Programme of Outdoor Socially-Distanced Performances Announced by Scottish Opera

 In line with Scottish Government’s latest route map out of the Covid-19 crisis, and in line with Scottish Opera’s on-going commitment to bringing the widest possible range of opera to the maximum audience throughout Scotland and beyond, Scotland’s national opera company announces a programme of seated outdoor performances. These include a special production of Puccini’s La bohème and Pop-up Opera performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers and a new work, The Song of the Clyde, by Scottish composer Karen MacIver and during all performances appropriate physical distancing will be observed at all times by performers, backstage staff and audiences.

These performances are the first with live audiences in over six months and are in addition to a live online stream of Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared on Friday 18 September that has just been announced as part of this year’s Lammermuir Festival.

Puccini’s tragic love story La bohème is given a reinterpretation inspired by the current pandemic by director Roxana Haines. Using an abridged score by Jonathan Dove, which involves seven soloists and a reduced orchestra, Scottish Opera’s staging places a small audience right in the middle of the action, under a canopy in the car park of the Company’s Edington Street Production Studios in Glasgow, for a run of five early evening performances from Saturday 5 September.  

 Director Roxana Haines said, “Join us for this immersive, site-specific production of La bohème which is bright, bold and full of appreciation for the world around us – a world that has, for the past six months, been held together by health systems, medical practitioners and spontaneous eruptions of art. The value of art, creativity, culture and community has never been more apparent than when they have all been taken away from us. We have chosen to stage this production by turning the restrictions we face into creative challenges…”

There are also three FREE shows on offer – A Little Bit of Don Giovanni and A Little Bit of The Gondoliers are re-written 25-minute versions of the full operas, while The Song of The Clyde has been created specifically for families. Please note that though tickets are free, you may be required to pay an entry fee to some sites.

The shows are performed in a specially adapted trailer to create a portable stage to adhere with social distancing guidelines. While past productions of Pop-up Operas have accommodated both the audience and performers inside the mobile Theatre Royal trailer, this year performances will take place outdoors on a covered stage with audiences seated in the open air in social or household bubbles.

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

 The popular Pop-up Opera roadshow kicks off on Friday 4 September at The Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock. Other confirmed locations include Platform Theatre in Easterhouse, The Riverside Museum in Glasgow, Eden Court in Inverness, Heart of Hawick in the Borders, Edinburgh Zoo and the Museum of Flight in East Lothian. Further dates and locations will be announced as details are confirmed.

Pop-up Opera is sponsored by Baillie Gifford and supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

 For more information and to buy tickets, which cost £20, visit Scottish Opera’s website.

 Irene Brown

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