Posted 25 Sep
Alex Reedijk, General Director of Scottish Opera, spoke to Opera Scotland, the website for listings and performance history, about the forthcoming season and future developments. "You will enjoy both Rodelinda and Don Giovanni, strong stories strongly told," said Alex.
Full of enthusiasm, Alex talked of the significance of collaborative productions. "We see this as an important part of our strategy, in a world where core funding is not guaranteed to continue at its present level. Maybe one day we will know our core funding four or five years ahead, but I doubt it. We need to build up income from other sources and find ways of sharing costs too, and joint productions are one way to do this. We need to develop them further." An excellent example was the company's recent collaboration, Pirates of Penzance. Scottish Opera, said Alex, had been very happy with the production and the reaction of critics and public to it.
Dance Derby and Seven Deadly Sins offered other examples of the same philosophy in action. Kally Lloyd-Jones of Company Chordelia has now directed movement and dance in a number of Scottish Opera Productions, in which she demonstrated her strong sense of story-telling.
"We're continuing to develop audiences and work with youngsters" said Alex. "Attracting more young people is a priority for all performing arts companies." Opera offers particular challenges to all opera and classical music companies, especially in overcoming perceptions of image and price. Scottish Opera's scheme of discounts for the under 26s had been conceived before Alex took charge. However he and his new team thought it was important, and raised its profile and promoted it on the basis it was very much a long term initiative. Intuitively they had thought that this young group could be increased to reach ten per cent of the audience. Last year, for the Magic Flute, eleven per cent of the audience were under 26. Other developments that might be more appealing to a younger generation might be webcasting of the small scale touring opera. This was under consideration.
We then turned to the Edinburgh International Festival, and asked about the new Director designate, Fergus Linehan. "I haven't met him yet" said Alex, "but I've heard good reports of him and look forward to a meeting". Plans are already in place for Scottish Opera to have a continuing place at the Fringe at Paterson's Land. Edinburgh has many Festivals, and Scottish Opera's offerings clearly form one of them.
Talking of casting, we noted Lisa Milne is performing in Don Giovanni. We expressed the hope that other opportunities will be found for the fine Scottish singers building international reputations. Impressive as it is to see them on stage at the Met, Bayreuth and others across the world, it would be nice to think that more opportunities could be found for them in Scotland.
"It's all about budgets and the ability to plan a very long way ahead," explained Alex. Let us hope sponsors can be found to fund appearances here!
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