Tag Archives: Stirling

NEWS: OPERA HIGHLIGHTS TOURS TO 17 VENUES ACROSS SCOTLAND THIS AUTUMN

On September 12, Scottish Opera’s hugely popular Opera Highlights tour kicks off with four singers and a pianist journeying to 17 venues the length and breadth of Scotland, from Kirkwall in the north to Stranraer in the south.

Travelling the highways and byways by land, sea and air, the Autumn tour begins in Motherwell before heading to Stirling, Stonehaven, Tain, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Oban, Galashiels, Perth, Dunfermline, Thurso, Kirkwall, Ellon, Stranraer, Greenock and Musselburgh.

The setting for director Roxana Haines’ production of Opera Highlights is a beautiful garden party, and features a playlist of operatic classics and must-hear rarities, curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark. Highlights include Delibes’ ‘Flower Duet’, Vaughan Williams’ ‘Blue larkspur in a garden’ and many more from the likes of Mozart, Lehár and Scottish Opera Composer in Residence, Samuel Bordoli.

Pianist/Music Director Ian Shaw is joined by Scottish Opera Emerging Artist soprano Charlie Drummond; mezzo-soprano Martha Jones; tenor Alex Bevan and baritone Mark Nathan, who is also a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist this Season.

The same show returns in Spring 2020, with a different cast: soprano Zoe Drummond; mezzo-soprano Jade Moffat; tenor Andrew Irwin and baritone Arthur Bruce, The Robertson Trust Scottish Opera Emerging Artist who is a former member of Scottish Opera Young Company. It will tour another 17 venues around Scotland from February 4: Bathgate, Birnam, Markinch, Campbeltown, Bowmore, Arrochar, Bunessan, Arisaig, Beauly, Cumnock, Castle Douglas, Callander, Lerwick, Peebles, Fochabers, Alford and Rutherglen. In total, this Season’s Opera Highlights is visiting 34 venues.

Roxana Haines, who is directing Scottish Opera’s Fox-tot! at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer, said: ‘This year’s Opera Highlights cast cordially invite you to a party on your doorstep, set throughout luscious gardens and magical flora and fauna of Opera. The stage has been set, decorations unpacked and the guests have all arrived but, the only problem is, no one quite knows who or why we’re celebrating…

‘As the evening progresses, the connections between our characters unravel through music from the likes of Handel, Donizetti and Mozart, and lighter pieces from Gilbert & Sullivan and Vaughan Williams as well as a new work by Samuel Bordoli. Prepare for charm, magic and love in all its operatic forms.’

Scottish Opera’s General Director, Alex Reedijk, said: ‘I am delighted that Scottish Opera will be touring what promises to be another sensational Opera Highlights to 34 venues across Scotland in the Autumn and Spring. This longstanding and much acclaimed commitment by the Company to presenting work across Scotland is part of what makes us Scottish Opera, and is welcomed by our far-flung audiences as a lovely operatic tonic! Opera Highlights also serves to introduce young singers to our audiences, and greatly assists their development as artists alongside presenting the joys of opera and singing to our widely spread audience.’
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Opera Highlights Autumn Tour Cast and Creative Team

Soprano Charlie Drummond*
Mezzo-soprano Martha Jones
Tenor Alex Bevan
Baritone Mark Nathan*

Pianist/Music Director Ian Shaw
Director Roxana Haines
Composer in Residence Samuel Bordoli*

*Scottish Opera Emerging Artist

Performance Diary

Motherwell Theatre, Motherwell
Thu 12 Sep, 7.30pm

Albert Halls, Stirling
Sat 14 Sep, 7.30pm

Stonehaven Town Hall, Stonehaven
Tue 17 Sep, 7.30pm

Duthac Centre, Tain
Thu 19 Sep, 7.30pm

Macphail Centre, Ullapool
Sat 21 Sep, 7.30pm

An Lanntair, Stornoway
Tues 24 Sep, 7.30pm

Aros Centre, Portree
Thu 26 Sep, 7.30pm

Corran Halls, Oban
Sat 28 Sep, 7.30pm

Volunteer Hall, Galashiels
Tues 1 Oct, 7.30pm

Perth Theatre, Perth
Thu 3 Oct, 7.30pm

Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
Sat 5 Oct, 7.30pm

Thurso High School, Thurso
Tue 8 Oct, 7.30pm

Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall
Thu 10 Oct, 7.30pm

Haddo House, Ellon
Sat 12 Oct, 7.30pm

Ryan Centre, Stranraer
Tues 15, 7.30pm

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
Thu 17 Oct, 7.30pm

The Brunton, Musselburgh
Sat 19 Oct, 7.30pm

REVIEW: Aladdin – macrobert, Stirling

Scotland’s undisputed King of Panto, Johnny McKnight serves up the first treat of the holiday season with his disco-tastic, glitterball spangled version of Aladdin at the macrobert in Stirling.

There are afros, flares and platforms a-plenty as well as enough synthetic fabric to start a disco inferno as we boogie on down to Discotopia. Along with her two kids Wishee Washee (Robert Jack) and Aladdin (Dawn Sievewright), dear old Marge O’Reen Twankey (Andy Clark) runs the last launderette in town, the Dream Cuisine and Dry Clean, an establishment which does a natty turn in pies and bridies as well as washing and ironing.

Marge’s eldest Aladdin is in love with the campest prince in town (Martin McCormick) and as it ever was in Pantoland, the path of true love never runs smooth. In “the worst case of panto romance ever seen”, Aladdin and the blonde hair-flicking, disco-posing object of her affections encounter opposition and obstacles in the form of the Prince’s class-conscious mother (Helen McAlpine) and evil “Aunty” Lilith (a spectacularly clad and suitably menacing Julie Brown), and of course there’s the small matter of a rusty old lamp hidden in a deep dark cave.

As with the best pantomimes there’s as much here for adults as children, there are canny contemporary cultural and political references for the grown ups and the requisite number of slapstick, bum and bogie jokes for the teenies. The music too, manages to include the widest demographic, from 70’s disco and pop classics such as: “Lost in Music”, “Night Fever” and “We Built This City” albeit this time on sausage rolls not rock ‘n’ roll! through current hits: Pharrell’s “Happy” and a knock-out version of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” from Mrs. Twankey ( an hysterical Andy Clark) to the ubiquitous “Let it Go” from Frozen, which as well as being a sing-a-long favourite with the young audience, provides the perfect vehicle to highlight Dawn Sievewright’s stunning vocals.

McKnight eschews the ordinary panto fare and the writing remains clever and on-point throughout, never needing to resort to cheap smuttiness or crudity to get the laughs. There’s also an excellent take on the famous Abbot and Costello “Who’s on First” sketch, whose wordplay goes down a treat with the young audience,proving that classic writing never fails to be funny.

Complementing the writing is a truly outstanding cast led by some of Scotland’s most highly regarded and accomplished theatre actors. Andy Clark as our beloved dame, deserves a medal, not only for his comedy skills but for agreeing to wear Marge O’Reen’s eye-watering ensembles, all of which seem to feature a bikini!, each entrance is accompanied by gasps and in one instance a covering of the eyes in disbelief at what we are seeing. Robert Jack (a familiar face from the much-loved Gary, Tank Commander) is a revelation, his timing and physical comedy skills are of the highest order, managing to raise laughs even when he’s not at the centre of the action. Dawn Sievewright is a fabulously feisty Aladdin and her vocals are world class. Hilarious support is provided by Helen McAlpine (The Queen/Jeanie) and Martin McCormick (Prince Jasper) – there really is not a weak link anywhere in this production.

Mention must be made of the quality of the set design by Karen Tennent and the seamless transitions between the multiple changes, which would put most larger theatres to shame.

There’s no magic carpet here: “we’ve no got the budget”, but this Aladdin is all the better for it. This truly is a Christmas cracker, it’s a witty, wonderful, disco-tastic spectacular for the whole family – the perfect start to the festive season.

Runs until 4th January 2015

Tickets available here: http://www.macrobert.org/event/aladdin/