The Elixir of Love Rehearsals Begin Today!

18 August 2016

The cast, musicians and creative team of Scottish Opera’s new touring production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love arrive today to begin rehearsals.


The Company’s Music Director, Stuart Stratford, conducts the first six performances of the 17-date tour, before passing the baton to Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, for the remaining dates.


British director Oliver Platt and designer Oliver Townsend (Rodelinda 2013) join forces to bring this sunny comedy to life. They take their inspiration from the world of P.G. Wodehouse in a cheeky show with its tongue firmly in its cheek.


The cast includes Ellie Laugharne (The Pirates of Penzance 2013), Welsh tenor Elgan Llyr Thomas, winner of 2015’s prestigious Stuart Burrows International Voice Award, and acclaimed baritone James Cleverton. Five players from The Orchestra of Scottish Opera will accompany the singers in a new instrumental arrangement by Derek Clark.


Kicking off in Motherwell on Wednesday 21 September, the team then travel to smaller venues in Stirling, Elgin, Ullapool, Stornoway, Thurso, Drumnadrochit, Ellon, Langholm, Newton Stewart, Kilmarnock, Greenock, Oban, St. Andrews, Perth, Galashiels and Musselburgh.


To book tickets or find out more click here.


Aberdeen International Youth Festival

4 August 2016

Working together for the first time, Scottish Opera Connect Company and Opera North Youth Chorus join forces to present a double-bill of Kurt Weill operas at Aberdeen International Youth Festival tomorrow (Friday 5 August).


The youth companies are teaming up for two staged performances of composer Kurt Weill’s pioneering operas Down in the Valley and Der Jasager at 4pm and 8pm in Queen’s Cross Church. Music for the performances will be provided by the Scottish Opera Connect Orchestra.


Jane Davidson, Director of Outreach and Education at Scottish Opera said: ‘The Connect Company is proud to be making its first appearance at AIYF. With a membership of young people from across Scotland, we have always been very well served by participants hailing from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and we’re delighted that some of our members have the opportunity to show their home town their achievements as part of Scotland’s only youth opera company.’


Stewart Aitken, Artistic Director of AIYF said: ‘Opera is at the core of the Youth Festival’s programming, and we are so pleased that these two leading organisations are working together to stage what is set to be a spectacular and thrilling event.’


Taking place over nine days, from Friday 29 July to Saturday 6 August, Aberdeen International Youth Festival celebrates young performers through a variety of shows, gala events and workshops in both the city centre and Aberdeenshire.


For more information on this collaborative opera project, click here.


Fife Sing 2016

29 July 2016

Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Hazel McBain and Emma Kerr, and Scottish Opera répétiteur Susannah Wapshott, will take part in Fife Youth Arts’ Fife Sing 2016 festival in Kirkcaldy this Saturday (30 July).


Between 10am and 4pm, there will be a variety of events taking place across Fife for people of all ages to come along and enjoy. The Scottish Opera team are leading a morning workshop in the Old Kirk Trust in preparation for a 3pm performance in Kirkcaldy’s town square, where members of the public will form a community chorus and join the Scottish Opera team to perform Handel’s ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus.


Soprano Hazel McBain and mezzo-soprano Emma Kerr will also treat the audience to a few solo performances, as well as the duets ‘Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour’ from Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann and ‘Aprite, presto aprite’ from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.


Sir David McVicar Wins Helpmann Award

27 July 2016

Acclaimed Scottish director Sir David McVicar, who works regularly with Scottish Opera – most recently on The Rake's Progress (2012) – wins the Best Direction of an Opera Award at the 16th Annual Helpmann Awards in Australia.


From an impressive shortlist including Michael Gow, Cameron Menzies and Laurence Dale, McVicar scooped the award for his 2015 production of The Marriage of Figaro for Opera Australia. The Awards Ceremony took place at The Sydney Lyric Theatre on Monday 25 July.


Established in 2001, the annual Helpmann Awards recognise distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in Australia's live performance disciplines, including musical theatre, contemporary music, comedy, cabaret, opera, classical music, theatre, dance and physical theatre.


Sir David McVicar makes a welcome return to Scottish Opera in February 2017 to direct a new production of Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande. For more information, click here.


Connect Gateway Summer Residency

25 July 2016

Scottish Opera’s Connect Gateway participants – aspiring young singers between the ages of 14 and 21 – are taking part in a summer residency this week ahead of an informal sharing on Friday (29 July).


The Connect Gateway residency is a training week for young singers auditioning to become members of the Connect Chorus. The jam-packed week allows the 16 participants to learn about opera as an art form and what it takes to put together a production.


The singers will be treated to various specialist workshops - vocal health sessions with Christopher Breckenridge, a wardrobe workshop with Scottish Opera’s Head of Costume John Liddell, a design workshop with Kirsty McCabe and a movement and dance workshop with Steinvor Palsson. The chorus will also receive individual singing lessons with former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Andrew McTaggart, and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate Charlotte Hoather.


On Friday evening, participants will perform extracts from Bizet’s Carmen, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Verdi’s Macbeth for family and friends.


Connect at ISME Conference 2016

21 July 2016

Scottish Opera’s Connect Company – for young singers and orchestral players aged between 14 and 21 – performs a 15-minute excerpt from its acclaimed production, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, at the International Society for Music Education conference this Sunday (24 July).


The 32nd ISME World Conference is taking place in Glasgow from 24-29 July, with the Connect Company’s performance part of the Opening Ceremony at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.


The Connect Company members will be joined by two singers from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glen Cunningham and Charlotte Hoather.


The Cabinet of Dr Caligari was specially written by composer Karen MacIver and librettist Allan Dunn for the Connect Company. Based on the 1920s German horror film Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari, it tells a darkly gothic tale of murder, mystery and mayhem.


The Connect Company offers aspiring young singers and musicians a unique introduction to the skills needed to perform opera. The members attend workshops throughout the year with guidance from some of Scotland’s top opera professionals.


On Sunday morning, before the ISME conference performance, the Connect Company will be singing off their Patron, tenor Nicky Spence, as he embarks on a sponsored cycle from Glasgow to London in aid of Help Musicians UK.


Catherine Wilson

15 July 2016

Catherine Wilson, a popular Scottish soprano who worked extensively with Scottish Opera from 1966 to 1987, has sadly passed away.


Born in Glasgow in 1936, Catherine had a long and varied operatic career. She made her first appearance with Scottish Opera in the spring of 1966, as Nancy in Albert Herring and Ortlinde in Die Walküre.


She was particularly associated with the operas of Benjamin Britten, having first worked with the composer at Aldeburgh in 1964. With Scottish Opera, she performed the roles of Governess in The Turn of the Screw, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia and Tadzio’s Mother in Death in Venice.


Among her most-loved appearances were Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, the latter of which she performed at the opening of Theatre Royal Glasgow in 1975.


She created two roles with the Company, Fulvia in Iain Hamilton’s The Catiline Conspiracy (1974) and the title role in Thea Musgrave’s Mary, Queen of Scots (1977).


Catherine was married to Leonard Hancock, former Head of Music at Scottish Opera, who passed away in 1999.


Catherine Wilson as Hanna Glawari and Marco Bakker as

Danilo in Scottish Opera's The Merry Widow 1973.

Credit Bob Anderson.


Scottish Opera to Visit Liverpool

14 July 2016

In January 2017, Scottish Opera will visit Liverpool for the first time in 27 years, with Sir Thomas Allen’s hit production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.


The great British baritone makes a welcome return to the Company to revive his much-loved production, the first Scottish Opera has taken to Liverpool since February 1990.


Featuring beautiful period designs by Simon Higlett, this timeless comedy of social revolution and change will visit Liverpool’s Empire Theatre for two performances only, on 5 and 7 January 2017.


Sir Thomas Allen said: ‘It has been some years since Scottish Opera was represented in Liverpool and certainly some years since I was here as a performer. So it is with particular pleasure that I'm able to join the company as director in this return with, arguably, the greatest masterpiece in the operatic repertoire.’


For more information on The Marriage of Figaro, click here.


Scottish Opera Scoops Culture Award

8 July 2016

Scottish Opera wins the Best Musical Group award at the Sunday Herald Culture Awards 2016.


From a varied shortlist featuring Federation of the Disco Pimp, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Shooglenifty, Scottish Opera took home the award at a gala evening last night (7 July) at SWG3 in Glasgow.


This major new awards event celebrates the best of Scotland's artistic scene and aims to recognise the national and international success being achieved by artists across all genres. The judges included author and playwright Alan Bissett, television and stage actor David Hayman, singer songwriter Roddy Woomble and leading graphic designer and creative director at Graven, Janice Kirkpatrick. The judging panel was chaired by Sunday Herald editor and author Neil Mackay.


BBC Music Magazine’s Opera Choice

6 July 2016

Scottish Opera’s live performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, recorded at last year’s Edinburgh International Festival by Linn Records, is selected as BBC Music Magazine’s Opera Choice for August.


The one-off, sold-out concert performance featured a sterling cast including renowned English tenors John Mark Ainsley and Toby Spence. Comedy legend Tim Brooke-Taylor narrated the seafaring romp and Richard Egarr conducted The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.


BBC Music Magazine gives both the performance and the recording 4 stars and states that ‘Baroque specialist Richard Egarr treats Sullivan no less respectfully, bringing similar structural sense and springy energy to the score, and a cast of top-drawer voices headed by Toby Spence’s buoyant Ralph Rackstraw and Elizabeth Watt’s Josephine, with strong top notes and a pleasantly mischievous touch.’


Since the recording’s release in May this year, it has received many rave reviews:


''s light on its feet, and the Scottish Opera Orchestra respond with warmth and grace. It was clearly one of those occasions where everyone plays off each other, and with a cast like this, the results are never less than engaging...' Gramophone


‘Here the Baroque specialist Richard Egarr wields the baton, providing himself a natural for this repertoire: the whole thing bounces and sparkles and smiles, with Scottish Opera’s orchestra playing with the insouciant grace that is such a crucial element of operetta style.’ The Telegraph


For more details and to order a copy, click here.