Johan Engels

11 Nov 2014
We were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of designer Johan Engels.

Scottish Opera’s thoughts are with his family and friends, and we join them and the international opera community in mourning his loss.

Johan had an incredible international career, designing theatre and opera sets for some of the world’s most well-known companies, including in 2013 an extraordinary Magic Flute for Bregenz Festival.

Johan had recently been working with Scottish Opera to design our forthcoming production of Orfeo ed Euridice.


Puffy sets sail

28 October 2014
Scottish Opera have enjoyed taking to the waterways of Scotland with our recent performances of Puffy MacPuffer & the Crabbit Canals.

Commissioned in collaboration with Scottish Canals, the production told the adventures of Puffy, the bold, coal guzzling steam boat, as he sailed with cargo through Scotland’s canals.


Photo Credit Bartosz Madejski


Our Director of Education, Jane Davidson was delighted with the production,

“It was an exciting production which really engaged youngsters through song and music. We wanted to make a show that both entertained and informed youngsters about the key role that the canals played in the social and economic life of Scotland’s past, but which also highlighted the many and varied activities on offer for families visiting the canals in the present day.”


Photo Credit Bartosz Madejski

The production began at the Falkirk Wheel and concluded its tour at the Summerlee Museum in Coatbridge.


Look out for more children’s performances later in our 2014/15 season especially with Mister MacNeep has lost his Sheep!


Cinderella opens

16 October 2014 
Cinderella opened Scottish Opera’s 2014-15 season yesterday and is set to visit Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh after its run in Glasgow.

The title role is sung by Russian mezzo-soprano Victoria Yarovaya, winner of the 2013 Mercedes Viñas Prize.


Victoria Yarovaya as Cinderella - Credit Ken Dundas


Rising Rossini tenor Nico Darmanin sings Ramiro after two successful engagements at the Royal Opera House in 2013-14 (Les Vêpres siciliennes; Die Frau ohne Schatten) and Rebecca Bottone returns to Scottish Opera after her performances in The Pirates of Penzance, 2013.


Nico Darmanin as Ramiro - Credit Ken Dundas


Sandrine Anglade directs, leading a team that is rapidly becoming acknowledged as expert in staging Rossini’s comedies - comprised of designer Claude Chestier, lighting designer Eric Blosse and choreographer Pascaline Verrier.


Nico Darmanin as Don Ramiro, Máire Flavin as Tisbe,
Umberto Chiummo as Don Magnifico, Rebecca Bottone as Clorinda,  
Richard Burkhard as Dandini and Victoria Yarovaya as Cinderella - Credit: Ken Dundas 

Cinderella continues to play at the Theatre Royal until Sat 25th Nov.


Chilling Sell Out As Macbeth Begins

26 September 2014
Scottish Opera’s Macbeth opened last night to a sell out audience at Eastwood Park Theatre.

This revival of Dominic Hill’s 2005 production stays true to the Shakespearean tale of betrayal, murder and power.

The opera chronicles the fatal downfall of Macbeth – urged on by his wife to realise the prophecy of a trio of witches and claim Scotland’s throne.


David Stephenson is reprising his leading role singing Macbeth after a successful run earlier this year.


From the left; Laura – Margaret Smith, Marie Claire Breen and Sarah Shorter
The Three Witches | Credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan


Part of the witches trio Marie Claire Breen returns to Scottish Opera following her successful time as an Emerging Artist for the company in 2010 – 12.


Laura - Margaret Smith, a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist for 2014/15, commences her season with this production.


Tickets are still on sale across all 14 venues.



Macbeth Children Are Ready For The Stage

19 September 2014
With the costumes donned, the lighting fixed and the last notes delivered, today marks not only the final floor run of our wicked revival but is just six days till opening night.


Inspired by the Balkans conflict of the late 1990s, Scottish Opera’s Macbeth is preparing to haunt 15 of Scotland’s smaller venues with David Stephenson singing the title role.


Our Education Team is currently travelling the length of Scotland in advance of the tour, providing opera workshops to school children whilst scouting six participants from each workshop to be included in their local performance.



 Photo credit: Kevin McGarry


Participants from Netherlee Primary School in Giffnock ( pictured above) were yesterday rehearsing their final scenes with the main cast in what’s shaping up to be an unforgettable performance.


Tickets are still available across all performances.


Scottish Opera welcomes Emerging Artists for 2014/15 Season

5 September 2014 

We’re delighted to welcome this season’s group of new Emerging Artists to our team.

The scheme gives talented young artists a period of full-time work with the Company to help them launch their careers.

ou can hear our Emerging Artist singers performing in several of our operas this season, including Jenůfa and Macbeth. They will also be performing at two recitals during the year.


Who are the Emerging Artists?
Born in Winchester and a graduate of the Royal College of Music, your first chance to see soprano Rosalind Coad will be in La Cenerentola Unwrapped from the 22nd October.


Left to right:
Soojeong Joo, Laura Margaret Smith, Lliam Paterson and Rosalind Coad


Mezzo-soprano Laura Margaret Smith is a winner of the Making Music Young Concert Artist Award as well as a recent graduate of the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Laura is currently in rehearsal for her role as a witch in Verdi’s Macbeth, which will tour to smaller venues throughout Scotland this Autumn.


Fresh from a spell with English National Opera as a trainee Repetiteur, New York City School of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama graduate Soojeong Joo is welcomed to the Emerging Artist programme as our Repetiteur.


And recent University of Cambridge Music graduate Lliam Paterson also joins the programme as Composer in Residence for the 2014 /15 season.




Carol Rowlands

18 June 2014

We were sad to hear of the death of mezzo-soprano Carol Rowlands who joined Scottish Opera in 1982 and appeared regularly with the Company throughout the 1980s performing roles in many operas including L’Egisto, My Fair Lady, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, Oberon, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, Iolanthe, Lulu, Death in Venice and Candide.


Early in her solo career she sang the role of Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana for Scottish Opera-go-round (pictured), earning praise from John Higgins in The Times "...Carol Rowlands' powerfully projected Santuzza, giving a proper taste of Mediterranean jealousy. She knows how to act and is to be watched."

After leaving Scottish Opera, she worked with most of the major British companies as well as in Europe and the USA.



Cavalleria Rusticana (1989)

L-R (back row): Alex Morrison, Peter Thomson, Adrian Clarke, Sylvia Mitton, Colin McKerracher

(front): Carol Rowlands


Exhilarating New Season Announced

14 May 2014

Scottish Opera announces an exhilarating 2014/15 Season of intensely dramatic opera...



Ranging in style and period from Gluck's early opera Orfeo ed Euridice to James MacMillan's visceral modern masterpiece Inés de Castro via Rossini, Verdi and Janáček.


A mainstage season of five operas starts in October, with Sandrine Anglade making her Scottish Opera debut directing Rossini’s La Cenerentola in a new co-production with Opéra national du Rhin. 2015 begins with a new production of James MacMillan’s Inés de Castro, directed by Olivia Fuchs. In February, Ashley Page - former Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet - will direct and choreograph a new production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. The creative team behind 2013’s acclaimed La traviata – director Annilese Miskimmon, designer Nicky Shaw and lighting designer Mark Jonathan – returns to bring Janáček’s Jenůfa to Scottish audiences in April in a new co-production with Den Jyske Opera. And the season comes to a close with a revival of Peter Watson’s 5-star production of Verdi’s grand Il trovatore.



General Director Alex Reedijk said, “Across the Season there are works of passion and intensity that I know will thrill our regular opera-goers, but with such a varied and dramatic programme, I hope we will also continue to see people tempted to come and enjoy opera for the first time.


“A particular highlight for me will be welcoming James MacMillan back to Scottish Opera. It’s a great honour for us that he will conduct Inés de Castro for the first time and that, 19 years after its world premiere, he will take this opportunity to revisit aspects of this important opera. These performances will be genuinely special evenings for Scottish Opera and our audiences.”



Audiences will be treated to a line-up of sought-after singers and conductors, as well as being able to enjoy the talents of artists nurtured in Scotland. The exciting array of conductors in the pit and on the concert stage includes: Marco Guidarini, William Lacey, James MacMillan, Kenneth Montgomery, Stuart Stratford, Tobias Ringborg, Michael Christie, Jean Luc Tingaud and former Scottish Opera Music Director Francesco Corti.


La Cenerentola sees Victoria Yarovaya – winner of the 2013 Mercedes Viñas Prize – singing Angelina, alongside soprano Rebecca Bottone and baritone Richard Burkhard. British stars Peter Wedd, Stephanie Corley, Susannah Glanville and Brindlay Sherratt join Paul Carey Jones in Inés de Castro while Caitlin Hulcup returns to Scottish Opera to sing the title role of Orfeo. In April, Lee Bisset – lauded for her Kátya at Longborough in 2012 – will sing Jenůfa while Kathryn Harries will perform one of her most acclaimed roles singing Kostelnička. In the season finale, Roland Wood, Anne Mason, Matthew Best, and leading British Soprano Claire Rutter join renowned Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones when they take to the stage for Il trovatore.


The full season will feature 125 performances of 13 titles, visiting a total of 44 venues across Scotland, including 10 new productions, 3 world premieres, 2 co-productions and the Company’s unique contribution to the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, the world premiere of family opera Anamchara – Songs of Friendship. With a libretto from Scottish novelist Alexander McCall Smith this specially commissioned show will feature a multi-cultural cast of over 120 performers including young professional singers and musicians from Scotland, India, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Botswana, as well as Scottish Opera’s Connect Chorus and Orchestra and a community choir of adults, children and students from Commonwealth countries living and working in Glasgow.


In the Autumn, Dominic Hill’s contemporary and unsettling production of Verdi’s Macbeth returns to tour 15 of Scotland’s smaller venues. This piano-accompanied production features two former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists, Shuna Scott Sendall and Marie Claire Breen alongside David Stephenson, reprising his Spring 2014 performance in the title role. In its 21st year of touring, Opera Highlights will visit a further 17 even smaller or more remote venues.

The Orchestra of Scottish Opera will continue its popular St Andrew’s in the Square concert series, this year in four concerts designed to showcase the talents of principal players in the orchestra and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist singers who have gone on to launch successful careers. In addition, a series of recitals will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley Novels, with a programme drawn from the many operas they have inspired. Singers Judith Howarth, Michael Colvin and Roland Wood will perform in four of Scotland’s most beautiful venues including Scott’s own home – Abbotsford House – on 7 July, the anniversary of the publication of Waverley itself.


As previously announced, throughout the 2014-15 Season, world-famous baritone and opera director Sir Thomas Allen will be working with the Company as Music Adviser, giving high level input and advice on musical and artistic matters while the process of recruiting a Music Director continues.


The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme, which nurtures young operatic talent through a period of full-time work with the Company, goes from strength to strength, with soprano Sian Winstanley and mezzo Laura Margaret Smith joining the programme alongside director Lissa Lorenzo and costume trainee Charlotte Campbell.


The Company's education and outreach activities continue to bring opera to new audiences across Scotland. Alongside long-running core activities such as touring to primary schools, there will be a new Christmas show for 3-5 year olds, Mister MacNeep has lost his Sheep!, as well as the world premiere of KidO – a musical adventure for 3-4 year olds, which builds on the worldwide success of BabyO and SensoryO. Scottish Opera’s Connect Company – young singers and players aged between 14-21 – will perform alongside professional singers to present a double bill of short operas for family audiences: Jonathan Dove’s The Walk from the Garden & Stephen Deazley’s Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow.





Madama Butterfly – Reviews, Photos and More!

12 May 2014
‘Stylish’, ‘fresh and arresting’, ‘a great production’ – first reviews are in for Madama Butterfly.


You can now read extracts of what the critics are saying about the production.


There's plenty more to discover about this production at


You can see pictures of the production, as well as listen to soprano Hye-Youn Lee talking about taking on the iconic role of Cio-Cio San, and even make your own origami butterfly!


And to listen to extracts of the opera, as well as ticket and tour information, head straight to the Madama Butterfly page.




Take A Look Inside Opera

8 May 2014

Seven of the UK’s opera companies have joined forces to produce Inside Opera: Live. 


Inside Opera: Live is a unique online event offering unprecedented behind the scenes access and insight into the opera being created and performed in theatres across the country.


In a collaboration, the scope of which is a first for the arts, the Companies – English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Northern Ireland Opera, Opera North, The Royal Opera, Scottish Opera, and Welsh National Opera – will come together on Saturday 10 May 2014, from 2pm to 6pm, as part of a Europe-wide celebration of opera.


Designed for anyone who is new to opera, but with obvious appeal for opera fans, this ambitious event will be hosted on YouTube. It combines live streamed and filmed footage to give viewers a chance to experience opera across the UK from the inside, and encourages them to find out about the opera activity on their doorstep.


Inside Opera: Live will be presented by Kirsten O’Brien from the Grand Theatre in Leeds, as Opera North prepares for matinee and evening performances of Puccini’s La bohème.


The four hour online event will air specially commissioned behind the scenes films from all the participating companies, live interviews with singers and directors, and live links to rehearsals, backstage and community-based activities. In the course of a packed afternoon, viewers will have the chance to hear from performers just before they go on stage; find out how a singer prepares for a new role; meet the people behind an opera production and learn what they do; see what it takes to make and take an opera out on tour; and understand the skill that goes into making a period costume.


Throughout the event there will also be the opportunity using #insideopera to put questions live via Twitter to the companies’ artistic directors, and composer Errollyn Wallen will be taking real time tweets from audience members and making them into a brand new aria to be performed at the end of the day.


Opera productions on stage in the UK on European Opera Days weekend include some of the best loved works in the repertoire, such as Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute, Puccini’s Tosca, La bohème and Madama Butterfly, and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.