While an Autumn tour of Opera Highlights usually sees four singers and a pianist travelling the length and breadth of Scotland, this year’s online production is a celebration of opera, music and performance in the time of social distancing.
The digital production of Opera Highlights, filmed in the theatre of The Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, will be available to audiences across Scotland and beyond on Scottish Opera’s website on Sunday 25 October at 6pm, which coincides with World Opera Day.
With a playlist of operatic classics curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark, pianist Susannah Wapshott will be joined on stage by Scottish Opera’s 2020/21 Emerging Artist singers: soprano Catriona Hewitson, mezzo-soprano Margo Arsane, tenor Shengzhi Ren and baritone Arthur Bruce. They’ll be singing some familiar favourites from La traviata and Carmen, along with pieces by Gilbert & Sullivan, Mozart, and Léhar.
Director Rosie Purdie, who recently directed The Diary of One Who Disappeared as part of this year’s Lammermuir Festival, looks at the current challenges facing performers in the time of Covid-19 and the strange new practises required in life and on stage, with the four singers delighted to be performing live for the first time since lockdown, even if it means embracing the 3m social distancing required at this time. A determined organiser struggles to make sure everyone follows the rules, a disorganised singer and social distancing get in the way of flourishing romances, make way for a fun and relevant production of this year’s Opera Highlights.
Opera Highlights Director Rosie Purdie said: ‘At this time I wanted this production of Opera Highlights to feel bright and merry, provide a few much-needed laughs, and exhibit some wonderful music. Four different singers come together to sing on the stage for the first time in many months. The cast and everyone backstage have worked extremely hard against the odds, embracing the restrictions and the distancing to create a colourful show designed to make you smile.’
Scottish Opera General Director Alex Reedjik said: 'While this year’s production is taking a different form to our usual tour, I am delighted that we are able to continue our much acclaimed productions of Opera Highlights in these times, through this film. We look forward to a time when we take this tour to venues right across Scotland, hopefully soon, and that in the meantime this film will be a welcome diversion.'
The film will be available from 6pm on Sunday 25 October on the Scottish Opera Youtube channel and website.