Scottish Opera has unveiled its 2018/19 Season which includes a world premiere, two new productions (one a co-production with Germany’s Theater Magdeburg), two revivals, a new production of Orfeo & Euridice by Scottish Opera Young Company, two Scottish premieres in the Opera in Concert series and appearances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Lammermuir Festival, as well as in Paris, London and New York.
A truly international line-up of singers appears throughout the Season. Making their debuts with the Company are Aris Argiris, Lina Johnson, Adam Smith, David Shipley, Laura Wilde, Ric Furman, Gemma Summerfield, Julia Sitkovetsky, Ronald Samm, Anna Patalong and Emma Bell. There are welcome return visits from Stephen Gadd, Jeni Bern, Hanna Hipp, Patricia Bardon, Peter Gijsbertsen, Richard Burkhard, Robert Hayward, Samuel Dale Johnson, Alasdair Elliot, Peter Auty, Justina Gringyte, Claire Rutter and David Stout. Emerging Artists Alexey Gusev, Sofia Troncoso and Lucy Anderson and former Emerging Artists Jennifer France, Sioned Gwen Davies and Laura Zigmantaite also perform.
Alex Reedijk, General Director, said: ‘This Season, we are delighted to present full-scale productions of Pagliacci, Rigoletto, Kátya Kabanová, The Magic Flute and the world premiere of Anthropocene. They are brought to the stage by four of the UK’s finest directors – Matthew Richardson, Sir Thomas Allen, Bill Bankes-Jones and Stephen Lawless – each demonstrating their distinctive approach to storytelling and creating engaging and exciting stage worlds. These productions provide the bedrock to a wide-ranging season which sees us present shows in 53 cities, towns and villages the length and breadth of the country, from Pop-up Opera in our ‘theatre on wheels’ to two Opera Highlights tours and our promenade production of Pagliacci in a huge tent that we’ve dubbed ‘Paisley Opera House’.
‘We make our debut at Lammermuir Festival and we return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with BambinO, following its sell-out run there last year and performances in Paris and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. As well as this work for babies and our extensive work in schools, we also continue our presentation of Dementia Friendly performances and our Memory Spinners groups.’
Stuart Stratford, Music Director, added: ‘Old and new, rare and classic: the 2018/19 Season exemplifies what Scottish Opera is all about. Established favourites The Magic Flute and Rigoletto have, as a counterpoint, the brand new Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh commission, Anthropocene. Kátya Kabanová promises to bring the desolation, hopes and shattered dreams of what is arguably Janáček’s finest opera to the stage in a new production.
‘Pagliacci will be a visual feast and a thrillingly immersive experience for audiences, bringing together the Paisley community and our wonderful orchestra and soloists. I am so excited about our Opera in Concert performances, which include the Scottish premieres of two rarely-performed verismo works. Puccini’s second opera, Edgar, is conducted by Gianluca Marcianò, and I will conduct Mascagni’s Silvano in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, with the wonderful soprano Emma Bell singing the role of Matilde. The piece contains all the fabulous features of Mascagni’s music that I love – passion, searing melody and a raw emotion that typifies the composer of Cavalleria Rusticana.’
Season 2018/19 Productions
Rigoletto opens the new Season with director Matthew Richardson (The Devil Inside 2016) and Olivier Award-winning designer Jon Morrell reviving their powerful 2011 production of Verdi’s masterpiece. Conducted by Rumon Gamba, internationally acclaimed baritone Aris Argiris leads the cast which also includes Lina Johnson, much-praised for her Gilda in Trieste in 2016; award-winning British tenor Adam Smith; and David Shipley, a recent graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme. Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Alexey Gusev and Lucy Anderson also appear in this film-noir inspired production set in a dark and dangerous underworld.
In January 2019, the award-winning team behind 2016’s The Devil Inside returns with the world premiere of a Scottish Opera commissioned work, Anthropocene. The fourth collaboration between composer Stuart MacRae and librettist Louise Welsh, this gripping new work tells the story of a team of scientists trapped in the frozen Arctic wastelands. Directed by Matthew Richardson and designed by Samal Blak, Anthropocene’s ensemble cast includes former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Jennifer France (Flight and Ariadne auf Naxos 2018), Scottish soprano Jeni Bern and Stephen Gadd (Flight 2018). Stuart Stratford conducts performances at Theatre Royal Glasgow and King’s Theatre, Edinburgh before the production transfers to Hackney Empire in London for two performances presented in association with The Royal Opera. Anthropocene is supported by Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle.
Renowned for his trademark theatricality and vivid storytelling, British director Stephen Lawless directs Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová at Theatre Royal Glasgow and Festival Theatre Edinburgh in March, in a new co-production with Germany’s Theater Magdeburg. Set in a small industrial community in Russia, the role of Kátya is taken by Laura Wilde, greatly praised for her Jenůfa at English National Opera in 2016. She performs alongside American tenor Ric Furman, Hanna Hipp (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) and Patricia Bardon in the role of meddling mother-in-law Kabanicha. Stuart Stratford conducts. Kátya Kabanová is supported by The Alexander Gibson Circle.
The 2018/19 Season closes with Mozart’s The Magic Flute, with Sir Thomas Allen returning to direct his acclaimed production set in a world inspired by the Victorian futurism of HG Wells and Jules Verne. Peter Gijsbertsen, who sang the role of Alfredo in 2017’s La traviata, is Tamino. He is joined by Gemma Summerfield, First Prize Winner at the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards; up-and-coming talent Julia Sitkovetsky and Richard Burkhard, who returns to sing Papageno, the laugh-out-loud role he created in 2012. Tobias Ringborg (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) conducts dates in Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. There will be two Dementia Friendly performances of The Magic Flute in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Pagliacci – community opera staged festival-style
In Paisley this July, director Bill Bankes-Jones, founder of Tête à Tête Opera, directs a company of nearly 200, including The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, international soloists and a professional and community chorus, in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Staged in a huge tented structure – dubbed ‘Paisley Opera House’ – in Seedhill Sports Ground, this landmark new show is conducted by Music Director Stuart Stratford, with Ronald Samm (acclaimed for his Otello at Opera North in 2013); ex-Samling scholar Anna Patalong; Robert Hayward (Bluebeard’s Castle 2017); Samuel Dale Johnson (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) and Scottish tenor Alasdair Elliot. Audiences will be right in the middle of the action with this dynamic promenade style production taking inspiration from commedia dell’arte and Paisley’s own Sma’ Shot Festival. Pagliacci is supported by Scottish Opera Endowment Trust.
Opera in Concert
For this Season’s Opera in Concert series, Music Director Stuart Stratford has selected two rarely-performed gems from the world of verismo opera: Puccini’s Edgar and Mascagni’s Silvano. Featuring The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a fabulous line-up of guest soloists, the series opens in October at Theatre Royal Glasgow with Edgar, conducted by Gianluca Marcianò. Edgar was commissioned following the success of Puccini’s Le villi, which was performed in the Company’s 2016/17 Season. Featuring soloists including Peter Auty (Flight 2018), Justina Gringyte (Carmen 2015), Claire Rutter (L’enfant prodigue 2016) and David Stout (La bohème 2017), Edgar tells the story of an impulsive young knight who runs away with the gypsy, Tigrana, and then fakes his own death to escape his life of debauchery.
This is followed in April 2019 by the long-overdue Scottish premiere of Mascagni’s Silvano, a passionate seafaring story whose hard-hitting drama is reminiscent of the composer’s celebrated Cavalleria rusticana. Conducted by Stuart Stratford, Silvano tells the tale of a love triangle that ends in death and despair, and includes the Barcarolle famously featured in Scorsese’s Raging Bull. It is performed in City Halls, Glasgow and at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh with soloists including acclaimed soprano Emma Bell as Matilde.
Scottish Opera makes its debut at the award-winning Lammermuir Festival in East Lothian with a semi-staged performance of Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace. Conducted by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, and directed by Jenny Ogilvie, this colourful and exotic Church Parable is presented in the beautiful, mediaeval St Mary’s Parish Church in Haddington this September. Soloists, chorus and instrumentalists tell a timeless biblical story of huge emotional force and a touch of dark humour.
Scottish Opera is also working in partnership with English National Opera and National Opera Studio, culminating in the National Opera Studio young artists’ week-long residency with the Company and a showcase performance at King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, accompanied by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. The performance in February, supported by Scottish Opera Endowment Trust, follows the success of 2018’s National Opera Studio collaboration, From Russia with Love.
The ever-popular Opera Highlights goes on the road again this Season, visiting venues around Scotland from Wick to Whiting Bay, with two different shows touring in Autumn and Spring. With an exciting programme of music curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, Autumn’s wonderfully engaging operatic playlist, including works by Verdi, Mozart and Donizetti, is linked together with new compositions by Scottish Opera Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli. Daisy Evans directs. The Spring tour visits smaller and more remote venues with a pint-sized production celebrating the best of opera, directed by Sara Brodie. Opera Highlights is supported by Friends of Scottish Opera.
BambinO – an opera for babies returns
Former Scottish Opera Composer in Residence Lliam Paterson’s acclaimed BambinO returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer, following last year’s sell-out run. An ‘opera for babies’, the co-production between Scottish Opera, Manchester International Festival and Improbable, is aimed at infants aged 6 to 18 months. The production, directed by Phelim McDermott, is also being presented by Théâtre du Châtelet at various Paris venues in April, the Metropolitan Opera in New York in May, and touring to Aberdeen, Inverness, Perth, Motherwell and Lerwick in late summer. BambinO is supported by Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.
Scottish Opera Young Company
Formerly the Connect Company, Scottish Opera Young Company for 16 to 23 year olds starts an exciting new chapter this Season, with new Artistic Director Jonathon Swinard leading the Company. It presents a new production of Gluck’s Orfeo & Euridice, based on the myth of Orpheus, at The Beacon in Greenock in April 2019 following the success of 2017’s Dido and Aeneas at the same venue. The young performers are joined by two professional singers. Orfeo & Euridice is supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.
Three brilliant Pop-up Opera shows hit the road in Scottish Opera’s specially-adapted, fully accessible trailer at festivals and events around Scotland: A Little Bit of HMS Pinafore, A Little Bit of Eugene Onegin and, for children aged 4 to 7, Be a Sport, Spike! Each performance is 25 minutes long and brought to life by a cast of narrator, singers and instrumentalists. The tour includes Perth Festival of the Arts, Isle of Barra, Solas Festival and the Haddington Show.
Audiences of all ages can also catch performances of these lively shows in Glasgow and Glasgow 2018 partner local authorities as part of Festival 2018, the cultural programme for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships. Supported by Festival 2018.
The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme, which offers young talent a period of full-time work with the Company to help launch their careers, will this Season include sopranos Lucy Anderson and Sofia Troncoso. Returning to the Company for a second year as Emerging Artists are baritone Alexey Gusev and Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli. The names of a repetiteur and costume trainee will be announced in the Summer.
Emerging Artists perform in a number of this Season’s productions and tours, and in recitals at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, University of Glasgow and University of St Andrews. The Emerging Artists are supported by The Robertson Trust, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Elizabeth Salvesen and Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artist Benefactors.
Scottish Opera Education and Outreach
The Primary Schools Tour, for children in primaries 5 to 7, returns in the Spring and Summer of 2019 offering kids the chance to participate in a high-quality, day-long music theatre workshop, culminating in a performance for parents and guests. The production for this year, entitled 1719!, is set during the turbulence of the Jacobite risings and is from an original score by David Munro, revised, re-orchestrated and with additional music by Alan Penman, with words by Allan Dunn.
A new educational initiative for children in primary 3, The Opera Factory invites its audiences on a whirlwind musical adventure this Spring to find out how opera is made. Allan Dunn is the presenter, and online resources available for teachers are designed to reinforce key learning outcomes.
Celebrating the centenary of the Royal Air Force is a unique project From the Mud to the Stars, which engages with adult groups, schools and universities across Scotland that have connections to the RAF. Interviews, songs, poetry, prose and visual images reflect the participants’ own recollections and experiences. The resulting materials will be curated in to a series of online resources that will be free to access to educational and interest groups on the Scottish Opera website later this year.
Scottish Opera’s Community Choir, open to adults of all ages and conducted by Katy Lavinia Cooper, starts up again in September. The choir sings a mixture of opera, classical, popular, folk and world music, and meets every Wednesday at Theatre Royal Glasgow.
There will be two Dementia Friendly performances of The Magic Flute, in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 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, shortlisted in the Best Community Initiative category of Scotland’s Dementia Awards 2017, continues to meet weekly in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Airdrie. The groups – for people living with dementia and their carers – helps them relax and get creative using music, storytelling, movement and the visual arts.
Weekly Spinning Songs workshops take place next Spring and Summer. In this new intergenerational project for pre-school and primary children and elderly people, participants develop their musical and expressive arts skills to create original songs that reflect life in their local communities.
Insights into opera
Opera Unwrapped performances offer a one-hour opera taster, ideal for anyone curious to learn more about the artform, how a show is created or some backstage secrets. There are Unwrapped performances of Rigoletto, Kátya Kabanová and The Magic Flute. 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.
Paisley Opera House, Seedhill Sports Ground, Paisley
26, 28 Jul 7pm
29 Jul 3pm
Doors open at 6pm/2pm for food and entertainment
Theatre Royal Glasgow
18, 24, 27 Oct 7.15pm
21 Oct 3pm
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
1, 3 Nov 7.15pm
Festival Theatre Edinburgh
9, 15, 17 Nov 7.15pm
11 Nov 3pm
Eden Court, Inverness
20, 22, 24 Nov 7.15pm
Theatre Royal Glasgow
24, 26 Jan 2019 7.15pm
King’s Theatre Edinburgh
31 Jan & 2 Feb 7.15pm
Hackney Empire, London
7, 9 Feb 7.30pm
Theatre Royal Glasgow
12, 14, 16 Mar 2019 7.15pm
Festival Theatre Edinburgh
21, 23 Mar 7.15pm
The Magic Flute
Theatre Royal Glasgow
4, 8, 10, 14, 18 May 2019 7.15pm
12 May 3pm
Dementia Friendly Performance 16 May 3pm
Eden Court Inverness
21, 23, 25 May 7.15pm
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
30 May & 1 Jun 7.15pm
Festival Theatre Edinburgh
5,11,13,15 Jun 7.15pm
9 Jun 3pm
Dementia Friendly Performance 7 Jun 3pm
Opera in Concert
Theatre Royal Glasgow 28 Oct, 3pm
City Halls Glasgow 14 Apr 2019, 3pm
Usher Hall Edinburgh 16 Apr 2019, 7.30pm
Britten The Burning Fiery Furnace
Lammermuir Festival, St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington
21 Sep, 8pm
National Opera Studio
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
1 Feb 2019, 6pm
20 Sep to 27 Oct | Touring to Giffnock, Ayr, Drumnadrochit, Wick, Forres, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Lanark, Helensburgh, Dundee, Inverurie, Laurencekirk, Perth, Dumfries, Musselburgh and St Andrews
5 Feb to 16 Mar | Touring to East Kilbride, Strathmiglo, Cumbernauld, Ardfern, Castlebay, Liniclate, Tarbert, Gairloch, Ardross, Duns, Blairgowrie, Maybole, Durness, Boat of Garten, Aboyne, Whiting Bay, Dunblane and Paisley
Pat of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
7 to 19 Aug (excl. Mon 13 Aug)
10am & 11.30am
6 to 22 Sep | Touring to Aberdeen, Inverness, Perth, Motherwell and Lerwick
Scottish Opera Young Company – Orfeo & Euridice
The Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
6 & 7 Apr 2019
23 May to 30 June & 28 Jul to 26 August | Tour includes Perth Festival of the Arts, Isle of Barra, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Isle of Harris, Isle of Lewis, Ullapool, Isle of Skye, Solas Festival, the Haddington Show, Callander and Festival 2018.
Emerging Artists Recitals
University of St Andrews, Wed 28 Nov
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Fri 7 Dec
University of Glasgow, Thu 10 Jan 2019
Glasgow Mon 22 Oct, 6pm
Aberdeen Fri 2 Nov, 6pm
Edinburgh Mon 12 Nov, 6pm
Inverness Wed 21 Nov, 6pm
Kátya Kabanová Unwrapped
Glasgow Wed 13 Mar 2019, 6pm
Edinburgh Fri 22 Mar, 6pm
The Magic Flute Unwrapped
Glasgow Thu 9 May, 6pm
Inverness Fri 24 May, 6pm
Aberdeen Fri 31 May, 6pm
Edinburgh Thu 6 Jun, 6pm
Glasgow Sat 27 Oct, 6pm
Aberdeen Sat 3 Nov, 6pm
Edinburgh Sat 17 Nov, 6pm
Inverness Sat 24 Nov, 6pm
Glasgow Sat 26 Jan 2019, 6pm
Edinburgh Sat 2 Feb, 6pm
Glasgow Sat 16 Mar, 6pm
Edinburgh Sat 23 Mar, 6pm
The Magic Flute
Glasgow Sat 18 May, 6pm
Inverness Sat 25 May, 6pm
Aberdeen Sat 1 Jun, 6pm
Edinburgh Sat 15 Jun, 6pm
Paisley Sun 29 Jul, 3pm (no Touch Tour)
Glasgow Sat 27 Oct, 7.15pm
Aberdeen Sat 3 Nov, 7.15pm
Edinburgh Sun 11 Nov, 3pm
Inverness Sat 24 Nov, 7.15pm
Glasgow Sat 26 Jan 2019, 7.15pm
Edinburgh Sat 2 Feb, 7.15pm
Glasgow Sat 16 Mar, 7.15pm
Edinburgh Sat 23 Mar, 7.15pm
The Magic Flute
Glasgow Sun 12 May, 3pm
Inverness Sat 25 May, 7.15pm
Aberdeen Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm
Edinburgh Sun 9 May, 3pm
Touch Tours start at 6pm for evening performances and 1.45pm for matinees.
Image: James Glossop