Award Win for Connect Singer
16 May 2013
Connect Chorus member Connor Smith has become the first Scot to win the prestigious Rotary International British Young Musician of the Year award.
The Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) competition celebrates the talents of young musicians who have progressed from one of 1,850 club competitions, through one of 29 district competitions before representing their district in one of eight regional finals.
Connor had to compete against seven vocalists to win the accolade.
‘The competition was fantastic, and fantastically hard to win’ says Connor ‘ My accompanist throughout the competition was Lorna Lattimore, who is also my music teacher. Lorna and I worked towards the competition for six months and I would like to thank her for her unfaltering work and support. It is wonderful that it has ended so well. I would also like to thank the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno for being fantastic supporters since I started in the competition almost three years ago.’
Connor most recently sang the role of Brack Weaver in the Connect Company’s double bill of Kurt Weill operas Der Jasager and Down in the Valley, and in 2012 was one of the 5 Connect Chorus members selected for a principal role in the tour of new opera The Elephant Angel. Connor is now working hard on his plans to study music after school. ‘Once my exams are over I will be taking a time to focus on my studies as a singer and musician before applying to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.’
Connor’s teacher and accompanist Lorna Lattimore said: ‘I had no doubt that, whatever the outcome of the competition, Connor would perform well. He sang two pieces - an art song 'Silent Noon' by Vaughan-Williams, and an aria from the The Magic Flute by Mozart - 'Dies Bildnis' - in the original German language. As his teacher I am very proud of the musician Connor has developed into and look forward to watching him develop further over the coming years.’
Congratulations to Connor from all at Scottish Opera!
To find out more about Scottish Opera Connect follow this link.
Freelance Chorus Auditions
8 May 2013
Scottish Opera will be holding auditions for freelance chorus work across the UK this summer.
A successful audition will allow singers to be considered for chorus work with Scottish Opera on a production basis for the next 3 years.
Auditions will be held in Manchester on Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 June, London on Monday 1 and Tuesday 2 July and Cardiff on Friday 19 July.
To apply for audition send your CV by 1 June to Iona Jack on firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates for further auditions in Glasgow in the Autumn will be announced in due course.
Emmanuel Joel-Hornak is new Music Director
22 April 2013
French conductor Emmanuel Joel-Hornak has been appointed by Scottish Opera as the Company’s new Music Director after an international search to appoint a successor to Francesco Corti.
Joel-Hornak impressed audiences and critics during his recent engagements with Scottish Opera, conducting La traviata (2008/9) and Hansel and Gretel (2012) to critical acclaim.
Having initially studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, he brings Scotland’s national opera company the extensive experience of an international career conducting in renowned opera houses around the world. Highlights of Maestro Joel-Hornak’s work include: Don Quixote, English National Opera; Don Carlo; San Francisco Opera; Pelléas et Mélisande, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse; Dialogues des Carmélites, Göteborg Opera; Il trittico, Opéra de Nantes; Il trovatore, Sydney Opera House; Werther, Los Angeles Opera House; Salomé, Minnesota Opera, Minneapolis; Carmen, Bolshoï Theater, Moscow and Madama Butterfly, The New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv. He will conduct Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman in Hong Kong during May 2013.
Joel-Hornak will join the Company in August 2013, and his first performances as Music Director will be announced with the launch of Scottish Opera’s 2013-14 Season, scheduled to take place in May. In joining Scottish Opera he becomes only the fifth Music Director in the Company’s 50 year history
General Director of Scottish Opera, Alex Reedijk said: “It is a huge honour for us to have attracted a musician of Emmanuel Joel-Hornak’s calibre to become our Music Director. He brings with him a profound experience of the artform, honed in the opera houses of Europe, North America and Australasia, and a real curiosity about the musical landscape here in Scotland. In his previous stays with the Company he has helped deliver artistically important productions and it is this creativity, combined with his passion for opera and his qualities as a musician and a leader that makes him such a great fit for Scottish Opera.”
Music Director designate, Emmanuel Joel-Hornak said: "I am extremely proud and honoured to become the new Music Director of Scottish Opera. For a number of years I have had a very strong relationship with this world renowned company, founded by the great Maestro Sir Alexander Gibson.
“I have had the chance to lead the orchestra in four new productions as guest conductor, and am looking forward to becoming a permanent part of Scottish Opera and leading the Company through new musical challenges.
“I am particularly thrilled, after a life of worldwide travelling, to become a settled part of the Scottish Opera community, and to experience and share with people all around Scotland the fantastic joys and emotions that the great composers have given to us through the wonderful form of art that is opera."
Behind-the-Scenes of the Pirates Photoshoot
22 April 2013
You’ve seen The Pirates of Penzance poster, now see how its fab central image was made.
Our exclusive behind-the-scenes pics go from wigs to ropes to table tennis!
We ‘roped’ in the help of singers Samuel Furness and Ellie Laugharne, who’re appearing as Frederic and Mabel in the production, to create the picture.
11 April 2013
Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Katie Grosset will join the Connect Company for their final concert of the year.
The performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on Sunday 14 April is the culmination of many months of hard work by the Connect Chorus and Connect Orchestra, and gives our young singers and players the chance to share the varied repertoire they’ve been working on across the year.
The programme ranges from likes of Shostakovich’s Suite for Variety Orchestra to the Overture from Gershwin’s Girl Crazy, as well as a concert staging of Kurt Weill’s Der Jasager. Emerging Artist Katie Grosset will join the Connect Orchestra for Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer.
Scottish Opera’s Connect Company is made up of talented singers and musicians aged between 14 and 21, who work with professional singers and musicians from within the Company to develop their vocal and instrumental skills. The year-long programme includes side-by-side work, masterclasses, individual tutoring and the chance to find out more about the workings of a major arts company and attend rehearsals and performances at Scottish Opera.
The Connect Company in their recent production of Der Jasager.
Tickets for the concert are free, available through the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Box Office.
Find out more about Scottish Opera’s Connect Company.
First Look: The Flying Dutchman
5 April 2013
You can now see the first production images of The Flying Dutchman.
The production, directed by Harry Fehr with Peteris Eglitis as The Dutchman and Rachell Nicholls as Senta, opened in Glasgow last night.
The action is set in Scotland, as the original libretto for the opera intended.
Find out more about the staging by watching this video of Harry Fehr.
You can also read extracts of reviews of the production.
Full House For Connect Performances
28 March 2013
The Connect Company performed a double bill of pieces by Kurt Weill to a full house on Sunday 24 March.
The Connect Chorus and Connect Orchestra joined forces to present Down in the Valley and Der Jasager.
Written in 1948 Down in the Valley begins in a jail the night before an execution, and is told in flashback. Brack Weaver (Connor Smith) has fallen in love with Jennie Parsons (Laura O’Donnell). But her father demands she goes to a dance with shyster creditor Thomas Bouché (Calum MacDonald). Jennie disobeys and goes with Brack, and an unhappy Bouché gets drunk and threatens Brack with a knife. The two fight and the villain dies but Brack is condemned to be hanged, but escapes the jail the night before his execution to spend his last hours with Jennie.
In 1930’s Der Jasager Kurt Weill and his librettist Bertolt Brecht were inspired by a Japanese play called Taniko. In the opera, a young boy (John-Anthony Graham), is given permission to travel with his teacher (Daniel O’Connor*) and classmates across the mountains in search of a physician to help his sick mother (Miranda White), but he becomes ill and is unable to go on. The teacher offers to turn back, but the students remind him of the ancient custom of demanding that sick travellers be thrown off the mountains into the valley.
Launched in 2009, the Connect programme offering singers and musicians aged between 14 and 21 the chance to develop their talents with the help of Scotland’s top opera professionals. The group learn through workshops, one-to-one rehearsals, master classes, tutorials and performances.
The Connect Company’s end of year concert is at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Stevenson Hall on 14 April. They’ll be joined by Scottish Opera Emerging Artists for part of the performance, which will also include a concert staging of Der Jasager.
For a gallery of images from the performance and more on the Connect programme follow this link.
All images by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
*Daniel O'Connor appears by kind permission fo the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Last Night at the Blue Tango Club
18 March 2013
Singers and musicians from Scottish Opera, the Lodging House Mission and Givin’ It Laldie perform their new community opera Last Night at the Blue Tango Club at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow this Friday.
The piece follows the fortunes of the staff and customers of Glasgow’s oldest jazz bar The Blue Tango Club. We encounter a whole host of characters from waitress Marie who dreams of being on stage, barman Jamie who’s just inherited a small fortune, a mysterious old lady harbouring a tragic secret and owner Jack Blue, who’s caught up in some dodgy dealings to keep his beloved club in the black.
Scottish Opera’s partnership with the Lodging House Mission - which works in the east end of Glasgow with those affected by homelessness - and community music organisation Givin’ it Laldie, began in December 2011.
In April 2012 the group performed Who Killed John King? a 30-minute piece following the fortunes of a young police officer desperate to marry his childhood sweetheart, who just happens to belong to a family of notorious Glasgow criminals, to standing ovations. The group then went on to perform extracts from the piece at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden as part of With One Voice, an event organised by Streetwise Opera for the Cultural Olympiad for London 2012, bringing together performers from across the world dealing with issues of homelessness.
William Leadbetter sang the role of John King in last year’s performance, and says he’s looking forward to getting back on stage, this year as barman Jamie Kennedy. He said ‘Last year they gave me a lead part and that gave me a lot of confidence – they believed in me. During the performance I felt electricity flowing in my body. Before I was low and now I feel high, I’m doing Sound Production at college and I’m enjoying myself! I got a good mark for my first assignment, and am really proud about that.’
Brian Patterson is also returning to the cast, this year he’ll play the role of bouncer Brian Black, he says fans of last year’s performance won’t be disappointed: ‘I think it’s amazing, this show, it’s like the rising of the phoenix. I didn’t think we’d top John King, but this new show has been an amazing experience.’
Fellow cast member James Goldie agrees the audience can expect something different this year, he said ‘It’s a total transformation from John King, and it’s taught me a lot of the profession of acting, realising things I didn’t know I had in me.’
Last Night at the Blue Tango Club will be at the Circle Studio at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow at 3pm and 6pm on Friday 22 March. A special preview performance of the show will take place at the Lodging House Mission on Wednesday 20 March at 2pm. Tickets are free, but to book please call Helen on 0141 552 0285 or email email@example.com to book.
La traviata Returns
6 March 2013
Our acclaimed production of La traviata returns...
Our acclaimed production of La traviata returns this March to bring a passionate end to the 50 venues for 50 years tour!
Directed by Annilese Miskimmon, the production has already been seen by audiences in 25 venues across Scotland during its piano-accompanied autumn tour. Returning with a chamber orchestra, the cast and crew travel to Dundee, Kelso, Dumfries, Elgin, Oban, Dunfermline, Hamilton and Troon.
A fresh take on the classic tale, the story is transported from the nineteenth century to late 1950s Paris. There we meet Violetta, a famed escort, who has fallen desperately in love with the young photographer Alfredo. Giving up her career in the upper class salons of the French capital, she escapes with him to the country to try to build a new life. But as Violetta is driven to sacrifice their relationship for the sake of Alfredo’s family, she becomes caught in a downward spiral, as her health fails and her old life begins to catch up with her.
Elin Pritchard as Violetta
Photo by Mark Hamilton
Featuring some of opera’s most famous tunes including drinking song the ‘Brindisi’ and Violetta’s beautiful aria ‘Sempre Libera’, this is Verdi at the height of his powers.
Soprano Elin Pritchard and tenor Robyn Lyn Evans return as lovers Violetta and Alfredo. David Stephenson sings the role of Alfredo’s father, Giorgio Germont and Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists for 2012/13 Katie Grosset, Rónan Busfield and Andrew McTaggart are Flora, Gaston and the Marchese d’Obigny. Musicians from The Orchestra of Scottish Opera will accompany the performances, conducted by Scottish Opera Head of Music Derek Clark.
This extensive tour of La traviata, combined with Opera Highlights 2013 and Scottish Opera’s full-scale productions in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen, means that for the 50th anniversary season the Company will be performing within 30 minutes’ drive of 90% of Scotland’s population.
Scottish Opera General Director Alex Reedijk said ‘Touring is always an integral part of Scottish Opera’s year, and during our 50th anniversary season we were even more determined to bring high quality opera to as many of Scotland’s communities as possible. This new La traviata, a show packed full of passion, emotion and great tunes, is the perfect way to end this momentous 50 venues tour. I really hope audiences will come out and see the show and help us celebrate the big 5-0!’
Award Nomination for Magic Flute Designer
26 February 2013
Designer Simon Higlett has been nominated for his work on The Magic Flute...
Simon is up against Christian Lacroix, Olga Polikarpova and Buki Shiff in the Best Costume Designer category at The International Opera Awards.
Rachel Hynes (Second Lady), Claire Watkins (First Lady) and Louise Collett
(Third Lady) in The Magic Flute. Credit KK Dundas.
The steampunk-influenced production, Directed by Sir Thomas Allen, toured Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness in the autumn.
Peter Van Hulle, Richard Burkhard and Laura Mitchell as Monostatos,
Papageno and Pamina. Credit KK Dundas.
Known as ‘The Operas’, the annual awards will celebrate excellence from productions performed throughout 2012.
Mari Moriya sparkles as The Queen of the Night.
Other nominees familiar to Scottish Opera audiences include Director Oliver Mears, who worked with Scottish Opera on Orpheus in the Underworld in 2011 in the Best Newcomer category, baritone Duncan Rock, who recently toured with Opera Highlights who is up for Young Singer, and our partners in recent Education and Outreach work Streetwise Opera who are finalists in the Accessibility category.
The Operas will be judged by a panel of opera writers, critics and professionals, which this year includes Dame Anne Evans and Kathryn Harries.
Awards for younger singers will come with bursaries attached, with a percentage of the proceeds of the awards going to The Opera Awards Foundation which was set up to help support young professionals.
The awards will be handed out on 22 April 2013.
Congratulations to Simon and all the nominees!