Our History

1962
Scottish Opera is founded by Sir Alexander Gibson. The new company’s first production is Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, performed at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow.

 

1967
Così fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart opens in Perth, with a cast including Janet Baker and Elizabeth Harwood.

 

1968
The lease is acquired of 39 Elmbank Crescent in Glasgow, which provides rehearsal and office space. The Company takes Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring to Florence's prestigious Maggio Musicale festival.

 

1971
Performances of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow.

 

1974
The Company purchases the Theatre Royal in Hope Street, Glasgow, since 1957 the home of Scottish Television, and after extensive refurbishment it opens in 1975. Under the guidance of Sir Alexander Gibson and Peter Hemmings, General Administrator, Scottish Opera forges a considerable reputation for distinguished productions, including Hector Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger.

 

1976

Scottish Opera won the Evening Standard Award for Opera for its first season in the restored Theatre Royal Glasgow.

 

The Company took a concert performance of its production of Falstaff to the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

 

1977
Performances of Jenufa, the first of an acclaimed cycle of Janácek operas co-produced with Welsh National Opera, conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong and directed by David Pountney, that continued with Kátya Kabanová (1979), The Cunning Little Vixen (1987), The Makropoulos Case (1981) and From the House of the Dead (1987).

 

1979
The cast of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus includes Scottish comedian Billy Connolly as the gaoler Frosch.

 

1980
The Orchestra of Scottish Opera is formed.

 

1985
Richard Mantle (former Deputy Managing Director of English National Opera) becomes Managing Director.

 

1986
American conductor John Mauceri is appointed Music Director, with Sir Alexander Gibson becoming the Company’s first Conductor Laureate.

 

1990
Scottish Opera gives complete performances of Berlioz's Les Troyens at the Royal Opera House, London, and presents the world première of Scottish composer Judith Weir’s opera The Vanishing Bridegroom.

 

1991
Richard Jarman is appointed Managing Director.

 

1992
The 30th anniversary of Scottish Opera. Sir Richard Armstrong succeeds John Mauceri as Music Director.

 

1994
The Company performs Britten's Peter Grimes and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde in Lisbon.

 

1996
World première of James MacMillan’s Inés de Castro at the Edinburgh International Festival.

 

1997
Purpose-built Production Studios open at Edington Street, Glasgow.

The Theatre Royal auditorium is refurbished.

 

1999
Barclays TMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for productions of Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth and Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier.

 

2000
Verdi's Macbeth is performed at the Vienna International Festival.

 

Chris Barron is appointed Chief Executive.

 

2001
European première of MacMillan’s Inés de Castro in Porto, Portugal.

 

2002
Barclays TMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for Wagner's Die Walküre and Siegfried.

 

2003
Five complete performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Edinburgh International Festival, Theatre Royal Glasgow and The Lowry, Salford Quays.

 

2004
South Bank Show Award for Best Opera for The Ring Cycle.

 

2005
Herald Angel Award for John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer at the Edinburgh International Festival.

 

2006
Alex Reedijk is appointed General Director.

 

2007
Francesco Corti is appointed Music Director.

 

2008
Five:15, short new operas by Scottish-based artists, is launched.
First appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, with Cinderella.
Herald Angel Award for The Two Widows at the Edinburgh International Festival.

 

2009
Our 2007 production of Lucia di Lammermoor is presented at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia, starring Anna Netrebko.

 

2011

Director Kally Lloyd-Jones wins a Herald Angel Award for The Seven Deadly Sins.

 

2012

The Company performs world premieres of The Lady from the Sea and In the Locked Room & Ghost Patrol at the Edinburgh International Festival. The Scottish premiere of Clemency is performed.

 

Herald Angel Award for The Lady from the Sea at the Edinburgh International Festival.

 

2013

Emmanuel Joel-Hornak is appointed Music Director.

 

In the Locked Room & Ghost Patrol are nominated in the Outstanding Achievement in

Opera category at The Olivier Awards.

 

Ghost Patrol wins a Southbank Sky Arts Award for Opera.

 

The Magic Flute is nominated in the Best Costume Designer category at the International Opera Awards.

 

The 50th Anniversary tour is shortlisted at the International Opera Awards, and wins The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre at the UK Theatre Awards.

 

2014

Sir Thomas Allen is appointed Music Adviser.

 

 

 

Past Operas

Find out more about the many productions we have created over the years.