Opera Scotland

Pop-Up Opera 2020Scottish Opera

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Following the Scottish Government’s update on 20 August to the route map out of the Covid-19 crisis, Scottish Opera announced the Pop-up Opera roadshow, with three free shows on offer. These were cleverly re-written 25-minute versions of the full operas, A Little Bit of Don Giovanni and A Little Bit of The Gondoliers, with an entirely new work, The Song of The Clyde, created especially for families.

The tour kicked off on Friday 4 September at The Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock before travelling to: Platform Theatre in Easterhouse, The Riverside Museum in Glasgow, Eden Court in Inverness, Heart of Hawick in the Borders, Slessor Gardens in Dundee,  Edinburgh Zoo and the Museum of Flight in East Lothian. Further dates and locations were announced as details are confirmed. Tickets were available to reserve from Thursday 27 August.  All seats were free of charge, but capacity was limited by the requirement for social spacing.

The shows were performed in a specially adapted trailer to create a portable stage to adhere with social distancing guidelines for the performers.  Past productions of Pop-up Operas have accommodated both the audience and performers inside the mobile Theatre Royal trailer.  This time performances are al fresco with a covered stage and audiences out front in the open air, seated in social/household bubbles - circles of plastic tubng properly spaced, and colour-coded according to capacity.

The shows are brought to life by storyteller Allan Dunn, sopranos Sarah Power and Stephanie Stanway; baritones Aidan Edwards and Andrew McTaggart, with instrumentalists Andrew Drummond Huggan, Sasha Savaloni and Ian Watt.  Each work was illustrated by a series of colourful illustrations by Tim Gravestock, Otto Von Beech and Iain Piercy.


The OperaScotland team caught up with the show on Friday,  25 September at the Dundee venue.  The Slessor Gardens have bedded down well as a location for open-air entertainments.  The last couple of summers they have played host to several high profile rock concerts.  The location is in the newly-created waterfront area, a couple of hundred yards south of the looming bulk of the Caird Hall, and a similar distance north-east of the equally recent V & A building.

There were three performances, A Little Bit of Don Giovanni at 12:00 and 2:30, with A Little Bit of the Gondoliers at 4:30.

We saw the first of these, initially assailled by a bitter wind which quickly gave way to warm sunshine.  The compression of Mozart's epic drama by Derek Clark was extremely clever, with sections of the arias despatched neatly by Stephanie Stanway (doubling as Elvira and Zerlina) and Aidan Edwards, triple cast as Leporello and the Commendatore as well as Giovanni.  The musicians here were an appropriately Hispanic pairing of Sasha Savaloni (guitar) and Andrew Drummond Hugnes (cello).  The performance was in Italian, barring a cunning switch to English for the moralistic epilogue.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable event, allowing the performers to blow away any accumulated cobwebs.  The audience seemed to be a welcome mix of operatic addicts in withdrawal and novices.  They all clearly enjoyed the show.

Performance DatesPop-Up Opera 2020

Map List

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock | Greenock

4 Sep, 14.30 4 Sep, 16.30 5 Sep, 12.30 5 Sep, 14.30 5 Sep, 16.30

National Museum of Flight | East Lothian

6 Sep, 12.45 6 Sep, 15.15

Platform, The Bridge | Easterhouse

11 Sep, 00.00

Riverside Museum | Govan

12 Sep, 00.00 13 Sep, 00.00

Eden Court Theatre | Inverness

19 Sep, 12.00 19 Sep, 14.30 19 Sep, 16.30 20 Sep, 12.00 20 Sep, 14.30 20 Sep, 16.30

Gytes Leisure Centre | Peebles

23 Sep, 12.00 23 Sep, 14.30

Heart of Hawick, Tower Mill | Hawick

24 Sep, 12.00 24 Sep, 14.30

Slessor Gardens | Dundee

25 Sep, 12.00 25 Sep, 14.30 25 Sep, 16.00

Strathclyde Country Park | Motherwell

26 Sep, 12.00 26 Sep, 14.30 26 Sep, 16.00

Edinburgh Zoo | Edinburgh

27 Sep, 11.00 27 Sep, 13.30 27 Sep, 15.00

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