Our History

Scottish Opera is founded by Sir Alexander Gibson. The new company’s first production is Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, performed at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow.


Così fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart opens in Perth, with a cast including Janet Baker and Elizabeth Harwood.


The lease is acquired of 39 Elmbank Crescent in Glasgow, which provides rehearsal and office space. The Company takes Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring to Florence's prestigious Maggio Musicale festival.


Performances of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow.


The Company purchases the Theatre Royal in Hope Street, Glasgow, since 1957 the home of Scottish Television, and after extensive refurbishment it opens in 1975. Under the guidance of Sir Alexander Gibson and Peter Hemmings, General Administrator, Scottish Opera forges a considerable reputation for distinguished productions, including Hector Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger.



Scottish Opera won the Evening Standard Award for Opera for its first season in the restored Theatre Royal Glasgow.


The Company took a concert performance of its production of Falstaff to the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.


Performances of Jenufa, the first of an acclaimed cycle of Janácek operas co-produced with Welsh National Opera, conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong and directed by David Pountney, that continued with Kátya Kabanová (1979), The Cunning Little Vixen (1987), The Makropoulos Case (1981) and From the House of the Dead (1987).


The cast of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus includes Scottish comedian Billy Connolly as the gaoler Frosch.


The Orchestra of Scottish Opera is formed.


Richard Mantle (former Deputy Managing Director of English National Opera) becomes Managing Director.


American conductor John Mauceri is appointed Music Director, with Sir Alexander Gibson becoming the Company’s first Conductor Laureate.


Scottish Opera gives complete performances of Berlioz's Les Troyens at the Royal Opera House, London, and presents the world première of Scottish composer Judith Weir’s opera The Vanishing Bridegroom.


Richard Jarman is appointed Managing Director.


The 30th anniversary of Scottish Opera. Sir Richard Armstrong succeeds John Mauceri as Music Director.


The Company performs Britten's Peter Grimes and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde in Lisbon.


World première of James MacMillan’s Inés de Castro at the Edinburgh International Festival.


Purpose-built Production Studios open at Edington Street, Glasgow.

The Theatre Royal auditorium is refurbished.


Barclays TMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for productions of Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth and Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier.


Verdi's Macbeth is performed at the Vienna International Festival.


Chris Barron is appointed Chief Executive.


European première of MacMillan’s Inés de Castro in Porto, Portugal.


Barclays TMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for Wagner's Die Walküre and Siegfried.


Five complete performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Edinburgh International Festival, Theatre Royal Glasgow and The Lowry, Salford Quays.


South Bank Show Award for Best Opera for The Ring Cycle.


Herald Angel Award for John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer at the Edinburgh International Festival.


Alex Reedijk is appointed General Director.


Francesco Corti is appointed Music Director.


Five:15, short new operas by Scottish-based artists, is launched.
First appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, with Cinderella.
Herald Angel Award for The Two Widows at the Edinburgh International Festival.


Our 2007 production of Lucia di Lammermoor is presented at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia, starring Anna Netrebko.



Director Kally Lloyd-Jones wins a Herald Angel Award for The Seven Deadly Sins.



The Company performs world premieres of The Lady from the Sea and In the Locked Room & Ghost Patrol at the Edinburgh International Festival. The Scottish premiere of Clemency is performed.


Herald Angel Award for The Lady from the Sea at the Edinburgh International Festival.



Emmanuel Joel-Hornak is appointed Music Director.


In the Locked Room & Ghost Patrol are nominated in the Outstanding Achievement in

Opera category at The Olivier Awards.


Ghost Patrol wins a Southbank Sky Arts Award for Opera.


The Magic Flute is nominated in the Best Costume Designer category at the International Opera Awards.


The 50th Anniversary tour is shortlisted at the International Opera Awards, and wins The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre at the UK Theatre Awards.



Sir Thomas Allen is appointed Music Adviser.


Stuart Stratford is appointed Music Director.


Past Operas

Find out more about the many productions we have created over the years.