Opera Scotland

New opera company in Paisley

Posted 12 Apr 2016

Mathew Oliver is just 21 but he has set up what is believed to be Paisley’s first-ever opera company, which will stage Giacomo Puccini’s tune-filled masterpiece La bohème in November.

Mathew, a physics student at Glasgow University, first became interested in opera when he was a pupil at Paisley Grammar school and will now stage a professional, if small-scale, production at the theatre in the Wynd Centre, in School Wynd.

The young impresario from Paisley’s east end said: “I started with musical theatre at school. “But the first opera I ever saw was about six or seven years ago, it was La bohème and it was done by Opera Bohemia, which was great, and it just went on from there.” Mathew is well aware of the huge step he is taking in setting up a company for an art form that is notoriously complex and often very expensive to stage.

“I had always wanted to put a show on but not necessarily an opera,” he said.“But there are more rights issues with musical theatre, and then I thought why not do an opera, because it’s better, it more fun and it’s cheaper.”

The idea for Opera Bamba has its roots in a conversation Mathew had with fellow student Elizabeth Malnar, who is the director of La bohème.“I met her at the Cecelian Society at Glasgow University,” Mathew said.

Opera Bamba has been so called because Mathew thought it sounded like a fun name.

And the young impresario is hoping the public of Paisley will share his enthusiasm for opera and for La bohème, a tale of tragic love with great tunes, in particular.  “It’s the best opera ever written,” he said. “It is fundamentally what opera is about. It is about love, it is loud, the music is gorgeous, the storyline is great and the characters are wonderful.

“It’s all about the singing and the music.

“And it’s the first opera I ever saw, so it has a kind of special resonance.”

Opera Bamba’s production of La bohème can be seen at the Wynd Centre on Thursday and Friday, November 17 and 18, at 7.30pm. 

Acknowledgements to the Daily Record.




Tickets are available now from Print & Copy It, 61 High Street, Paisley, or from www.operabamba,co.uk.




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