Opera Scotland

Fireworks over Edinburgh Castle

Happy New Year!

Posted 6 Jan 2015

Firstly, every good wish to you all for a happy and stimulating operatic year.

And what about the fireworks in the year ahead?

Scottish Opera have a fascinating spell in prospect, with the undoubted highlight being Sir James Macmillan's Inés de Castro. It is rare that a composer gets the chance to revisit his first opera, and we must count ourselves fortunate indeed that this new production is being mounted, and what is more conducted by the composer himself. 

We have already commented in a recent story of the enterprising productions to be performed  by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  Elsewhere, Scotland's second touring company, Opera Bohemia, is still managing to tour despite the challenge of funding and is offering Scots eight performances of Puccini's great comedy Gianni Schicchi. Scotland's other companies are also continuing to mount productions in what are sure to remain difficult times.

There are further new developments. The Ayrshire Opera Experience is giving three performances of an opera in Scots, based on Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Actéon, called Actéon meets Tam O'Shanter.

But for this bright New Year, OperaScotland is highlighting Byre Opera, the opera company of the Music Centre of St Andrews University. The company was renamed in 2014 to reflect its new base in St Andrews' award-winning Byre Theatre. Originally formed by Michael Downes in 2008 as St Andrews Opera, its aim is to provide singers with opportunities to gain experience, and to offer high-quality operatic performances to St Andrews audiences.

The company's singers are drawn mainly from the undergraduate and postgraduate student bodies, but casts have also included young professionals from throughout the UK, University staff, and singers from the local community. The company's singers have benefited from regular coaching from numerous distinguished international opera singers including the University's Honorary Professor of Singing, Brian Bannatyne-Scott.

Byre Opera's project for 2014–15 will be a fully staged production of Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride, in a new English translation specially produced by Honours Modern Languages students taking an opera translation module. Performances will take place between 12 and 15 June 2015 at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews, and will be accompanied by a professional period-instrument orchestra. 

The image shows fireworks over Edinburgh Castle.

As usual we will be bringing you more news whenever we can.

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