Scottish Opera’s hugely popular Opera Highlights tour kicks off once again in February, travelling to 14 smaller, more remote venues the length and breadth of Scotland, from Lerwick in the north to Castle Douglas in the south.

Having already journeyed to 17 venues across the country in the Autumn, the Spring tour begins on 6 February in Livingston before heading to Hawick, Callander, Midmar, Halkirk, Kirkwall, Tain, Braemar, Montrose, Lerwick, Castle Douglas, Ballachulish, Pitlochry and Rutherglen.

Image: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark has curated an extremely varied programme including favourites from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, as well as lesser known gems rarely performed on the Scottish stage.

Opera Highlights, which tells the story of Henrietta and Leon, two stage managers who have to cope with the demands of opera stars Sophia and Petrach every night on tour, also features a new work, entitled ‘Wings’, created especially for the tour by Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artist Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli. With something for everyone, from opera first timers to seasoned fans, Opera Highlights promises an intimate performance of great music.

The cast of the Spring tour is full of fresh new talent including mezzo-soprano Catherine Backhouse (La traviata 2017), The Robertson Trust Scholarship Emerging Artist at Scottish Opera; soprano Máire Flavin; baritone Benjamin Lewis and National Opera Studio graduate, tenor William Morgan. Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Emerging Artist Patrick Milne, Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artist Repetiteur, accompanies the four talented young singers on piano and Jack Furness (Opera Highlights 2016) makes a welcome return to the Company to direct.

Image: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Director Jack Furness said: ‘Autumn’s Opera Highlights was a really beautiful show to make, and re-exploring that with a new cast is going to be a fun adventure – I’m looking forward to it hugely.

‘William Morgan and I had a great creative partnership going in the Autumn, and it will be great to see how we can push his character further. It’s great to be working with Máire Flavin again. We did a show together in Aberdeenshire, and she was really sensational in the role of Violetta. I’m excited to see what she brings to this role. I’ve also been wanting to work with Benjamin Lewis for a long time. He’s one of the most exciting young baritones in the UK and this should be a real treat for audiences. And of course, Emerging Artist Catherine Backhouse who has been so brilliant in Scottish Opera’s La traviata. Working with Patrick Milne at the piano, I’m hoping we can push the show’s blend of off-beat comedy and theatrical depth into ever more interesting places.’

Scottish Opera’s General Director, Alex Reedijk, said: ‘Touring Scotland is at the heart of what we do and Opera Highlights is the perfect show to take to smaller and more remote communities around the country as it truly has something for everyone. After a successful 17-date Autumn tour, which saw the Opera Highlights team travel around Scotland from Stornoway to Stranraer, we’re thrilled to be able to take the show on the road again this Spring. The Autumn Opera Highlights tour was a hit with audiences, and director Jack Furness’ imaginative approach will no doubt bring out the best in this Spring’s fabulous young cast.’

Cast and Creative Team

Soprano                    Máire Flavin

Mezzo-soprano          Catherine Backhouse*

Tenor                        William Morgan

Baritone                    Benjamin Lewis

Music Director/Pianist  Patrick Milne*

Director                      Jack Furness

Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli*

Programme curator      Derek Clark

*Scottish Opera Emerging Artist

Performance Diary


Howden Park Centre, Livingston

Tues 6 Feb, 7.30pm
Tower Mill, Hawick

Thu 8 Feb, 7.30pm


McLaren High School, Callander

Sat 10 Feb, 7.30pm


Village Hall, Midmar

Tues 13 Feb, 7.30pm


Ross Institute, Halkirk

Thu 15 Feb, 7.30pm


Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall

Sat 17 Feb, 7.30pm


Duthac Centre, Tain

Tues 20 Feb, 7.30pm


Village Hall, Braemar

Thu 22 Feb, 7.30pm


Town Hall, Montrose

Sat 24 Feb, 7.30pm


Garrison Theatre, Lerwick

Wed 28 Feb, 7.30pm


The Fullarton, Castle Douglas

Sat 3 Mar, 7.30pm


Village Hall, Ballachulish

Tue 6 Mar, 7.30pm


Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Thu 8 Mar, 7.30pm


Rutherglen Town Hall

Sat 10 Mar, 7.30pm