details and ticket information for The Devil Inside, follow our box office links below.

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