Opera Scotland

Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)

According to the website of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD), the history of the Academy can be traced back to the creation of the Glasgow Athenaeum in 1847.

‘The Athenaeum was established to ‘provide a source of mental cultivation, moral improvement and delightful recreation to all classes’ – in today’s terminology, that would be described as a mission statement and it is one to which, even at this distance in time, today’s Academy could happily subscribe. Notably, the Athenaeum’s inaugural address was delivered by Charles Dickens – very appropriate given the great expectations of the far-sighted founding fathers (yes, they were all men) of that new and exciting institution.

From its inception, the Athenaeum offered classes in music and, in 1886, drama was introduced into its curriculum. Music proved to be so successful that, in 1890, a School of Music was formed as a discrete department of the Athenaeum, with its own Principal (Allan Macbeth, a graduate of the Leipzig Conservatorium) and its own prospectus of courses. It was from the Athenaeum’s School of Music that the Scottish National Academy of Music was formed in 1929. Building upon that very firm foundation, the new Academy of Music grew in prestige and, in 1944, its position as an Academy of international standing was recognized by King George VI, who approved that the prefix ‘Royal’ be added to the Academy’s title, making it the ‘Royal Scottish Academy of Music’. At that same time, the then Queen Elizabeth graciously assumed the role of Patron of the Academy, a role in which she continued as Queen Mother until her death in 2002.

These exciting developments were by no means confined to music. 1950 saw the creation in Glasgow of the College of Dramatic Art which had the very clear and focused aim of training actors and directors for the professional theatre. Very quickly however, the College’s curriculum expanded to include technical courses and, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, diploma courses with a strong academic element. In 1962, the College opened the first television studio to be located within a UK drama school – evidence of a pioneering spirit with which the present day Academy is still imbued.

It was in 1968 that the title of Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama was approved which, of course, reflected the happy union of music and drama in a single Academy, dedicated to excellence across the spectrum of the performing arts.

Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Academy continued to develop its course provision and enhance its international reputation. This period saw the introduction of the Academy’s first degree courses which, at that time, were validated by the University of Glasgow. However, in session 1993/94, the Academy became the only UK Conservatoire to be awarded its own degree awarding powers by the Privy Council, a decision which followed an extensive review of the Academy’s approach to the maintenance and promotion of the quality of its courses. The Academy is justifiably very proud of that wonderful achievement – particularly as the Academy remains to this day the only UK Conservatoire to have achieved that particular distinction. Following the achievement of degree awarding powers, all of the Academy’s courses were up-graded to degree level and, over the intervening years, those courses have been refined to keep pace with the demands of the professions. New undergraduate and postgraduate courses have also been added to the Academy’s portfolio so as to meet new and future needs. In session 2000/01, the Academy recruited its first research students which represents another key milestone in the Academy’s development, particularly as the Academy’s approach to research is, in itself, radical in that it is firmly practice-based.

The Academy’s physical development has kept pace with its artistic and academic development. In session 1987/88, the Academy moved from its original Victorian home to the splendid custom built building it occupies today – the building having been opened formally by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1988. A mere ten years later, Dame Janet Baker opened the magnificent Alexander Gibson Opera School, which provides rehearsal and coaching rooms, together with a stunning performance space used by both music and drama students.

In 2003, HRH Prince Charles The Prince of Wales (or the Duke of Rothesay as he is known in Scotland) graciously accepted the Academy’s invitation to succeed his grandmother as Patron of the Academy, thereby maintaining the Academy’s royal patronage for over half a century.

We hope that you have enjoyed this very brief historical note. The Academy has come a long way since the 19th Century Athenaeum and is now a mature, confident and vibrant Conservatoire for the 21st Century with its doors wide open to the talented performers of the world"

Albert Herring
1999 - Albert Herring
2011 - Albert Herring
2003 - Alcina
Ariadne auf Naxos
2009 - Ariadne on Naxos
1997 - Belshazzar
Betrothal in a Monastery (Duenna)
1997 - Betrothal in a Monastery
2002 - Calisto
1999 - Carmen
2006 - Cendrillon
1981 - Columba
Coronation of Poppea
1992 - Incoronazione di Poppea
2005 - Incoronazione di Poppea
Così fan tutte
2000 - Così fan tutte
2008 - Così fan tutte
Cunning Little Vixen
2011 - Cunning Little Vixen
Curlew River
1994 - Curlew River
Dialogues des Carmélites
1992 - Dialogues des Carmélites
2001 - Dialogues des Carmélites
1995 - Elijah
Enfance du Christ
2004 - Enfance du Christ
Eugene Onegin
2008 - Eugene Onegin
2005 - Falstaff
Finta giardiniera
1996 - Finta giardiniera
2006 - Flight
2011 - Enchanted Evening of Opera
2011 - Ian Smith of Stornoway Opera Workshops
2011 - Opera Scenes
2011 - Up Close and Musical
Gianni Schicchi
2002 - Gianni Schicchi
2007 - Gianni Schicchi
Hansel and Gretel
2011 - Hansel and Gretel
Heure Espagnole
2007 - Heure Espagnole
Idomeneo, Re di Creta
2003 - Idomeneo, Re di Creta
Kaspar Hauser - Child of Europe
2010 - Kaspar Hauser - Child of Europe
Love for Three Oranges
2009 - Love for Three Oranges
Marriage of Figaro
1998 - Nozze di Figaro
2004 - Nozze di Figaro
2010 - Nozze di Figaro
2002 - Mavra
Midsummer Night's Dream
2004 - Midsummer Night's Dream
Mozart and Salieri
1990 - Mozart and Salieri
Pelléas et Mélisande
2005 - Pelléas and Mélisande
2009 - Phaedra
Pietra del paragone
2000 - Pietra del paragone
Rape of Lucretia
1983 - Rape of Lucretia
1996 - Rape of Lucretia
2001 - Rape of Lucretia
Riders to the Sea
2002 - Riders to the Sea
2006 - Rinaldo
Scala di seta
1989 - Silken Ladder
1994 - Semele
1997 - Xerxes
Siege of Calais
1998 - Assedio di Calais
Tales of Hoffmann
2009 - Tales of Hoffmann
Turn of the Screw
2000 - Turn of the Screw
Vanishing Bridegroom
2005 - Vanishing Bridegroom
War and Peace
2010 - War and Peace

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