Ventures such as this are not the efforts of a single individual but are co-created. Here we offer thanks to all those who have supplied comments, suggestions and memories as we set out on this project, Opera Scotland.
Alex Reedijk, Helen Ireland and all at Scottish Opera; everyone at the Edinburgh International Festival; everyone at RSAMD; Clare Conway at ENO; the archivists at the Royal Opera House and very many others past and present – John Calder, Sheila Colvin, Duncan Black and Robin Richardson. Our father and mother too, enthusiasts about the transforming powers of the arts, who took us as children to a wide range of performances and exhibitions.
It is not always easy to recall much about the origin of projects. Opera Scotland is no exception. We know we discussed plans in 2007 in some depth, the original idea dating from much earlier. Serious work finally started two years ago. As we can only work on it part time, the pace has seemed slow. The passage of time has brought often heated debate as the work develops. There have been the inevitable changes of direction and emphasis not to mention enthusiasm. But we three brothers, Iain, Peter and Stephen, opera-lovers all, were frustrated by the decline in the number of opera performances available and apparently hostile attitudes in Scotland towards the high arts. Additional motivation came because of a statement said to have been made by a Scottish politician to the effect that opera is not really part of Scottish culture. For us, growing up with Scottish Opera (and the Edinburgh International Festival) as we did, access to opera is very definitely part of our culture, not just because we are Europeans but because opera is part of world culture.
Frustration came also on a more practical level as in our busy lives we found we had missed performances through the 'clutter' of information overload. Nowadays newspapers routinely fail to list forthcoming performances, while other sources of information appear in so many forms. Unless you have subscribed to a mailing list or an email listing such detail is easily overlooked. Opera, being a minority interest, inevitably suffers more than most.
We see this website as forming 'one stop' where you can find details of all forthcoming performances. As time goes on, too, we've been developing an archive. Initially we were trying to identify the dates of Scottish premieres, which we soon realised meant the first stretch of the long road to building a database of opera performances in Scotland. This work is now well advanced although very much behind the scenes. We now plan this will lead to a series of publications telling the story of opera in Scotland company by company and therefore through performance history.
We hope that our aims will be appreciated by others and that this site and its services will continue to support the development of opera in Scotland. But it will only be as good as the contribution from its readers allows. Your comments and contributions are welcome.