Music, Opera

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War and peace announced as themes for Edinburgh International Festival 2014

18 Mar 2014

Programme highlights includes works involving The Kronos Quartet and Handspring Puppet Company

War and peace, conflict and conciliation are the grand themes being tackled in Jonathan Mills’ final year as director of the Edinburgh International Festival. The 2014 programme, announced today, explores music, dance, theatre and other arts not just…

Interview: American soprano Angel Blue set for 2013 Edinburgh Festival with American Lulu

15 Jul 2013

Young opera singer in production of unfinished opera relocated to jazz bars of Deep South

When American soprano Angel Blue isn’t performing or rehearsing operas, there are two places she would rather be. First is in her Toyota Avalon, cruising about her hometown of Los Angeles. ‘I miss my car so much when I’m here working in the UK,’ she…

Interview: baritone David Stephenson on Verdi's Macbeth

18 Mar 2014

Scottish Opera's revival of the Shakespearean tale is to be staged again by Dominic Hill

Macbeth, the ‘Scottish play’ that is one of Shakespeare’s very finest tragedies, has been relentlessly adapted for film, television, novels and comic strips. But Verdi’s operatic version is one that should unfailingly hit the audience between the eyes.

Louise Welsh recommends... Scottish Opera's Don Pasquale

21 Jan 2014

Donizetti's comic opera has been updated to the generational battles of the 1960s

Let’s play word association; ‘Comic opera?’ ‘Not funny’. The phrase ‘Comic opera’ conjures images of rude noises on the bassoon and fat ladies falling over. Don Pasquale is an old man who determines to find himself a young wife, so far so Donald McGill…

Chemistry-themed opera Breathe Freely sheds light on the story of Stanislaw Hempel

21 Oct 2013

The Polish independence fighter came to Edinburgh to undertake scientific research in WWII

Apparently, listening to music releases a chemical in the brain that puts us in a good mood. How apt then that Edinburgh University’s School of Chemistry celebrates its 300th birthday with a brand new short opera. Scottish composer Julian Wagstaff’s…

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Scottish Chamber Orchestra marks 40 years with Berlioz's Beatrice and Benedict

25 Sep 2013

The opera opens a new season, with performances from Llŷr Williams and Christian Zacharias

For 40 years, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra has been bringing the very best of orchestral music to Edinburgh and Glasgow doorsteps, as well as much further afield. Their education work over has been rightly lauded for its pioneering ambition…

Dido and Aeneas/Bluebeard’s Castle - Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 24 Aug 2013

27 Aug 20134 stars

Oper Frankfurt present a contrasting programme of warm, doomed love and psychological nightmare

In combining Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Oper Frankfurt have created a deeply powerful theatrical and musical experience for their audiences. Both productions are provocative but in quite different ways. While Barrie…

Last One Out

23 Aug 20134 stars

A non-traditional opera featuring text from Johnny McKnight and music from Gareth Williams

Last One Out is hardly an opera in the traditional sense – it’s more of a poignant, highly evocative mystery tale that happens to be sung. In any case, much of its music comes from an onstage radio – in the form of composer Gareth Williams’ masterful…

New Scottish Opera production of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman

18 Mar 2013

Opera relocated to Wagner's origianllocation of Scotland’s North East

If he hadn’t had such a keen eye for nifty marketing, Richard Wagner’s opera The Flying Dutchman could have put Scotland as firmly on the geographic opera map as Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Both operas date from 1839, a time when Gothic…

Programme for the Edinburgh International Festival 2013 puts artists and technology centre-stage

12 Mar 2013

Tod Machover, the Wooster Group and Oper Frankfurt among the EIF programme highlights

A crowd sourced orchestral work by boundary breaker Tod Machover is just one of the many highlights of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival programme. Set over three weeks this August, the EIF’s line-up includes an homage to Allen Ginsberg with…

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Profile: Scottish Opera - Scotland’s national opera company

7 Nov 2012

Facts and statistics on Scottish Opera as it celebrates its 50th anniversary

Founded in 1962 by Sir Alexander Gibson, Scotland’s national opera company celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2012/13. Not without its dramas off-stage as well as on-stage over the years, Scottish Opera is one of five national performing companies that…

Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde: Act I - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Sun 30 Sep

17 Oct 20124 stars

The SSO bring intense depth and exquisite insight to Wagner’s tremendous score

Kicking off their 2012/13 season with an all-star concert performance of the first act of one of the world’s most celebrated operas, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra once again proved themselves to be amongst the UK’s leading orchestras. Featuring…

Theatre, dance and opera highlights in Scotland for autumn & winter 2012

31 Aug 2012

2012 and 2013 programmes from Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera and National Theatre of Scotland

The National Theatre of Scotland is nowhere and everywhere. Envisioned as an institution with no bricks and mortar headquarters, the NTS has used its resources to support playwrights and performers and to work with a wide range of collaborators to bring…

Zoe Strachan on The Lady from the Sea - interview

22 Aug 2012

The playwright is collaborating with Craig Armstrong on the production for Scottish Opera

Five years ago, Scottish Opera embarked on a brave new venture called Five:15. The plan was to put together contemporary Scottish writers and composers and commission them to come up with five new 15 minute long operas. Altogether, 15 short operas were…

Glasgow's Theatre Royal to get £11.5m refit

8 Aug 2012

The building, owned by Scottish Opera, is to be opened up as 'a social hub'

Glasgow’s Theatre Royal will receive a £11.5m refit in a bid to transform the historic theatre space into a world-class venue. The redevelopment of the 19th century building includes plans for a new entrance, foyer and roof garden, as well as new bars…

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Opera North bring The Makropulos Case to 2012 Edinburgh International Festival

11 Jul 2012

Janáček opera features soprano Ylva Kihlberg and Tom Cairns

As Opera North prepare to bring us a new version of The Makropulos Case, Kate Molleson recalls the history of a tale whose central character is either a nihilistic vixen or feminist icon

Twenty top shows at the 2012 Edinburgh Festivals

11 Jul 2012

Highlights from the Fringe, Book and International Festivals

Having scanned the 23.6m shows, exhibitions and events across the festival in late July, August and early September, we pluck out the ones that simply cannot be missed

Scottish Opera celebrates 50th anniversary

25 May 2012

Five facts about the company

Over its 50 years of existence, Scottish Opera has staged 223 new productions. Their furthest flung performance took place in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1970 – a four-night run of The Turn of the Screw directed by Anthony Besch. Among the famous faces who…

Scottish Opera revive Besch's celebrated Tosca adaptation

25 Apr 2012

The new production stars Susannah Glanville and José Ferrero

Described as a ‘shabby little shocker’ by one of America’s leading musicologists, Puccini’s Tosca has been a success with audiences the world over since its premiere in Rome in 1900. From the countless productions of it, one which has had particularly…

Edinburgh International Festival 2012 programme launched

14 Mar 2012

Highlights include Mariinsky Ballet, TEAM and Camille O'Sullivan

The Edinburgh International Festival has unveiled its extensive 2012 programme. With nearly 200 different performances to choose from, we’ve selected some dance, opera, classical music and theatre highlights you won't want to miss. NVA's Speed of…

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Hansel and Gretel

27 Jan 2012

RSNO and Scottish Opera in new translation of opera

Irish soprano Ailish Tynan is proving a hit with Scottish audiences. After joining the RSNO for a highly successful Viennese New Year, she’s now back to Glasgow and Edinburgh to work with Scottish Opera, taking the role of Gretel in their brand new…

Pass the Spoon

21 Nov 20114 stars

Shrigley's food-based opera aims for pure entertainment and succeeds

The most David Shrigley has claimed of Pass the Spoon is that it's meant to be entertaining. It’s mock-modesty, but in Shrigley & Co's defence, they've succeeded. The plot, for there is one, is like a mash-up of Ready Steady Cook and Terry & June…

Pass the Spoon: The cast of characters in David Shrigley's opera

28 Oct 2011

The artist on collaborating on the musical extravaganza

Pass the Spoon came about because I was invited to make a project with (composer) David Fennessy and (director) Nick Bone. They wanted to collaborate with someone who would write an opera libretto. I’ve never been to an opera but I was interested…

Writing an opera - Five creative types who have written a opera

21 Oct 2011

Stewart Lee, Damon Albarn, Armando Iannucci, Paul McCartney

Stewart Lee The ‘comedian’s comedian’ took some time out a decade back to dash off Jerry Springer: The Opera, a paean to the trashy US talk show host and his disciples. The show’s eye-wateringly profane libretto, depictions of Biblical figures…

Scottish Opera take new work on tour

24 Aug 2011

Triple bill of satire and Greek mythology

Scottish Opera goers are spoiled for choice in early September as the company puts on no less than three different productions in the space of just over a week with one of them, Orpheus in the Underworld, then heading off on tour all around Scotland.