Opera Scotland

Sleepers awake! Opera takes the train

Posted 29 Jul 2017

Southward-bound sleeper passengers recently had an unexpected experience. An opera was given its world premiere on a sleeper train between Aberdeen and London. Tenor Robert Lewis (pictured) performed on the overnight train service between Aberdeen and London.

Belongings, inspired by items of luggage carried by railway passengers, was performed Monday night.

It is the first time an opera has been staged on board a Caledonian Sleeper service.

The pop-up piece was performed in the lounge car of the train where Robert Lewis was accompanied by cellist Zosia Jagodzinska.

Music was by Samual Bordoli and libretto by Bill Bankes-Jones.

The event came as part of a collaboration between soundfestival, based in the north-east of Scotland, and London's Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival.

Bankes-Jones, director of Tête à Tête, said: "Our performances on the sleeper was designed to welcome audiences from two of the countries' most creative cities to sample new music and works."

Fiona Robertson, director of soundfestival, added: "We were delighted to be able to take this initiative forward with special performances on the sleeper.

"We hope hearing this opera will encourage people to come and enjoy more performances both at Tete a Tete and soundfestival."

Future opportunities

There will be another chance to experience the opera on the sleeper overnight on 9-10 November.

The piece will also be performed as a pop-up work at King's Cross station throughout the Tête à Tête festival, which runs until 13 August, and in Deeside at soundfestival later in the year.

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