Opera Scotland

Eyes on Dundee as city prepares for new arts festival

Posted 26 Jul 2022

Dundee prepares to launch its newest arts festival, Opera Festival Scotland, offering a new collection of events for the city and drawing in fresh audiences from within the community and further afield. 

Within this inaugural weekend programme are represented six national arts organisations, including Scottish Opera, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Opera Bohemia, English National Opera, Opera for Peace and the National Youth Choir of Scotland, as well as collaborations with local organisations such as Tayside Opera and Culture and Leisure Dundee.

Internationally renowned soprano Janis Kelly (Head of Voice at London's Royal College of Music) also joins the list of events, delivering a masterclass for young singers. 

Opera Festival Scotland will run from 22-25 September, with events taking place at the Caird and Marryat Halls, and with smaller scale free activities in the V&A Museum, Dundee University, Dundee High School and the Wighton Heritage Centre (Wellgate Library).  

Festival Founder and Director, Michael Jamieson, says: 

"A community project like this certainly takes a lot of time and work to put together, but the benefits will be seen.The Festival aims to increase footfall and business to Dundee for the duration of that weekend. The Festival will bring back a much-needed boost for the music community, especially as it links in with Tayside Opera, promoting this artform to youth and other community members where opera may not be easily accessed." 

The Festival’s collaboration with Tayside Opera is especially exciting, as the two groups have teamed up to perform Verdi’s Aida, a large-scale opera and Verdi favourite. This promises to be something special as Aida has not been performed in Dundee in almost twenty years.

Festival goers can enjoy three productions, including Verdi’s Aida (in concert), The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart, and Highlights by Scottish Opera. 

The Festival also introduces two new national singing competitions; the Young Artists Singing Competition with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, which received over 100 applications from singers across the UK, and the 30+ non-professional singing competition which celebrates talented community singers, who chose an alternative career to music. 

There are also several free events, including a careers workshop for music students at Dundee University, a performance costume and make-up workshop with the V&A Museum, and a presentation on the history of opera in Scotland. 

Valuing the importance of education, the Festival has created a series of educational workshops and are booked to visit Dundee primary schools to give pupils the chance to experience opera. Pupils will also be invited to attend festival performances for free. 

Eager to connect with and promote the city further, the Festival has secured partnerships with several local Dundee businesses, including the Apex and Malmaison hotels, Discovery Point and Verdant Works. Festival organisers have deliberately kept slots free in the festival programme for visitors to go into the city to enjoy the other attractions Dundee has to offer, encouraging visitors to stay longer and support the local economy.

The entire project was set-up and organised by enthusiastic members of the community who love music and want to see Dundee thrive. The team of volunteers include experienced Event Managers, music teachers, law graduates and musicians, who have spent the last three and a half years completing dozens of funding applications, letters to potential sponsors, and other ways of sourcing support, all with the aim of delivering a project that community members can enjoy and participate in.

Festival organisers hope the success of the project will attract further classical arts events to the city, and encourage locals to attend and participate in other expressive arts organisations in the area.

Patron of the festival, Master of the Queens Music, and fellow Scot, Judith Weir, says, 

“A grass roots opera festival arising out of the great city of Dundee is a thrilling prospect – let’s make it happen!"




Further details of who is involved, what events are taking place, and ticket information, can be found via the website   WWW.OPERAFESTIVALSCOTLAND.CO.UK 

The website also details the friends and supporters who have sponsored the event. 


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