Big Music for Minis
28 September 2016
Scottish Opera presents A Little Bit of Northern Light at the Big Music for Minis festival this weekend.
The festival offers a full weekend of concerts, workshops and creative events for babies, toddlers and children in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
With multiple performances on both Saturday and Sunday (1 and 2 October), A Little Bit of Northern Light is a story for children and families of one lonely lighthouse standing firm against the storms of the North Atlantic tide. Set in the not too distant future, it is an atmospheric tale of Scotland’s past, present and future, told from the perspective of the seas that surround us and the ships that sail in them.
With music by Marion Christie and words by Jane Davidson, this fun show for 4-9 year olds is brought to life by a storyteller, a singer, three musicians and a series of bright and colourful illustrations by Iain Piercy.
The Devil Inside Nominated for UK Theatre Award
15 September 2016
Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales’s The Devil Inside is nominated in the Achievement in Opera category at the UK Theatre Awards 2016.
The new full-length opera, created by critically acclaimed novelist Louise Welsh and renowned composer Stuart MacRae, had its world premiere in Scotland in January before touring the UK and to Toronto, Canada.
Co-commissioned and co-produced by Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales, The Devil Inside continued the creative partnership of Welsh and MacRae, which began with the 15-minute opera Remembrance Day (2009), as part of Scottish Opera’s Five: 15 Operas Made in Scotland project. Their second collaboration for Scottish Opera was the South Bank Sky Arts Award-winning and Olivier Award nominated Ghost Patrol (2012).
In the Achievement in Opera category, The Devil Inside is up against The Royal Opera and Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s 4.48 Psychosis and Welsh National Opera’s Figaro Gets a Divorce and In Parenthesis.
The UK Theatre Awards are the only nationwide awards to honour outstanding achievement in regional theatre throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The 2016 Awards will be presented on Sunday 9 October at Guildhall, London.
Community Choir Autumn Rehearsals Begin
14 September 2016
Scottish Opera’s Community Choir begins its Autumn rehearsals this evening (Wednesday 14 September) in the Education Rooms at Theatre Royal Glasgow from 7.30-9.00pm.
With a mixed repertoire including opera, classical, gospel, popular, folk and world music, the Community Choir is free to join, open to adults of all ages and no experience is necessary.
Katy Lavinia Cooper takes over from Frances Morrison-Allen as Choir Leader. Frances led the choir since its inception in 2012, but has decided to pass the baton on due to other work commitments. Formerly Education Manager for Outreach at Scottish Opera, Katy is currently Director of Chapel Music at Glasgow University and also conducts the Choral Society and Glasgow Madrigirls among other choirs.
During her time at Scottish Opera, Katy composed the music for KidO, an interactive show for 3-4 year olds which built on the success of BabyO and SensoryO, Scottish Opera’s much-loved productions for babies and toddlers.
The Community Choir Autumn rehearsals will culminate with an informal sharing for friends and family in the Rankine Hall at Scottish Opera’s Elmbank Crescent offices on Wednesday 30 November at 8pm.
For more information, click here.
UK’s First Dementia Friendly Opera Performance
31 August 2016
Scottish Opera and Festival Theatre Edinburgh present the UK’s first Dementia Friendly opera performance at the Festival Theatre on Saturday 12 November 2016 at 3pm.
Scottish Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro runs at Festival Theatre Edinburgh from Wednesday 9 to Saturday 19 November 2016. As a part of this run, the dementia friendly performance is a specially abridged version of Mozart’s classic, with a running time of 1 hour 45 minutes including an interval. Carefully designed to make the theatrical experience more accessible to those living with dementia, sound and lighting levels are adjusted and the wonderful cast is joined onstage by a narrator.
In the dementia friendly performance, the role of Figaro is performed by former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Andrew McTaggart, who is joined by Lucy Hall as Susanna, Pauls Putnins as Count Almaviva, Marie McLaughlin as Marcellina and Emma Kerr, a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist, as Cherubino. The narrator is Allan Dunn, and Timothy Burke conducts.
This landmark event builds on Scottish Opera’s existing work with those living with dementia. Since 2010, the Company’s Education and Outreach Department has run the Memory Spinners programme in Glasgow, which uses music, storytelling, movement and the visual arts to help people with dementia and their carers relax and get creative. The successful programme will extend to Edinburgh this Autumn with workshops and performances at the Festival Theatre.
For more information, see the full press release here.
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.