Scottish Opera Shortlisted For Two RPS Awards
15 April 2014
We are thrilled to announce that Scottish Opera is shortlisted for two Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Awards.
The 50 venues for 50 years Tour appears in the Audiences & Engagement category, while Breath Cycle: Singing and Cystic Fibrosis is up for the Learning and Participation Award.
The 50th Anniversary touring of La traviata and Opera Highlights saw Scottish Opera embark on its biggest ever tour of Scotland, bringing high quality performances of opera to some of the most remote and far-flung communities in the country. The shows travelled 4,967 miles to deliver 51 performances to 11,726 audience members. The touring also helped to bring a Scottish Opera performance within a 30-minute drive of 90% of Scotland’s population across the 2012/13 season.
Elin Pritchard as Violetta in the touring production
of La traviata.
Breath Cycle is a participation and research project which signals that learning classical singing techniques could improve the wellbeing of cystic fibrosis patients. Scottish Opera worked with patients from Gartnavel Hospital, many of whom were new to singing, to provide one-to-one singing lessons, video tutorials and opportunities to interact online with fellow participants. Scottish Opera’s Composer in Residence Gareth Williams wrote singing exercises exploring the limits and possibilities for those with more fragile voices, and songs reflecting the challenges faced by those with cystic fibrosis. The songs, exercises and tutorials are now shared on interactive website www.breathcycle.com as a resource for cystic fibrosis patients, music and medical professionals or anyone who’d like to give singing a go.
Resources from Breath Cycle can be found at
General Director of Scottish Opera Alex Reedijk said ‘It’s a real honour for us to be shortlisted in these two categories, and I would like to extend my thanks and congratulations to all those involved in these two inspirational projects.’
The Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Awards, presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music and musical excellence in the United Kingdom.
Awards in 13 categories are chosen by eminent independent juries from the music profession and are unique in the breadth of musical achievement they span – from performers, composers and inspirational arts organisations to learning, participation and engagement. The list of winners since 1989 reads as a roll call of the finest living musicians. This year’s awards are for achievement in the UK during 2013.
Winners will be announced at the RPS Music Awards ceremony on Tuesday 13 May, with a special RPS Music Awards programme broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 18 May at 10pm.
Sir Thomas Allen Appointed As Music Adviser
10 April 2014
World-famous baritone Sir Thomas Allen has been appointed Music Adviser to Scottish Opera.
He will provide high level input and advice on musical and artistic matters while the Company continues the process of recruiting a Music Director.
A graduate of the Royal College of Music, Sir Thomas made his performing debut at the Royal Opera House in 1971 and quickly became world-renowned for his portrayal of the great lyric baritone roles, in particular for the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
Greatly in demand on the international concert stage, extensive recordings have been made of his work many of which are regarded as definitive. In 1999, he was awarded a Knighthood for services to opera. He made his opera directing debut in 2003 with Britten’s Albert Herring for the Royal College of Music, and has gone on to form a close association with Scottish Opera in recent years, directing four critically acclaimed productions: Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Mozart’s trio of masterpieces The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni.
Sir Thomas Allen at work at Scottish Opera
At the beginning of 2014, he became only the ninth person to be awarded a Queen’s Medal for Music, an honour recognising outstanding contribution to the musical life of Great Britain.
Scottish Opera General Director Alex Reedijk said ‘Tom is a master of the artform and a talented musician and his phenomenal experience in the world of opera - singing, teaching and directing - will be a great asset to the Company.
'The work he has done with us over the last seven years means he has an invaluable insight and understanding of Scottish Opera and I am looking forward to working with him in this new role.’
Sir Thomas Allen said ‘For some time over the past few years, working with Scottish Opera in a directorial capacity has allowed me to confirm a lot of what I'd already suspected. There is, both in the head office at Elmbank and my regular place of work in the rehearsal studio, a spirit and willingness to collaborate that is hard to find anywhere. I've loved being a part of that feeling and it makes me very happy to accept an advisory position with the company and to play a part in its future.’
Sir Thomas Allen in rehearsal for Don Giovanni
In addition to his international career in opera, Sir Thomas is Chancellor of Durham University, and Patron of Samling Academy, which identifies and nurtures the talents of emerging classical musicians from or studying in the North East of England.
Tickets Now on Sale for Anamchara
7 April 2014
You can now buy tickets for Anamchara – Songs of Friendship, our new family opera being performed as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.
With words from acclaimed Scottish novelist Alexander McCall Smith and music from composer Pippa Murphy, the opera is based on themes of friendship and the ties that bind people together, whatever their age and wherever they make their home. Seven songs symbolising seven different kinds of friendship take you from day to night and through the circle of life – from childhood to teenagers in love and from adulthood to the golden years of life.
A celebration of different cultures, Anamchara – Songs of Friendship will feature a multi-cultural cast of over 100 performers including young professional singers and musicians from Scotland, India, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Scottish Opera’s Connect Chorus and Orchestra, and a community choir made up of children, adults and students from Commonwealth countries, living and working in Glasgow.
The world premiere performance will take place on Friday 25 July at 6.30pm in the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, followed by 2 shows on Saturday 26 July and 2 shows on Sunday 27 July.
Tickets are £6 each, but there are discounts for family bookings.
John Scott Award 2014
27 March 2014
Tenor Paul Curievici is this year’s winner of the John Scott Award.
The award of £2,000 was set up by the late John Scott – who was an avid supporter of Scottish Opera – to help young artists further their career.
A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Paul is currently on tour with Opera Highlights, and recently sang with Scottish Opera in American Lulu and In the Locked Room.
Paul said ‘It's fantastic that the company supports and encourages young singers like this, and the award will make a real difference to my development over the next year - funding singing lessons, coachings, and audition trips that might otherwise be beyond my means.’
Paul (left) in action in the current Opera Highlights tour, with
Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Andrew McTaggart.
Image by Colin Hattersley.
Previous winners of the award include Ruth Jenkins-Robertsson, Teuta Koço, Patrick Ashcroft, Kate Valentine and Claire Rutter.
To find out how you could support Scottish Opera and other young singers follow this link.
Something Wicked This Way Comes...
18 March 2014
Scottish Opera's production of Verdi's Macbeth opens at the Citizens Theatre this Saturday.
The show will be in Glasgow on 22nd, 27th and 29th March, and at Edinburgh's King's Theatre on 8 & 10 April.
Directed by Dominic Hill - current Artistic Director of Glasgow's Citizens Theatre - the production remains true to the Shakespearian tale of betrayal, murder and power, the opera chronicles the fatal downfall of Macbeth - urged by on by his wife to realise the prohecy of a trio of witches and claim Scotland's throne.
Hill’s operatic production, first staged by Scottish Opera in 2005, is inspired by the war-ravaged Balkans of the late 20th Century. Hill and designer Tom Piper have created a dystopia of camouflage-clad leaders and chain-smoking witches to tell the story of civil war and a lust for power.
Director Dominic Hill said 'We wanted to find a contemporary world that could carry the action of Macbeth with civil war and a struggle for power, but which still has a strong religious undercurrent to it. To convey that idea, we’ve taken inspiration from the Balkans conflict of the late 1990s, and of course audiences will recognise the same tragic themes from modern religious conflicts that we still see on the news today.
'But it’s important to say that this isn’t a hi-tech, high-testosterone take on Macbeth – it’s true that the production is influenced by images of the Balkans Conflict, but it also takes inspiration from Russian religious icons and painting.
'The libretto is largely lifted from Shakespeare’s writing, but we’ve tried to ensure that the action on stage will be something that today’s audiences can engage with.'
Unusually, the production will not visit Scottish Opera’s home, the Theatre Royal Glasgow, due to a temporary closure in order to complete the new foyers – which are due to be finished before the opening of the Commonwealth Games this summer.
Leading the cast of Macbeth is David Stephenson, who made a powerful impression as Giorgio Germont in Scottish Opera’s 50th Anniversary staging of La traviata. Singing the part of Lady Macbeth is Elisabeth Meister, a former Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera House.
Among the witches will be Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Sioned Gwen Davies. All performances will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra of players from The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, conducted by Scottish Opera Head of Music, Derek Clark.
Scottish Opera’s General Director, Alex Reedijk said 'We are excited to be nearing the finishing line of our project to transform our home, the Theatre Royal. Reaching this stage means that the theatre must close for 14 weeks to allow the old and the new parts of the building to be joined together.
'Usually at this time in our season, we would be presenting a mainscale opera, but without the use of our theatre, we can't do that. However, we wanted to perform as much opera as we could for our audiences, so I'm delighted that we've been able to visit the Citizens and the King's in order to present Dominic Hill's excellent Macbeth.'
Orchestra Take Centre Stage
11 March 2014
The Orchestra of Scottish Opera take centre stage in April as they return to St Andrew’s in the Square for the latest in their annual concert series.
Each of the players of the Orchestra specialises in opera, but that isn’t where their talents end. The concert series is a regular highlight in Glasgow’s musical calendar, and gives audiences the chance to catch The Orchestra of Scottish Opera performing music they wouldn’t necessarily hear in the theatre.
With a programme that makes the most of the wonderful acoustics of the venue, the concert will feature Mozart’s magnificent ‘Linz’ Symphony and Shostakovich’s vibrant Symphony No.9. Plus, following the centenary year of Britten’s birth, there’s a celebration of the composer’s extraordinary music with the lovely Suite on English Folk Tunes.
Rising star Daniel Cohen conducts, making his Scottish Opera debut. Recently selected as a Gustavo Dudamel Fellow of the Los Angeles Philarmonic, Daniel has also worked with the likes of the Orchestre National de Montpellier, the Orchestra dell Teatro Petruzelli in Bari, the orchestra of the Norrlands Operan in Sweden, as well as Kammerphilharmonie Graz, the Maggio Musicale in Florence and the Orchestra dell’Arena di Verona. His opera conducting credits include La Clemenza di Tito for the Canadian Opera Company and Wozzeck, La traviata and Pique Dame for Israeli Opera
University Partnership Encouraging New Opera
3 March 2014
Scottish Opera has joined forces with the University of Aberdeen to support four young composers and librettists to write two new operas.
The new works will be premiered on 2nd November 2014 as part of the North East's Sound Festival.
The University of Aberdeen & Scottish Opera: Encouraging New Opera programme has been developed with the support of the Leverhulme Trust, and is a scholarship programme which includes expert mentoring through the entire writing process up to, and including, the final performances.
The process began in 2013 with applications open to University of Aberdeen students, 9 students engaged in workshops, that led to more than 20 short works ranging from tweet-sized to seven minute self-contained operas.The workshop stage concluded with professional performances of the works. Following the performances an intense debate and discussion between the judging panel – featuring Scottish Opera’s Composer in Residence Gareth Williams, Director of Education and Outreach Jane Davidson and Education Manager (Outreach) Katy Cooper, and director Mathew Richardson and University of Aberdeen Depute Head of Music (Performance)/Director Scottish Opera's Connect Company Chris Gray – four students were selected for the final stage of the programme.
The final four scholars are composers Joe Stollery and Mark Mcnamee and librettists Ruth Potts and James G. Leonard. They will now pair up to begin work on their new operas.
Breath Cycle Website Launched
7 February 2014
You can now find out more about Scottish Opera’s Breath Cycle project – working with patients with cystic fibrosis – at a new website.
At BreathCycle.com you can find out more about the project, the clinical and artistic outcomes of the work, and use online resources including vocal and breathing exercises and video tutorials from our vocal coach Marie Claire Breen.
Vocal coach Marie Claire Breen practices vocal
and breathing exercises with aparticipant
Scottish Opera and Gartnavel General Hospital Cystic Fibrosis service began working on the Breath Cycle in early 2013, exploring whether learning classical singing techniques, including breath control, can improve the well being of cystic fibrosis patients. Due to the high risk of infection for those with cystic fibrosis, the project also explored how patients might interact safely with each other, using the internet as a means of meeting, learning and building new communities.
To find out more about the project and its outcomes simply follow this link to BreathCycle.com.
5 February 2014
Scottish Opera’s annual collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland continues with two concerts inspired by the works of Sir Walter Scott.
Scott’s Opera includes performances from Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Sarah Power, former Emerging Artist Michel de Souza and former Conservatoire pupil Elin Pritchard. Vocal students from the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio will also perform with The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, conducted by Stuart Stratford.
The programme includes scenes from Bellini’s I Puritani, Rossini’s La donna del lago and Donzetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.
The concerts are at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh on Friday 7th February and the City Halls in Glasgow on Sunday 9th February.
Don Pasquale – Photos, Reviews & More!
27 January 2014
‘A real treat’, ‘a tour de force’, ‘as good as it gets’ – the reviews for Don Pasquale are in!
You can read more of what the critics thought of our new production of Donizetti’s comic masterpiece by following this link.
There’s also a chance to get a first look at the production at our Don Pasquale gallery.
You can also find out more about the hard work going on behind-the-scenes to get Don Pasquale ready for an audience in this film about the painting of the production’s back cloth and pictures of the photoromanza photo shoot in action.
For all the performance and ticket details follow this link.