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Community music development: Let's make an Opera/Little Sweep

Please help us in reconstructing the performance history in Scotland of this work by Benjamin Britten and his librettist Eric Crozier.

From the outset, the underlying concept was to invite local schoolchildren to participate.

However, the original 1949 format with a play followed by an opera seems later to have been abandoned.

Performances in recent times have been of the opera only, the Little Sweep.

Certainly the joint performance in Dundee, seen by Stephen Fraser of OperaScotland, seems...

Posted 2 Mar 2020 | Comments

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Pietro Mascagni's Iris

The Scottish premiere of Pietro Mascagni’s Iris, a gripping tale of innocence lost, is presented by Scottish Opera on Sunday 1 December at City Halls, Glasgow.

Roxana Haines (Opera Highlights 2019) directs this semi-staged work, featuring soloists Helena Dix, Ric Furman (Kátya Kabanová 2019) and Roland Wood (Pelléas and Mélisande 2017). They are joined by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a 40-strong chorus, conducted by Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford.

Set in Japan, Iris...

Posted 5 Nov 2019 | Comments

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Athur Bruce, Charlie Drummond, Jasmine Clark and Michael Papadopolous

Ten years of Emerging Artists

Scottish Opera has welcomed a talented group of Emerging Artists for the 2019/20 Season: Samuel Bordoli, Arthur Bruce, Jasmine Clark, Charlie Drummond, Mark Nathan, Michael Papadopoulos and Lucy Walters. Our photograph (left) by James Glossop shows four of them - Arthur Bruce, Charlie Drummond, Jasmine Clark and Michael Papadopolous.

What is the Emerging Artists programme?

The Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme was launched in 2009 and offers young artists a period of full-time work...

Posted 3 Oct 2019 | Comments

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Rare Double Bill at Haddington

Now is the time for opera fans to get their diaries out. Scottish Opera offers a single opportunity to see two very unusual Italian pieces, each containing just two singing roles.   

When and where

The performances are on Friday 20 September in St Mary's Parish Church, Haddington, at 7.30pm as part of this year's Lammermuir Festival.

The opportunity

Live opera performances can be hard to find and attend. The works are not like the proverbial buses, scheduled so that another comes along in...

Posted 30 Aug 2019 | Comments

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Progress on website

The team behind OperaScotland has been asked many times to consider expanding the range of entries to cover some non-operatic works with vocal content.   These would include concert items performed by important artists who did not appear much, if at all, in opera in Scotland.

We have made a...

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John Calder

Opera fan and influential force in the arts: John Calder

John Calder died on 13 August 2018 at the age of 91.

Most of the obituarists refer to his remarkable career as a publisher, to campaigns for freedom of expression, and to his support for writers and the book trade.

However to the team behind OperaScotland, he will be remembered as one of a...

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Looking for a speaker?

Iain, Peter and Stephen Fraser, co-founders of OperaScotland and researchers into Carl Rosa Opera, offer organisations such as Probus and Arts societies the chance to learn about the origin and development of this website and the influential life of Carl Rosa.

Carl Rosa: from ‘juvenile Paganini’...

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Controlling mission creep: how do you eat an elephant?

At OperaScotland, team members have been very anxious to avoid ‘mission creep’; there is so much history to tackle - from 1755 onwards, and perhaps earlier - that it always seems a struggle to focus on what is relevant. As the answer goes, we have to eat an elephant a mouthful at a time.

Having scoured different sources to come up with cast lists, we have become aware that every entry we make represents a considerable opportunity cost. Every time we enter a cast we could have to think in terms of an hour or more.


Obviously we think mainly in terms of operas performed in Scotland. However, content could be not just opera but also works ‘carried out by opera companies’. So recently when Opera North brought Kiss Me, Kate to Edinburgh we found ourselves posting data. Other musicals have been placed on the site from time to time, as have the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. But the thought of identifying and listing all perforances of 'Messiah', for example, makes us feel queasy.  Surely life is too short for this.

What about other works of vocal and dramatic interest?

Choral works

It seems logical to include listings for Verdi’s Requiem Mass , and Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Were these the first performances in Scotland? The team have been entering performances on the website when the discovery seems of interest. Examples include entries for Mahler’s 8th Symphony and Song of the Earth.  Other examples include Janacek’s Diary of One who Disappeared at Ledlanet and Glagolitic Mass at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Other important performances are being logged.

For instance, we have listed this year’s West Side Story on account of its appearance in the Edinburgh International Festival.

Other events of significance posted recently include Vaughan Williams’s Sea Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis , the Dvorak Requiem and Brahms Requiem and the Bruckner Mass No 3. Check out the links.

Future developments

Look out for more information as time goes by…  Please tell your friends about us.

We continue to post all the information we can about performances past, present and future.  One day, we hope to have listed the date of first performance in Scotland for all the works above and more...

And please, please keep sending information in...

Posted 11 Aug 2019

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What's On2 May - 2 Jun

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Falstaff 2008

Scottish Opera

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Night at the Chinese Opera 2008

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Don Giovanni 2008

English Touring Opera

22 May

Anna Bolena 2008

English Touring Opera

24 May

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