Opera Scotland

Opera Highlights 2013Scottish Opera

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Four singers and a pianist visited 17 venues across the length and breadth of Scotland, ranging from Barra, Bathgate and Banchory to Hawick, Tarbert, Killin and more. As usual, the extracts were selected by Derek Clark, Scottish Opera's Head of Music. The script and direction were in the hands of Adrian Osmond.

This anniversary year, the programme was strongly structured to reflect works performed by Scottish Opera during their first fifty years.  Items from eighteen composers were included, among them established favourites from Verdi's La traviata, Bizet's Carmen, Rossini's Barber of Seville, and Sullivan's Gondoliers. There were also lesser known pieces and an entirely new one, the world premiere of a work by Gareth Williams, Scottish Opera's composer in residence. Hand is a duet with words by Johnny McKnight. The presentation of this newly composed work for soprano and tenor naturally caught the attention of the press.  A striking piece (the story of a first date), it was well presented and brought a modern perspective (including texting) to the age old story of a romantic encounter.

Our Opera Scotland reviewer, who saw the fifteenth performance, in Strathmiglo, was struck most by the Executioner's Song from James MacMillan's Inés de Castro, still vividly remambered more than a decade after its launch. It was strongly sung by Gary Griffiths, whose diction left nothing to the imagination, but the audience on this occasion failed to offer up the applause the quality of the performance warranted, doubtless due to the revolting details given.  The Tipsy Waltz, from La Périchole by Offenbach quickly restored a warmer atmosphere. The pianist and musical director Claire Haslin gave a remarkable performance and stylishly reflected the variety of music presented. All in all this made for a splendid evening offering much to enjoy.

Prominent in the packed audience, resplendent in his chain of office, was the Provost of Fife, Jim Leishman, once a prominent footballer, then manager of Dunfermline FC, and still a local celebrity. Members of the local branch of Friends of Scottish Opera also turned out in force.

This 17 date tour, combined with the main stage productions and two batches of performances of La traviata in autumn and spring, mean that for the fiftieth anniversary season (lasting to June 2013) the company will have given performances within a 30 minute drive of 90% of Scotland's population.

The programme was as follows:

Verdi: 'Libiamo ne' lieti calici'  La traviata.

Mozart: 'O guarda sorella' Così fan tutte.

Mozart: 'O wie ängstlich' Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.

Britten: 'How beautiful it is' Turn of the Screw.

Tchaikovsky: Onegin's aria  Eugene Onegin.

Weber: 'Over the bright blue waters' Oberon.

Bizet: 'L'amour est un oiseau rebelle' Carmen.

Puccini: 'In un coupé' La bohème.

Verdi: 'Sul fil d'un soffio etesio' Falstaff.

Smetana: 'O Zdenek!' Dalibor.

Handel: 'Svegliatevi nel core' Giulio Cesare.

J Strauss: 'Drink, my darling, drink with me' Die Fledermaus.


Williams: Hand.

Rossini: 'Dunque io son' Barber of Seville.

Rimsky-Korsakov: 'Oh pale blue dawn' Golden Cockerel.

Mozart: 'Deh, vieni alla finestra' Don Giovanni.

Sullivan: 'A regular, royal Queen' Gondoliers.

MacMillan: Executioner's Song Inés de Castro.

Offenbach: Tipsy Waltz La Périchole.

Weill: 'Lonely house' Street Scene.

Bernstein: 'Make our garden grow' Candide.

The perfomance was rounded off with a sparkling delivery of Noel Coward's classic 'Don't put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington' adapted to include suitable operatic references.

Performance Cast


Eleanor Dennis


Katie Grosset


Nicky Spence


Duncan Rock (Jan 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29, 31; Feb 2, 5, 7, 9, 12)

Gary Griffiths (Feb 14, 16, 19, 21, 23)

Production Cast

Conductor & Pianist

Ruth Wilkinson (Jan 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29, 31; Feb 16)

Claire Haslin (Feb 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 19, 21, 23)


Adrian Osmond

Performance DatesOpera Highlights 2013

Map List

Regal Community Theatre | Bathgate

17 Jan, 19.30

Eastgate Arts Centre, Peebles | Peebles

19 Jan, 19.30

Heart of Hawick, Tower Mill | Hawick

22 Jan, 19.30

Ryan Centre | Stranraer, Wigtownshire

24 Jan, 19.30

Village Hall, Tarbert | Tarbert

26 Jan, 19.30

Village Hall, Bowmore | Isle of Islay

29 Jan, 19.30

McLaren Hall, Killin | Killin

31 Jan, 19.30

Castlebay Hall | Castlebay, Isle of Barra

2 Feb, 19.30

Balivanich Hall | Benbecula Isle

5 Feb, 19.30

Community Centre, Loch Torridon | Torridon

7 Feb, 19.30

Village Hall, Durness | Durness

9 Feb, 19.30

One Touch Theatre, Eden Court | Inverness

12 Feb, 19.30

Woodend Barn | Banchory, Kincardineshire

14 Feb, 19.30

Arts Centre, Birnam | Dunkeld

16 Feb, 20.00

Public Hall, Strathmiglo | Strathmiglo, Fife

19 Feb, 19.30

Public Hall, Crawfordjohn | Biggar

21 Feb, 19.30

Town Hall, Rutherglen | Rutherglen

23 Feb, 19.30

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