Opera Scotland

New Opera to bring in the New Year

Posted 3 Dec 2015

A brand new full-length opera, created by critically acclaimed novelist Louise Welsh and renowned composer Stuart MacRae, premieres in Scotland before touring the UK and internationally to Canada. The Scottish duo join forces to tell a sordid tale of greed and addiction adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's short story The Bottle Imp.

Co-commissioned and co-produced by Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales, The Devil Inside continues the creative partnership of Welsh and MacRae. Their collaborative work began with the 15-minute opera Remembrance Day (2009), as part of Scottish Opera's Five: 15 Operas Made in Scotland project. Their second co-creation for Scottish Opera was the South Bank Sky Arts Award-winning and Olivier Award nominated Ghost Patrol (2012).

This librettist-composer team offers a fresh perspective on Robert Louis Stevenson's unsettling tale while still preserving the chilling qualities of the original text. A magical bottle with the power to grant your heart's desires must come with a catch; the bottle can only be sold for less than it was bought for.  Whoever is left with the bottle when they die will be cast into hell for all eternity.

James uses the bottle to get all he ever dreamed of, and then sells it. Happily married to Catherine, he feels his life is complete until an awful discovery begins to unravel their life together. As the price of the bottle gets lower, a dangerous game of pass-the-parcel ensues. Greed, despair, unconditional love and a fear of death can force people to take drastic measures in their attempts to trick fate.

Welsh and MacRae again unite with the creative team behind Ghost Patrol – director Matthew Richardson, conductor Michael Rafferty, set and costume designer Samal Blak and lighting designer Ace McCarron. Bringing this contemporary opera to life is a strong ensemble cast including mezzo-soprano Rachel Kelly, who joins Scottish Opera fresh from the Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artists' Programme, tenor Nicholas Sharratt (The Pirates of Penzance 2013 and Ghost Patrol 2012), baritone Steven Page (The Rake's Progress 2011 and The Pirates of Penzance 2013) and Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Ben McAteer (Così fan tutte 2015).

Following performances in Scotland, England and Wales, The Devil Inside will then be presented in Toronto, Canada, by Tapestry Opera. This will be the first time that Scottish Opera has appeared in North America. The trip is funded by the Scottish Government's International Touring Fund. 

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