Macbeth Children Are Ready For The Stage
19 September 2014
With the costumes donned, the lighting fixed and the last notes delivered, today marks not only the final floor run of our wicked revival but is just six days till opening night.
Inspired by the Balkans conflict of the late 1990s, Scottish Opera’s Macbeth is preparing to haunt 15 of Scotland’s smaller venues with David Stephenson singing the title role.
Our Education Team is currently travelling the length of Scotland in advance of the tour, providing opera workshops to school children whilst scouting six participants from each workshop to be included in their local performance.
Photo credit: Kevin McGarry
Participants from Netherlee Primary School in Giffnock ( pictured above) were yesterday rehearsing their final scenes with the main cast in what’s shaping up to be an unforgettable performance.
Scottish Opera welcomes Emerging Artists for 2014/15 Season
5 September 2014
We’re delighted to welcome this season’s group of new Emerging Artists to our team.
The scheme gives talented young artists a period of full-time work with the Company to help them launch their careers.
You can hear our Emerging Artist singers performing in several of our operas this season, including Jenůfa and Macbeth. They will also be performing at two recitals during the year.
Who are the Emerging Artists?
Born in Winchester and a graduate of the Royal College of Music, your first chance to see soprano Rosalind Coad will be in La Cenerentola Unwrapped from the 22nd October.
Left to right:
Soojeong Joo, Laura Margaret Smith, Lliam Paterson and Rosalind Coad
Mezzo-soprano Laura Margaret Smith is a winner of the Making Music Young Concert Artist Award as well as a recent graduate of the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Laura is currently in rehearsal for her role as a witch in Verdi’s Macbeth, which will tour to smaller venues throughout Scotland this Autumn.
Fresh from a spell with English National Opera as a trainee Repetiteur, New York City School of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama graduate Soojeong Joo is welcomed to the Emerging Artist programme as our Repetiteur.
And recent University of Cambridge Music graduate Lliam Paterson also joins the programme as Composer in Residence for the 2014 /15 season.
18 June 2014
We were sad to hear of the death of mezzo-soprano Carol Rowlands who joined Scottish Opera in 1982 and appeared regularly with the Company throughout the 1980s performing roles in many operas including L’Egisto, My Fair Lady, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, Oberon, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, Iolanthe, Lulu, Death in Venice and Candide.
Early in her solo career she sang the role of Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana for Scottish Opera-go-round (pictured), earning praise from John Higgins in The Times "...Carol Rowlands' powerfully projected Santuzza, giving a proper taste of Mediterranean jealousy. She knows how to act and is to be watched."
After leaving Scottish Opera, she worked with most of the major British companies as well as in Europe and the USA.
Cavalleria Rusticana (1989)
L-R (back row): Alex Morrison, Peter Thomson, Adrian Clarke, Sylvia Mitton, Colin McKerracher
(front): Carol Rowlands
Exhilarating New Season Announced
14 May 2014
Scottish Opera announces an exhilarating 2014/15 Season of intensely dramatic opera...
Ranging in style and period from Gluck's early opera Orfeo ed Euridice to James MacMillan's visceral modern masterpiece Inés de Castro via Rossini, Verdi and Janáček.
A mainstage season of five operas starts in October, with Sandrine Anglade making her Scottish Opera debut directing Rossini’s La Cenerentola in a new co-production with Opéra national du Rhin. 2015 begins with a new production of James MacMillan’s Inés de Castro, directed by Olivia Fuchs. In February, Ashley Page - former Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet - will direct and choreograph a new production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. The creative team behind 2013’s acclaimed La traviata – director Annilese Miskimmon, designer Nicky Shaw and lighting designer Mark Jonathan – returns to bring Janáček’s Jenůfa to Scottish audiences in April in a new co-production with Den Jyske Opera. And the season comes to a close with a revival of Peter Watson’s 5-star production of Verdi’s grand Il trovatore.
General Director Alex Reedijk said, “Across the Season there are works of passion and intensity that I know will thrill our regular opera-goers, but with such a varied and dramatic programme, I hope we will also continue to see people tempted to come and enjoy opera for the first time.
“A particular highlight for me will be welcoming James MacMillan back to Scottish Opera. It’s a great honour for us that he will conduct Inés de Castro for the first time and that, 19 years after its world premiere, he will take this opportunity to revisit aspects of this important opera. These performances will be genuinely special evenings for Scottish Opera and our audiences.”
Audiences will be treated to a line-up of sought-after singers and conductors, as well as being able to enjoy the talents of artists nurtured in Scotland. The exciting array of conductors in the pit and on the concert stage includes: Marco Guidarini, William Lacey, James MacMillan, Kenneth Montgomery, Stuart Stratford, Tobias Ringborg, Michael Christie, Jean Luc Tingaud and former Scottish Opera Music Director Francesco Corti.
La Cenerentola sees Victoria Yarovaya – winner of the 2013 Mercedes Viñas Prize – singing Angelina, alongside soprano Rebecca Bottone and baritone Richard Burkhard. British stars Peter Wedd, Stephanie Corley, Susannah Glanville and Brindlay Sherratt join Paul Carey Jones in Inés de Castro while Caitlin Hulcup returns to Scottish Opera to sing the title role of Orfeo. In April, Lee Bisset – lauded for her Kátya at Longborough in 2012 – will sing Jenůfa while Kathryn Harries will perform one of her most acclaimed roles singing Kostelnička. In the season finale, Roland Wood, Anne Mason, Matthew Best, and leading British Soprano Claire Rutter join renowned Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones when they take to the stage for Il trovatore.
The full season will feature 125 performances of 13 titles, visiting a total of 44 venues across Scotland, including 10 new productions, 3 world premieres, 2 co-productions and the Company’s unique contribution to the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, the world premiere of family opera Anamchara – Songs of Friendship. With a libretto from Scottish novelist Alexander McCall Smith this specially commissioned show will feature a multi-cultural cast of over 120 performers including young professional singers and musicians from Scotland, India, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Botswana, as well as Scottish Opera’s Connect Chorus and Orchestra and a community choir of adults, children and students from Commonwealth countries living and working in Glasgow.
In the Autumn, Dominic Hill’s contemporary and unsettling production of Verdi’s Macbeth returns to tour 15 of Scotland’s smaller venues. This piano-accompanied production features two former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists, Shuna Scott Sendall and Marie Claire Breen alongside David Stephenson, reprising his Spring 2014 performance in the title role. In its 21st year of touring, Opera Highlights will visit a further 17 even smaller or more remote venues.
The Orchestra of Scottish Opera will continue its popular St Andrew’s in the Square concert series, this year in four concerts designed to showcase the talents of principal players in the orchestra and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist singers who have gone on to launch successful careers. In addition, a series of recitals will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley Novels, with a programme drawn from the many operas they have inspired. Singers Judith Howarth, Michael Colvin and Roland Wood will perform in four of Scotland’s most beautiful venues including Scott’s own home – Abbotsford House – on 7 July, the anniversary of the publication of Waverley itself.
As previously announced, throughout the 2014-15 Season, world-famous baritone and opera director Sir Thomas Allen will be working with the Company as Music Adviser, giving high level input and advice on musical and artistic matters while the process of recruiting a Music Director continues.
The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme, which nurtures young operatic talent through a period of full-time work with the Company, goes from strength to strength, with soprano Sian Winstanley and mezzo Laura Margaret Smith joining the programme alongside director Lissa Lorenzo and costume trainee Charlotte Campbell.
The Company's education and outreach activities continue to bring opera to new audiences across Scotland. Alongside long-running core activities such as touring to primary schools, there will be a new Christmas show for 3-5 year olds, Mister MacNeep has lost his Sheep!, as well as the world premiere of KidO – a musical adventure for 3-4 year olds, which builds on the worldwide success of BabyO and SensoryO. Scottish Opera’s Connect Company – young singers and players aged between 14-21 – will perform alongside professional singers to present a double bill of short operas for family audiences: Jonathan Dove’s The Walk from the Garden & Stephen Deazley’s Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow.
Madama Butterfly – Reviews, Photos and More!
12 May 2014
‘Stylish’, ‘fresh and arresting’, ‘a great production’ – first reviews are in for Madama Butterfly.
You can now read extracts of what the critics are saying about the production.
There's plenty more to discover about this production at scottishopera.org.uk
And to listen to extracts of the opera, as well as ticket and tour information, head straight to the Madama Butterfly page.
Take A Look Inside Opera
8 May 2014
Seven of the UK’s opera companies have joined forces to produce Inside Opera: Live.
Inside Opera: Live is a unique online event offering unprecedented behind the scenes access and insight into the opera being created and performed in theatres across the country.
In a collaboration, the scope of which is a first for the arts, the Companies – English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Northern Ireland Opera, Opera North, The Royal Opera, Scottish Opera, and Welsh National Opera – will come together on Saturday 10 May 2014, from 2pm to 6pm, as part of a Europe-wide celebration of opera.
Designed for anyone who is new to opera, but with obvious appeal for opera fans, this ambitious event will be hosted on YouTube. It combines live streamed and filmed footage to give viewers a chance to experience opera across the UK from the inside, and encourages them to find out about the opera activity on their doorstep.
Inside Opera: Live will be presented by Kirsten O’Brien from the Grand Theatre in Leeds, as Opera North prepares for matinee and evening performances of Puccini’s La bohème.
The four hour online event will air specially commissioned behind the scenes films from all the participating companies, live interviews with singers and directors, and live links to rehearsals, backstage and community-based activities. In the course of a packed afternoon, viewers will have the chance to hear from performers just before they go on stage; find out how a singer prepares for a new role; meet the people behind an opera production and learn what they do; see what it takes to make and take an opera out on tour; and understand the skill that goes into making a period costume.
Throughout the event there will also be the opportunity using #insideopera to put questions live via Twitter to the companies’ artistic directors, and composer Errollyn Wallen will be taking real time tweets from audience members and making them into a brand new aria to be performed at the end of the day.
Opera productions on stage in the UK on European Opera Days weekend include some of the best loved works in the repertoire, such as Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute, Puccini’s Tosca, La bohème and Madama Butterfly, and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.
Full House for LHM Double Bill
6 May 2014
Audiences packed out the final two performances of Scottish Opera’s collaboration with the Lodging House Mission on Sunday.
The double bill of community operas, Who Killed John King? and Last Night at the Blue Tango Club, were devised and performed by the participants and Scottish Opera’s team of singers and musicians.
Scottish Opera’s partnership with the Lodging House Mission – which works in the east end of Glasgow with those affected by homelessness – and community organisation Givin’ It Laldie, began in December 2011.
‘The best bit of the project for me has been watching the participants from Lodging House Mission grow and develop both as performers and people,’ said Shelley Coyne from Givin’ It Laldie ‘It’s been an amazing three years and every one of us involved will leave a little bit different from where we started.’
Development Co-ordinator at Lodging House Mission Trina Gibson said ‘Three years of fun – working together, playing together, laughing together. Sad it’s coming to an end but it’s been great.’
Many of the cast members have been with the project from the very beginning, like William Leadbetter who said ‘So sad it’s coming to an end. I’ve grown so much as a performer and I can’t wait to get on stage and show people what I can do.’
This year’s performers also included some new faces to the project. Amanda Donald was one of them ‘Working with the people at Scottish Opera and Lodging House Mission has been really marvellous. Confidence and camaraderie.’
Congratulations to the cast and team on two fantastic performances!
All pictures by Robin Mitchell.
For more on the work of Scottish Opera’s Education and Outreach Department follow this link.
One Week Until Madama Butterfly Takes Flight!
1 May 2014
There’s only one week to go until the opening of Scottish Opera’s acclaimed production of Madama Butterfly.
The production opens at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh before going on to perform in Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Belfast. It will also make a return to Glasgow in July to perform in the city during the Commonwealth Games.
Internationally acclaimed Scottish director, Sir David McVicar’s unflinching production has been a firm favourite with audiences since it was first staged for Scottish Opera in 2000.
Set at the turn of the 20th Century, Madama Butterfly is thought to be based on a true story and depicts the surprisingly common practice of American servicemen taking temporary wives in Japan, before returning to the United States alone.
Sir David’s production deliberately forgoes sentimentality to lay bare the atmospheric and powerful story of the reckless Lieutenant Pinkerton and a loyal Nagasaki girl Cio-Cio San – known as Butterfly. After the two are married, Pinkerton soon returns to his native America. When he comes back to Japan three years later, Butterfly still patiently awaits him, but only betrayal and heartbreak lie ahead of her.
Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee - one of The Independent on Sunday’s “Faces to Watch” in 2013 - and Anne Sophie Duprels (Manon 2009) share the role of Butterfly and José Ferrero (Tosca 2012) is Pinkerton. Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Andrew McTaggart sings the role of Prince Yamadori. Christopher Purves and Marcin Bronikowski share the role of Sharpless. Italian Marco Guidarini conducts The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.
Revival Director, Elaine Kidd said: “The production is a real classic, with exquisite period detail in the costumes. With two Butterflies sharing the lead role who can act as sensitively as they sing, it will have the power to cut to the core.
“I’m particularly thrilled that Italian conductor Marco Guidarini is returning to work with us because he is steeped in this passionate, dramatic and lyrical music.
“Madama Butterfly has been a hugely popular opera for many, many years – this is a great place to start for first-timers, but of course it is also a real favourite of regular opera-goers.”
Find venue and ticket information at this link.
Why not create your own origami butterfly to celebrate the production's arrival?
Final Rehearsals Underway for LHM Double Bill
23 April 2014
Final rehearsals are underway for Scottish Opera, the Lodging House Mission and Givin’ It Laldie’s double bill of performances of community operas Who Killed John King? and Last Night at the Blue Tango Club.
Scottish Opera’s partnership with the Lodging House Mission – which works in the east end of Glasgow with those affected by homelessness – and community organisation Givin’ It Laldie began in December 2011.
Final rehearsals for double bill of community operas are now
Director Lissa Lorenzo gives a few pointers to the cast
This is the final year of the 3-year partnership between all three companies. In each of the first 2 years the participants created new performance pieces from scratch, coming up with music, storylines, characters and visual designs. The first - Who Killed John King? - was performed in April 2012, with extracts of the piece also performed by the group (the only Scottish representatives) during a festival at the Royal Opera House organised by Streetwise Opera as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. In 2013 an expanded cast, crew and creative team presented Last Night at the Blue Tango Club. For the final year of the project in 2014 a double bill of both of these pieces will be performed
Dancing is a big part of Last Night at the Blue Tango Club
The cast and team take a well-earned break!
All images by Robin Mitchell.
The performances take place at the Scottish Youth Theatre on 4th May at 3pm and 6.30pm.
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.