Opera Scotland

Pagliacci

Operatic comedy, tragedy and opportunity coming to Paisley

Posted 25 Sep 2017

Opera Bamba

Paisley-based company Opera Bamba is about to perform its first opera L'Elisir d'amore in November. Opera Bamba is one of a number of small scale opera startups in Scotland, another welcome new grassroots development.

Scottish Opera

But quite naturally, most attention must be given to Scottish Opera's plans. The largest performing arts company in Scotland is moving off the beaten track next year.

Paisley has been chosen as the site for their production of Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci (The Clowns) in July 2018. The performances will take place at the city’s Seedhill Playing Fields in a huge tented structure. Scottish Opera is inviting local people from across Renfrewshire and beyond to be part of the performing company of up to two hundred.

Scottish Opera’s Music Director Stuart Stratford will conduct and Bill Bankes-Jones, founder of Tête à Tête Opera, will direct the promenade production, which is being specially created to be staged outwith the walls of Scottish Opera’s usual theatre venues.

The performances of Pagliacci will be on 26, 28 and 29 July in Paisley, which has been shortlisted for UK City of Culture in 2021.

Former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Nadine Livingston (La bohème, 2017) sings the role of Nedda. Making his Scottish Opera debut, Trinidadian tenor Ronald Samm will sing the role of her husband Canio. Robert Hayward (Bluebeard’s Castle, 2017) will return to the Scottish Opera stage as Tonio, the fool.

Stuart Stratford said: ‘Sometimes the best place to perform a piece is outside the theatre. An opera like Pagliacci is crying out for a different approach – I can’t think of a better way to present it, and to capture its energy, than with hundreds of performers from all walks of life.’

Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera’s General Director said: ‘Since Stuart Stratford began his tenure at Scottish Opera as Music Director, he has been particularly keen to do a site-specific opera so I am thrilled we are coming to Paisley with what promises to be a spectacular production of Pagliacci. We are looking forward to getting local people involved in this exciting event – you don’t need to have any experience to take part, just lots of enthusiasm!’

Bill Bankes-Jones added: ‘I'm absolutely thrilled to be part of this pioneering project, and can't think of anywhere better than Paisley to stage Pagliacci in conjunction with the formidable forces of Scottish Opera.  Creating a world where some performers visit a community mid-festival will be magical in Paisley, with its huge cultural heritage and the wonderful Sma' Shot Day to trigger our imaginations.  I can't wait to see how Paisley and Scottish Opera collaborate and inspire each other through this project.’

City of Culture Bid

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: ‘We are thrilled Scottish Opera is bringing this production to Paisley next year. Paisley's bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 aims to bring some of the finest artists from Scotland and beyond to Paisley to work with our homegrown talent and for our local audiences to enjoy.

'We have some fantastic choirs here in Paisley - at the last count there were 26 - and I am sure they will relish the chance to be part of this amazing production of one of the world's best-loved operas. At the same time, we are excited at the chance to make use of a site which has never hosted anything of this kind – our bid aims to use every corner of Paisley to deliver the benefits of culture to those who stand to gain most, and this is a wonderful way to explore how that will work.’

If you wish to find out more or take part in the production, contact Donna Macpherson: donna.macpherson@scottishopera.org.uk or 0141 332 9559.

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