Opera Scotland


Old and new - the wonder of new media and access to history

For many years now, individuals all over the world, both working independently and as members of academic and cultural institutions, have been creating more and more historic material online. Few things seem more important for our culture in days of pandemic and budget cuts.

The quantity and quality of performing arts resources now available online is astonishing. It grows greater every day. Its significance for discovery, preservation and access is huge.

We need to support this shift whenever we can, and to relish every opportunity to draw upon the riches available. 

The great national repositories - the NLS, the V&A, and others are probably too well known to need mention here. However, OperaScotland continues to recommend websites that are perhaps more specialist but that we feel would also be enjoyed by visitors to our site.

Specialist sources

The result of heroic and often unpaid toil, these online are a varied and interesting bunch offering lots of impressive information.

Italy and the History of Opera is angled, as its name suggest, to the historical context of this great art form.

Carl Rosa founded in 1873 the Carl Rosa Opera Company which until its demise in 1960 toured widely throughout the British Isles. It introduced many, including some still living, to their first experience of opera. Fortunately, many of the musical relics of this and other companies survive within the Liverpool-based archive. Carl Rosa Trust is a resource growing in importance as more and more information is added concerning opera performances throughout Britain over that considerable period.

The greatest website for theatre history (including opera) is surely the Arthur Lloyd Music Hall and Theatre History Forum http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/   Arguably this is by far the best site for anyone wanting to start out on an exploration.


'Lost' and forgotten operas

The music scene in Victorian times was lively. Many new operas, popular in their time, long ago fell out of favour. Fortunately, some dedicated individuals and groups are striving to track down scores, recreate performing editions, and have these 'lost' works recorded so that we can listen to them again.

*Retrospect Opera is dedicated to producing recordings of works by British composers from the 18th, 19th and 20th century operas. They deserve every encouragement, and it is a pleasure to listen to these works shown on the Scottish stage.

* www.victorianenglishopera.org/ has all sorts of information about 19th-century British opera with an original English libretto.

* http://www.britishandirishworld.com/ is the major site about Michael William Balfe.

* http://www.victorianoperanorthwest.org/ has recorded several British operas of the 19th century, as well as a particularly fine CD of overtures (see the SOMM entry, below).


Contemporary performance

Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland (or McOpera) was set up by musicians from the Orchestra of Scottish Opera in spring 2012 to generate a diverse range of new opportunities during that part of the year when they are not employed by Scottish Opera.

NOISE (New Opera in Scotland Events) was founded in 2011 to develop the audience for contemporary opera in Scotland - for information about Sloan's Project and Hirta see their website here.

Opera Bohemia is a young Scottish company, brimming with talent and with a declared aim to bring opera to the new generation.  Contact them here.


Check out the website of composer Sally Beamish (Monster, Hagar in the Wilderness) here. 

Find out about composer Julian Wagstaff (The Turing Test, Breathe Freely) here

Also see 


Meetings and discussion

The Wagner Society of Scotland is active at www.wagnerscotland.net. The Society has an active programme and holds interesting events that attract an attentive audience.

OperaScotland is associated with SNNEC (Scottish Network for Nineteenth-Century European Cultures).



* Victorian opera overtures:

* Falstaff (Balfe):

* Robin Hood (Macfarren):

* Lurline (William Vincent Wallace):

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