Category Archives: NEWS


Renowned director/designer team Renaud Doucet and André Barbe return to Scottish Opera in May with a new production of Giacomo Puccini’s ravishing classic, La bohème.

Set in the flea markets of Paris, the production is inspired by the Jazz Age of Josephine Baker, and is full of  Renaud Doucet and André Barbe’s trademark colour, character and style. It opens in Glasgow before touring to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness.

cast scottish opera la boheme

The cast in rehearsals for La bohème | Image: Sally Jubb

Scottish Opera Music Director, Stuart Stratford, conducts Hye–Youn Lee as the fated Mimi, and Luis Gomes, winner of 2015’s Grand Prize at Verbier Festival Academy, as Rodolfo. Joining them are David Stout as Marcello, Jeanine De Bique as Musetta, Božidar Smiljanić as Schaunard, Damien Pass as Colline and Jonathan Best as Alcindoro/Benoît.

Hye-Youn Lee (Mimi) and Luis Gomes (Rodolfo) in rehearsals for La bohème. Scottish Opera 2017. Credit Sally Jubb

Hye-Youn Lee (Mimi) and Luis Gomes (Rodolfo) in rehearsals for La bohème | Image: Sally Jubb

Director Renaud Doucet and designer André Barbe said: ‘The story of La bohème is one we can all relate to. It seemed important to us to explore the theme of illness since, as a society, we are all under the weather at the moment and in need of healing. The flea market setting represents a little bit of what we are up against today – we seem to live life too fast and, through antiques, people get a sense of going back to a less hectic time. This opera is not about nostalgia ­­­­­­– La bohème is not a museum piece – the story is timeless.’

Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera’s General Director added: ‘La bohème is always an audience favourite, with beautiful music and heart-wrenching tragedy. Renaud and André create engaging, colourful and gorgeous productions that bring the emotions of the characters to the fore. I love their setting of the production in 1920’s Paris and all the images that conjures up – it’s romantic, yet also illuminates the contrast between the wealthy and the aspirations of those still trapped in post World War One poverty, and that gives a particular truthfulness to their vision.’

Audiences have the chance to attend La bohème Unwrapped, free one-hour tasters delving further in to the show and how it was created, as well as Pre-show Talks. Those who are visually impaired can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have live commentary that describes the action on stage without compromising the music.

Scottish Opera is also staging two dementia friendly performances of La bohème: one at Theatre Royal Glasgow on 13 May, and one in collaboration with Festival Theatre Edinburgh on 3 June. These specially abridged performances have a running time of one hour 45 minutes including an interval, and are carefully designed to make the theatrical experience more accessible to people living with dementia.

La bohème is supported by The Scottish Opera Syndicate and Scottish Opera’s ‘Play a Supporting Role’ appeal.

Cast List 

Mimi                                                    Hye-Youn Lee & Nadine Livingston (16 May, 8, 13 June)

Rodolfo                                             Luis Gomes & Christopher Turner (16 May, 8, 13 June)  

Marcello                                               David Stout

Musetta                                             Jeanine De Bique

Schaunard                                         Božidar Smiljanić

Colline                                               Damien Pass

Alcindoro/Benoît                                  Jonathan Best


Creative Team

Conductor                                         Stuart Stratford & Derek Clark (25, 27 May)  

Director                                               Renaud Doucet

Designer                                             André Barbe  

Lighting                                               Guy Simard                                                   

Performance Diary

Theatre Royal Glasgow, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA

Tue 9 May, 7.15pm

Fri 12 May, 7.15pm

Sat 13 May, 3pm (Dementia Friendly performance)

Sun 14 May, 4pm

Tue 16 May, 7.15pm

Thu 18 Mat, 7.15pm

Sat 20 May, 7.15pm

Free events

La bohème, Unwrapped

Thu 11 May, 6pm

La bohème, Pre-show Talk

Sat 20 Mar, 6pm

La bohème, Touch Tour

Sun 14 May, 2.45pm

La bohème, Audio-described performance

Sun 14 May, 4pm

La bohème, Children’s Unwrapped

Fri 12 May, 1pm

His Majesty’s Theatre, Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen AB25 1GL

Thu 25 May, 7.15pm

Sat 27 May, 7.15pm

Free events

La bohème, Unwrapped

Fri 26 May, 6pm

La bohème, Pre-show Talk

Sat 27 May, 6pm

La bohème, Touch Tour

Sat 27 May, 6pm

La bohème, Audio-described performance

Sat 27 May, 7.15pm

La bohème, Children’s Unwrapped

Fri 26 May, 1pm

Festival Theatre, 13–29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Wed 31 May, 7.15pm

Sat 3 Jun, 3pm (Dementia Friendly performance)

Sun 4 Jun, 4pm

Tue 6 Jun, 7.15pm

Thu 8 Jun, 7.15pm

Sat 10 Jun, 7.15pm

Free events

La bohème, Unwrapped

Thu 1 Jun, 6pm

La bohème, Pre-show Talk

Sat 10 Jun, 6pm

La bohème, Touch Tour

Sat 10 Jun, 6pm

La bohème, Audio-described performance

Sun 10 Jun, 7.15pm

La bohème, Children’s Unwrapped

Thu 1 Jun, 1pm

Eden Court, Bishops Road, Inverness IV3 5SA

Tue 13 Jun, 7.15pm

Thu 15 Jun, 7.15pm

Sat 17 Jun, 7.15pm

Free events

La bohème, Unwrapped

Wed 14 Jun, 6pm

La bohème, Pre-show Talk

Sat 17 Jun, 6pm

La bohème, Touch Tour

Sat 17 Jun, 6pm

La bohème, Audio-described performance

Sat 17 Jun, 7.15pm

La bohème, Children’s Unwrapped

Wed 14 Jun, 1pm

You can follow Scottish Opera on Twitter and Instagram @ScottishOpera


orchestra scottish opera sunday series

 The last performance in this Season’s The Sunday Series: Opera in Concert – Puccini’s Le Villi – takes place on May 21 at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.

Le Villi is based on the same legend as the ballet Giselle and was written in 1883. The opera-ballet was Puccini’s first stage work, and this performance at Theatre Royal Glasgow marks its Scottish premiere.

Scottish Opera’s Music Director, Stuart Stratford, conducts soloists Karen Slack as Anna, Stephen Gadd as Guglielmo and Peter Auty as Roberto. The latter two singers were both last seen at October’s Sunday Series performance of L’amico Fritz, and they are joined by a chorus and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

This concert also includes Preludio Sinfonico, Crisantemi and Capriccio Sinfonico. It is performed during the run of the Company’s staged production of Puccini’s classic La bohème, also conducted by Stuart Stratford, which has performances in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness.

Stuart Stratford said: ‘We are delighted to conclude this year’s The Sunday Series: Opera in Concert with Puccini’s first stage work which offers a wonderful contrast to La bohème. It is a great opportunity to hear Puccini’s seldom-performed first opera and to experience, in the first half of the concert, three of his exquisite early orchestral pieces.’

You can follow Scottish Opera on Twitter and Instagram @ScottishOpera

Cast and Creative Team

Conductor                 Stuart Stratford

Guglielmo                  Stephen Gadd

Anna                           Karen Slack

Roberto                      Peter Auty 

Performance Diary for The Sunday Series: Opera in Concert

Puccini’s Le Villi

21 May 2017, 3pm

NEWS: Scottish Ballet perform at the Royal Opera House for the first time

Scottish Ballet will perform at the Royal Opera House for the first time ever, as part of Kenneth MacMillan – a National Celebration in October 2017.

Scottish choreographer Kenneth Macmillan’s work continues to have a profound influence on dance around the world. In honour of his legacy and impact on the art-form, Scottish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Northern Ballet will perform on the Royal Opera House stage alongside the Royal Ballet for the first time in a shared programme of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration.

Scottish Ballet will perform The Fairy’s Kiss (Le Baiser de la Fée) by Kenneth Macmillan at the Royal Opera House on 18 and 19 October. Scottish Ballet soloists will also perform in Elite Syncopations with dancers from all four ballet companies.

Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration also includes a series of talks and Insights celebrating the breadth and depth of his creative genius. 

Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration

Wednesday 18 October – Friday 27 October 2017

Royal Opera House

Celebrating the legacy of Kenneth MacMillan on the 25th anniversary of his death, Kenneth MacMillan: A National Celebration brings the UK’s leading ballet companies together for the first time. Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet and Scottish Ballet showcase MacMillan’s work through three Triple Bills of one-act ballets, including a joint performance of Elite Syncopations by all four companies.


Find out more at



An Edinburgh non-profit arts festival is setting its sights on raising £20,000 to help restore the old Leith Theatre into a fully functioning arts and music venue for the city. 

Hidden Door’s Kickstarter campaign had an initial target of £10,000, representing the bare minimum needed to ensure the theatre is ready to open the doors for its first audience in nearly 3 decades. After an overwhelming response from supporters keen to see the venue resurrected, Hidden Door have increased the target to enable the festival to show the theatre off in the style it truly deserves.

Hidden Door is a volunteer-run, non-profit arts organisation specialising in transforming forgotten and abandoned spaces. Past festivals have taken place in the empty arches on Market Street and a secret courtyard tucked away behind Kings Stables Road. It aims to demonstrate how empty urban spaces can be transformed while also providing a platform to support the local arts community.

The old Leith theatre, which first opened in 1932 and played host to the likes of AC/DC, Kraftwerk and the Edinburgh International Festival in its heyday, has stood empty and derelict since 1988.

The crowd-funding campaign has been launched in the run-up to Hidden Door’s annual 10-day multi-arts festival, which this year will be staged at the Leith Theatre to provide the initial spark to regenerate the derelict venue. The campaign is contributing to the work of the Leith Theatre Trust, the organisation that is facilitating the refurbishment and reopening of the theatre.

The Kickstarter campaign offers supporters various levels of pledges, ranging from £5 to £300 or more. In return for pledges, there are numerous rewards such as a personalised plaque on a chair in the theatre for the Festival; tickets to the festival; tours of the theatre and Festival; limited edition artworks and the opportunity to become a Friend or Patron of Hidden Door.

David Martin, Creative Director of Hidden Door, said: “By launching this crowd-funding campaign, we want to help bring the grand old Leith Theatre back to life and transform it into the incredible venue it should be for the community in Leith and Edinburgh.  

“Leith Theatre has a glorious past and by contributing to the crowd-funding campaign people can help build a new future for this spectacular theatre.”

Director Danny Boyle, who has signed up as an ambassador of Leith Theatre said, “Leith has been an important place in my career as a film maker. The main theatre hasn’t been in use through the years I have known the area but the reminiscences and the affection which clearly exist for it give it a magic which I hope will generate the support the Trust needs to get it back on its feet. Leith needs a space to be sociable and creative and to gather the community. Please lend a hand and give your support to this effort and vision to bring the theatre back to life.”

Jack Hunter, Chair of Leith Theatre Trust said, “This is a terrific opportunity for those who enjoy Hidden Door Festival and are interested in Leith Theatre’s restoration to support both organisations in creating a wonderful space for the Festival in May and a continuing improvement in the building.”

To contribute to Hidden Door’s crowdfunding campaign to bring Leith Theatre back to life, visit

Hidden Door Festival 2017 runs from 26 May-4th June at The Old Leith Theatre – visit


Thousands of primary school pupils across Scotland will rehearse and perform an opera based on Robert Burns’ iconic poem Tam o’ Shanter.

Scottish Opera’s annual Primary Schools Tour continues this month with The Tale o’ Tam o’ Shanter, a show created to re-introduce young people to the works of the celebrated Scottish poet. Written especially for children in primaries 5, 6 and 7, the fast-paced adventure features original lyrics by Ross Stenhouse and music by Karen MacIver, who also wrote the music for Scottish Opera’s popular family show, The Little White Town of Never Weary (2016), and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (2016), a specially composed piece for Scottish Opera’s youth company, Connect.

Schools are provided with high quality teaching resources, including a teachers’ support pack, to help introduce the songs from The Tale o’ Tam o’ Shanter to pupils in advance. A team of Scottish Opera performers and arts education specialists then spend a day rehearsing and preparing the pupils for a choreographed, fully-costumed performance of The Tale o’ Tam o’ Shanter for family and friends.

The show follows a farmer named Tam o’ Shanter as he makes his way home from Market Day with his faithful horse Meg. As the night grows darker, the rain falls and the wind shrieks through the branches of the trees, he finds himself outside the church where he discovers a coven of witches dancing. Fascinated, Tam stops to watch, but suddenly one of them spots him, and he and Meg must run for their lives.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson said: “Our children’s operas make learning both enjoyable and challenging, giving pupils the opportunity to participate in a high-quality, day-long music theatre workshop that ends with a performance for parents and guests. Originally commissioned in 2002, this vibrant interpretation of Burns’ iconic poem enables a new generation to explore the culture, identity and language that remain key to the enduring appeal of Scotland’s most famous poet.”

You can follow Scottish Opera on Twitter and Instagram @ScottishOpera

Primary Schools Tour Team

Alan McKenzie

Greig Baxter / Ryan Ferrie

Lucy Hutchison / Lee Reynolds

Jamie Macdonald / Neil Fenwick

Advance vocal workshop        Roger Glass

Music                                       Karen MacIver

Lyrics                                       Ross Stenhouse
Illustrations                              Iain Piercy 

Animation                                Nick Roy
Teaching resources                Julie Brown


Summer Performance Diary


Mon 17 Apr      Balmullo Primary School                                                                   Fife                             

Tue 18 Apr      Kettle Primary School                                                                         Fife                             

Wed 19 Apr     Trinity Primary School                                                                        Edinburgh                   

Thu 20 Apr      Baljaffray Primary School                                                                   East Dunbartonshire

Fri 21 Apr        Dollar Academy                                                                                  Clacks                        

Mon 24 Apr      West Linton Primary School                                                              Scottish Borders

Tue 25 Apr      Morebattle and Yetholm Primary Schools at Morebattle                     Scottish Borders        

Wed 26 Apr     Prestonfield Primary School                                                              Edinburgh                   

Thu 27 Apr      Holy Family Primary School                                                               East Dunbartonshire  

Fri 28 Apr        Goldenhill Primary School                                                                  West Dunbartonshire

Tue 2 May       Kintore Primary School                                                                       Aberdeenshire

Wed 3 May      Aberlour Primary School                                                                    Moray 

Thu 4 May       Mosstodloch Primary School                                                              Moray 

Fri 5 May         Lochardil Primary School                                                                    Highland         

Mon 8 May       Letham Primary School                                                                      Perthshire      

Tue 9 May       Robert Douglas Memorial School                                                        Perthshire                  

Wed 10 May    Dunbarney Primary School                                                                 Perthshire

Thu 11 May     Tulloch Primary School                                                                        Perthshire      

Fri 12 May       North Muirton Primary School                                                              Perthshire                 

Mon 15 May     Beaconhurst School                                                                            Stirling

Tue 16 May     Kincaidston & Grammer (Ayr Town Hall)                                             South Ayrshire           

Wed 17 May    Tarbolton & Forehill (Ayr Town Hall)                                                     South Ayrshire           

Thu 18 May     Doonfoot & Gardenrose (Ayr Town Hall)                                              South Ayrshire           

Fri 19 May       Annbank, Coylton & Holmston (Ayr Town Hall)                                    South Ayrshire           

Mon 22 May     Hillside Primary School                                                                       Dundee                      

Tue 23 May     Forthill Primary School                                                                         Dundee                      

Wed 24 May    Andover Primary School                                                                      Angus 

Thu 25 May     Hayshead Primary School                                                                   Angus 

Fri 26 May       Underbank Primary School`                                                                South Lanarkshire      

Tue 30 May     Bun Sgoil Taobh Pairce                                                                       Edinburgh                   

Wed 31 May    Wallacestone Primary School                                                            Falkirk                         

Thu 1 Jun        West Coats Primary School                                                               Glasgow         

Fri 2 Jun          Lairdsland Primary School                                                                  East Dunbartonshire

Mon 5 Jun        Sandwick (Cunningsburgh and Dunrossness)                                  Shetland         

Tue 6 Jun        Sound Primary School                                                                         Shetland         

Wed 7 Jun       Mid Yell (Baltasound, Fetlar, Cullivoe, Burravoe, Ollaberry, Urafirth)   Shetland         

Thu 8 Jun        Aith (Whiteness, Happyhansel, Sandness, Nesting, Lunnasting)       Shetland             

Fri 9 Jun          Bells Brae                                                                                             Shetland

Mon 12 Jun      Mosshead Primary School                                                                  Glasgow                     

Tue 13 Jun      Shawlands Primary School                                                                  Glasgow

Wed 14 Jun     Sciennes Primary School                                                                    Edinburgh       

Thu 15 Jun      St Mary’s Primary School                                                                     Edinburgh                     

Mon 19 Jun      Dalbeattie Primary School                                                                    Dumfries & Galloway

Tue 20 Jun      St Ninian’s & St Andrews at St Ninian’s                                                Dumfries & Galloway 

Wed 21 Jun     Laurieknowe Primary School                                                               Dumfries & Galloway

Thu 22 Jun      St Andrew’s & St Ninian’s at St Andrew’s                                             Dumfries & Galloway

Fri 23 Jun        Lockerbie & Eaglesfield at Lockerbie                                                    Dumfries & Galloway


NEWS: Open auditions for Cilla The Musical

The producers of Cilla – The Musical have confirmed the dates and locations for their search for Cilla, with open auditions taking place around the country.

 The search is on for a charismatic and talented actress with a great voice to portray the title role, starting in Cilla’s hometown of Liverpool.

The dates and locations for the auditions are as below:

Tuesday 2 May                               Liverpool Empire

Monday 8 May                               Edinburgh Playhouse

Tuesday 9 May                               Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre

Friday 12 May                                 London Dominion Theatre

Robert Willis (Executive Producer and Cilla’s son), said:

“My Mum Ioved singing and performing ever since she was a young girl and she was determined to do what she loved. Having performed at the clubs around Liverpool, including the famous Cavern Club, she got her big break when Brian Epstein spotted her and signed her. It was the start of everything that was to follow. She was a natural born performer who lived to entertain her audience. We are hoping to find that person who also dreams big and has the talent to match but just needs the chance to show it. We can’t wait to meet you!”

Full information about the auditions and to register please go to:

NEWS: Cast change for The Wedding Singer

Scottish actress Barbara Rafferty has unfortunately had to withdraw from the role of Grandma Rosie in the musical The Wedding Singer due to personal circumstances. She was set to join the Company in Glasgow on 18 April for the Scottish dates of The Wedding Singer UK tour. The role of Grandma Rosie will now be performed by Ruth Madoc in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Casting for Aberdeen and Inverness to be announced. No stranger to stage and screen, comedy veteran Ruth became a household name in the Eighties when she played Gladys Pugh in BBC comedy series Hi-De-Hi! More recently she’s been on screen in ITV’s Benidorm, Mount Pleasant (Sky) and Stella (Sky). Ruth has been performing the role of Grandma Rosie to great acclaim during the tour which opened at the Leicester Curve Theatre in February 2017.

The Wedding Singer

King’s Theatre

Tues 18-Sat 22 April 2017

Tues & Thurs, 7.30pm

Wed, 2.30pm & 7.30pm

Fri, 5pm & 8.30pm

Sat, 2.30pm & 7.30pm


NEWS: Iconic Theatre, Iconic Plays, Iconic Women from Rapture Theatre this season

From Emma Stone and Viola Davis stealing the limelight at the Oscars, to Billie Piper and Glenda Jackson taking centre stage in the West End, 2017 has been a golden year for actresses.

Rapture Theatre celebrates this seminal year for actresses by producing a season of iconic American masterpieces that feature some of the most formidable, complex, flawed and iconic female characters ever to written.

Rapture Theatre kick off their “Iconic Season” with Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? will tour to venues across Scotland from 3 May – 3 June.  Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire will follow in September.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A marathon night of late night drinking, debauchery and duplicity develops as Martha and her husband George invite unsuspecting young couple, Nick and Honey, around for a nightcap. Drinks flow, spiked with vicious humour, acerbic wit and tempestuous verbal sparring. However, as night turns to morning, searing secrets are exposed.

Putting the ‘fun’ into dysfunctional, Woolf wryly exposes the dark attraction in relationships.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the multi-Oscar winning film (starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor), this is a rare opportunity to experience an iconic American masterpiece.

Rapture’s production will feature Rose Reynolds, Robin Kingsland and Paul Albertson, with Scottish actress Sara Stewart leading the cast as the iconic Martha.

Sara will be well known to audiences from her appearances in Rebus, Doctor Foster, The Night Manager and Batman Begins. She also recently appeared on the West End stage in Hay Fever and has played opposite Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow in the Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? will mark a homecoming to Scotland for Sara. Her first professional role was in the King’s Edinburgh panto opposite the legendary Stanley Baxter.

Direction is by Rapture Artistic Director Michael Emans. Frances Collier will design the set and costumes. Lighting Design is by Mark Doubleday and Sound Design is by Danny Krass.

The artistic team will collaborate to produce a show that is intimate, visceral and a celebration of the special and unique experience that is live theatre.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is produced in association with Motherwell Theatre and this collaboration will result in 100 school children in North Lanarkshire being provided with tickets for the show, subsidised transport costs and access to workshop activities .

Craig Smart from Motherwell Theatre said: “We are delighted to support this wonderful initiative. Rapture’s work is always highly popular with pupils and students, and our collaboration with Rapture will ensure that pupils and students in North Lanarkshire will have access to this production.

Michael Emans, Artistic Director of Rapture Theatre said: “We are delighted to be working on  this exciting project. Access to high quality theatre is a must-have for young people. It encourages, inspires and motivates. It can both entertain and provoke.”

Emans goes on to say: “Seeing live theatre in my local venue in East Kilbride, when I was growing up, was hugely influential in the future direction of my life. We hope that by providing the up close and personal experience that only truly live theatre can bring, we will inspire the next generation of directors, writers, designers and performers.”

Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling 3 – 4 May 2017 01786 466666


Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy 6 May 01592 583302


Byre Theatre, St Andrew’s 10 – 11 May 01334 475000


Eastgate theatre, Peebles 13 May 01721 725777


Motherwell Theatre, Motherwell 15 May 01698 403120


Theatre Royal, Dumfries 17 May 01387 253383


The Gaiety, Ayr 19 May 01292 288235


Village Theatre, East Kilbride 21 May 01355 261000


Kings Theatre, Edinburgh 23 –27 May 0131 529 6000


Theatre Royal, Glasgow 30 May – 3 Jun 0844 871 7647

NEWS: Scottish Opera announces new season

Scottish Opera has unveiled its 2017/18 Season which includes a world premiere, a Scottish premiere, four new productions and appearances at the Edinburgh International Festival, Manchester International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

A truly international line-up of singers appears throughout the Season with Gulnara Shafigullina, Anush Hovhannisyan, Peter Gijsbertsen, Victoria Simmonds, James Laing, Mardi Byers, Kor-Jan Dusseljee, Emily Edmonds, Susan Bullock, Allison Cook and Jamie MacDougall making their Scottish Opera debuts. There are also welcome return visits from the great British baritone Sir Thomas Allen, Stephen Gadd, Stephanie Corley, Natalya Romaniw, Peter Auty, Samuel Dale Johnson, Graeme Broadbent and Marie McLaughlin, and from former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Jennifer France, shortlisted in the Young Singer category of the 2017 International Opera Awards, and Sioned Gwen Davies, who represents Wales at this year’s Cardiff Singer of the World competition.

Opening the new Season in October is Verdi’s La traviata, set in Paris during the 1880s. This revival of the 2008 production by Sir David McVicar, who wowed audiences and critics alike earlier this year with Pelléas and Mélisande, is conducted by David Parry (Carmen 2016). The role of Violetta is shared by Russian-Dutch soprano Gulnara Shafigullina, who recently sang the role at St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, and Anush Hovhannisyan, who represents Armenia at this year’s Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Dutch tenor Peter Gijsbertsen is Alfredo, British baritone Stephen Gadd is Giorgio and three of Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists 2017/18, Laura Zigmantaite, Alex Otterburn and Catherine Backhouse, also take leading roles. The performance on 28 November will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the opening of Theatre Royal Glasgow. There will also be two Dementia Friendly performances of La traviata in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Jonathan Dove’s hugely popular modern opera Flight – inspired by the true story of a refugee stranded at an airport – receives its Scottish professional premiere in February 2018. Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts a superb ensemble cast including Jennifer France (Ariodante 2016), Victoria Simmonds and James Laing, all reprising their highly-praised roles in the Opera Holland Park production, alongside Stephanie Corley (Inés de Castro 2015), Graeme Broadbent and Marie McLaughlin (The Marriage of Figaro 2016), and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Sioned Gwen Davies (The Mikado 2016).

Ariadne auf Naxos, by Richard Strauss, is designed and directed by Antony McDonald, last at Scottish Opera in 2016 with his five-star staging of Rusalka. This playful opera is conducted by Brad Cohen, Music Director of Western Australia Opera. The international cast includes American soprano Mardi Byers, making her first appearance in the UK, Dutch tenor Kor-Jan Dusseljee, and Jette Parker Young Artist Emily Edmonds. Legendary British baritone and Scottish Opera Music Advisor Sir Thomas Allen, who directed 2016’s The Marriage of Figaro, is the Music Master and Scottish tenor and BBC broadcaster Jamie MacDougall is the Dancing Master. Following performances in Scotland, Ariadne auf Naxos will be presented at Investec Opera Holland Park in Summer 2018.

A new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is directed by Oliver Mears (who recently took up post as Director of Opera at Royal Opera House), with Stuart Stratford conducting. This great masterpiece of Russian repertoire, based on Pushkin’s classic novel, has not been performed on Scottish Opera’s main stage since 1993. Samuel Dale Johnson (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) takes the title role and Natayla Romaniw (Rusalka 2016) is Tatyana. They are joined by Peter Auty (L’amico Fritz 2016) and Sioned Gwen Davies.

Building on its success in the 2016/17 Season, The Sunday Series takes as its inspiration the new production of Eugene Onegin and Stuart Stratford’s love for, and expertise in, Russian music, focusing on rarely-performed operas from Russia. Featuring The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a fabulous line-up of guest soloists, the Series includes three concerts at Theatre Royal Glasgow and one at City Halls.

The Series opens in October at Theatre Royal Glasgow with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s last opera Iolanta conducted by Stuart Stratford. Originally premiered alongside The Nutcracker, it is rarely heard outside Russia. Stuart also takes the baton for the closing concert of the Series which features two operas by Rachmaninov – the first-ever performances of the composer’s work on the Scottish Opera stage. Adapted from a poem by Pushkin, Aleko was Rachmaninov’s first opera. It is paired with the Scottish premiere of Francesca da Rimini, which draws its plot from Dante’s Inferno.

December’s concert sees Scottish Opera collaborating with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in a performance of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel. Conducted by Mikhail Agrest, resident for many years at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, the performing forces include Masters students from the Alexander Gibson Opera School and student instrumentalists from the Royal Conservatoire performing alongside professional soloists and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

Scottish Opera hosts a week-long residency for students of the London-based National Opera Studio, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this Season. It culminates with February’s From Russia with Love, a semi-staged performance of Russian-themed repertoire, conducted by Stuart Stratford.

Scottish Opera and Opera Ventures, a new charity founded by John Berry CBE to commission and produce opera and mixed media performances, are working together on a new co-production of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s anarchic opera, Greek.  This modern re-telling of the Oedipus myth, based on the play by Steven Berkoff, is directed by Young Vic Artistic Associate Joe Hill-Gibbins and will premiere at the opening weekend of the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations, with further performances in Glasgow in February 2018. The cast of Greek includes British singers Susan Bullock, Allison Cook, Andrew Shore (The Mikado 2016) and Alex Otterburn, winner of an International Opera Award bursary and a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist 2017/18.

(Amateur singers and circus performers have the chance to take part in an exciting new production of Pagliacci (The Clowns) by Ruggero Leoncavallo in Summer 2018. Bill Bankes-Jones, founder of Tête à Tête opera company, directs a company of nearly 200, including The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, international soloists, a professional and community chorus and both professional and amateur circus performers in this ‘blood and guts’ tale about a wretched clown. Specially created to be staged outwith Scottish Opera’s usual theatre venues in a ‘circus’ tent, this landmark new production is conducted by Music Director Stuart Stratford. Recruitment for participants in the production is underway – full details will be available at Scottish Opera’s website.

Scottish Opera Composer in Residence Lliam Paterson’s BambinO, an opera for babies, has its world premiere at Manchester International Festival this Summer. A new co-commission and co-production between Scottish Opera, Manchester International Festival and Improbable, this pioneering piece of music theatre is aimed at infants aged 6 to 18 months. Directed by Improbable’s Phelim McDermott, babies are free to explore and interact with the singers, musicians and each other during the performance. The production will also be presented at Edinburgh Academy during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2017 and at Scottish Opera’s Production Studios in Glasgow in the Autumn.

The ever-popular Opera Highlights tour visits even more venues around Scotland this Season, stretching from Stranraer to Shetland, with dates in both Autumn and Spring. Scottish Opera Emerging Artists and recent graduates of the National Opera Studio are amongst the casts that will take to the road with former Emerging Artist Jack Furness directing. These performances are supported by the Friends of Scottish Opera.

Pop-up Opera takes both to the road – in Scottish Opera’s specially-adapted, fully accessible trailer at festivals and events around Scotland – and to the waves in Scotland’s first floating opera house, the converted pilot cutter Murray McDavid kindly provided by Murray McDavid Scotch Whisky. The public performances on and from the Murray McDavid will be complemented with special shows for schools in marinas down the Clyde, enabling Scottish Opera to extend its reach into communities it has not previously visited. Pop-up audiences can catch three shows this year; A Little Bit of La bohème, A Little Bit of The Pirates of Penzance and A Little Bit of Bubble McBea, for kids aged three to seven. Each performance is 25 minutes long and brought to life by a cast of narrators, singers and instrumentalists.

Opera Unwrapped performances offer a one-hour opera taster, ideal for anyone curious to learn more about the art form, how a show is created or some backstage secrets. There are Unwrapped performances for the productions of La traviata, Flight, Ariadne auf Naxos and Eugene Onegin. Audiences can also find out more about the opera they are seeing in pre-show talks. People with a visual impairment can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, where a live commentary describes the action on stage without compromising the music.

Following the performances of The Marriage of Figaro (2016) and La bohème (2017), there will be two Dementia Friendly performances of La traviata in Glasgow and Edinburgh. This fully-staged, shortened version of the show features narrator Allan Dunn, The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a cast of singers. Lighting levels in the auditorium are adjusted and audiences are able to come in and out of the auditorium or watch in the bar on TV screens if they prefer.

Memory Spinners, the group for people living with dementia and their carers that helps them relax and get creative using music, storytelling, movement and the visual arts, continues to meet weekly in Glasgow and Edinburgh.


La traviata

Theatre Royal Glasgow
19, 25, 28 Oct | 28, 30 Nov | 2 Dec 7.15pm
22 Oct 3pm
Dementia Friendly performance 24 Oct, 3pm

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
2, 4 Nov 7.15pm

Eden Court, Inverness
7, 9, 11 Nov 7.15pm

Festival Theatre Edinburgh
15, 21, 23, 25 Nov 7.15pm
19 Nov 3pm
Dementia Friendly performance 17 Nov, 3pm


Theatre Royal Glasgow
17, 21, 24 Feb 7.15pm

Festival Theatre Edinburgh
1, 3 Mar 7.15pm

Ariadne auf Naxos

Theatre Royal Glasgow
22, 24, 28 Mar 7.15pm

Festival Theatre Edinburgh
5, 7 April 7.15pm

Eugene Onegin

Theatre Royal Glasgow
27 Apr, 3, 5 May 7.15pm
29 Apr 3pm

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
10, 12 May 7.15pm

Eden Court, Inverness
15, 17, 19 May 7.15pm

Festival Theatre Edinburgh
23, 26, 29, 31 May 7.15pm


Festival Theatre Edinburgh
Part of Edinburgh International Festival
5 Aug 7.15pm
6 Aug 5pm

Theatre Royal Glasgow
2, 3 Feb 7.15pm

Pagliacci (The Clowns)

June 2018 – dates to be announced

The Sunday Series: Opera in Concert
Theatre Royal Glasgow 29 Oct 3pm

The Fiery Angel
City Halls Glasgow 3 Dec 3pm

From Russia with Love
Theatre Royal Glasgow 25 Feb 3pm

Aleko and Francesca da Rimini
Theatre Royal Glasgow 6 May 3pm

Opera Highlights

Autumn 2017
21 Sep to 28 Oct | Touring to Musselburgh, Markinch, Arisaig, Portree, Stornoway, Lochinver, Carrbridge, Findhorn, Cove, Peebles, Stranraer, Campbeltown, Bowmore, Benderloch, Langholm, Greenock & East Kilbride

Spring 2018
6 Feb to 10 Mar | Touring to Livingston, Hawick, Callander, Midmar, Halkirk, Kirkwall, Tain, Braemar, Montrose, Lerwick, Castle Douglas, Ballachulish, Pitlochry & Rutherglen


Pavilion Theatre, Manchester
Part of the Manchester International Festival
4 Jul 1.30pm (Preview)
5 Jul 10.30am and 1.30pm
(Further venues around Greater Manchester, 6 to 16 Jul, excl. Mon 10 Jul)

Edinburgh Academy
Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
8 to 20 Aug (excl. Mon 14 Aug)
10am & 11.30am

Scottish Opera Production Studios, Glasgow
21 Oct to 5 Nov (excl. Mon & Tue)
10am & 11.30am

Opera Sparks

14, 15 Apr 2018

Pop-up Opera

24 May to 1 Jul | Tour includes Perth Arts Festival, Mount Stuart Isle of Bute, Prestwick, Girvan, Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, Riverside Museum Glasgow, Rhu Marina, James Watt Marina Greenock, Port Bannatyne Marina, Portavadie, Troon Yacht Haven, Clyde Marina Ardrossan, Largs Yacht Haven, Theatre Modo Peterhead, Pollok House Glasgow & Haddington Show

Emerging Artists Recitals

Fri 8 Dec, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Thu 11 Jan, University of Glasgow Concert Hall

Opera Unwrapped

La traviata Unwrapped
Glasgow Thu 26 Oct 6pm
Aberdeen Fri 3 Nov 6pm
Inverness Fri 10 Nov 6pm
Edinburgh Thu 16 Nov 6pm

Flight Unwrapped
Glasgow Mon 19 Feb 6pm
Edinburgh Fri 2 Mar 6pm

Ariadne auf Naxos Unwrapped
Glasgow Mon 26 Mar 6pm
Edinburgh Fri 6 Apr 6pm

Eugene Onegin Unwrapped
Glasgow Wed 2 May 6pm
Aberdeen Fri 11 May 6pm
Inverness Fri 18 May 6pm
Edinburgh Thu 24 May 6pm
Pre-show talks

La traviata
Glasgow Sat 28 Oct 6pm
Aberdeen Sat 4 Nov 6pm
Inverness Sat11 Nov 6pm
Edinburgh Sat 25 Nov 6pm

Glasgow Sat 24 Feb 6pm
Edinburgh Sat 3 Mar 6pm

Ariadne auf Naxos
Glasgow Sat 24 Mar 6pm
Edinburgh Sat 7 Apr 6pm

Eugene Onegin
Glasgow Sat 5 May 6pm
Aberdeen Sat 12 May 6pm
Inverness Sat 19 May 6pm
Edinburgh Sat 26 May 6pm

Audio-described performances

Edinburgh Sun 6 Aug 5pm (Touch Tour 3.45pm)
Glasgow Sat 3 Feb 7.15pm

La traviata
Glasgow Sat 28 Oct 7.15pm
Aberdeen Sat 4 Nov 7.15pm
Inverness Sat 11 Nov 7.15pm
Edinburgh Sun 19 Nov 3pm

Glasgow Sat 24 Feb 7.15pm
Edinburgh Sat 3 Mar 7.15pm

Ariadne auf Naxos
Glasgow Wed 28 Mar 7.15pm
Edinburgh Sat 7 Apr 7.15pm

Eugene Onegin
Glasgow Sat 5 May 7.15pm
Aberdeen Sat 12 May 7.15pm
Inverness Sat 19 May 7.15pm
Edinburgh Thu 31 May 7.15pm

Touch Tours start at 6pm for evening performances and 1.45pm for matinees.

Images: James Glossop

NEWS: Groundbreaking new opera for babies

The long-awaited follow up to Scottish Opera’s hugely successful BabyO performances, BambinO is a pioneering and unique piece of music theatre for infants aged 6 to 18 months.

A new co-production with Manchester International Festival and Improbable, the show premieres at Manchester International Festival in July, before travelling to Edinburgh as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe, then to Glasgow for performances in Scottish Opera’s Production Studios.

Written by Scottish Opera’s Composer in Residence Lliam Paterson and directed by Improbable’s critically-acclaimed Phelim McDermott, BambinO will be a celebration of the possibilities of music and the power of the infant imagination.

The show reinvents operatic language and traditions for children at an age when their minds are wide open to new sounds, images and experiences. Babies are free to explore during the performance, and to interact with the singers, musicians and each other.

Director, Phelim McDermott, said: ‘It is inspiring to create a new opera for what is possibly the most discerning – and important – audience there is. We all know that babies respond to music and we want to nurture and stimulate that relationship through their very first opera.’

Scottish Opera’s Composer in Residence, Lliam Paterson, continued: ‘BambinO will bring an operatic experience to a little audience with ears open to discovering new sounds. It is so exciting to create a colourful and vibrant work that can engage both babies and adults fully, while conveying the drama and passion of opera. The opportunity for me to work with as imaginative a director as Phelim McDermott is fantastic and truly inspiring. He and design team Giuseppe Belli and Emma Belli will bring a beautifully crafted operatic world to a whole new audience!’

Scottish Opera’s Director of Education and Outreach, Jane Davidson, said: ‘Incorporating rich, exuberant colours and images – both musically and visually – we’ve created the perfect miniature opera. Complete with percussion, cello and tiny pianos, all four performers fashion a magical soundscape that will enthral and challenge both the babies and the adults who come along with them. This is not a ‘baby’ show in a traditional sense; this is baby baroque as you’ve never seen it before!’

Cast and Creative Team

Composer Lliam Paterson #

Director Phelim McDermott

Designers Giuseppe Belli & Emma Belli

Soprano Charlotte Hoather

Baritone Timothy Connor

Cello Laura Sergeant

Percussion Stuart Semple

# Scottish Opera Emerging Artist


Performance Diary

Pavilion Theatre, Manchester (Part of Manchester International Festival)

4 Jul 1.30pm (Preview performance)

5 Jul 10.30am & 1.30pm

(Further venues around Greater Manchester, 6 to 16 Jul)

On sale from 9 March.

Edinburgh Academy (Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

8 to 20 Aug (excl. Mon 14 Aug)

10.00am & 11.30am

Scottish Opera Production Studios, Glasgow

21 Oct to 5 Nov (excl. Mon & Tue)

10.00am & 11.30am


Full details on ticket sales for Edinburgh and Glasgow performances available from 5 April.


You can also follow Scottish Opera on Twitter and Instagram @ScottishOpera

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