Scottish Opera Launches New Gin Suonare to Mark 60th Anniversary

In a celebration of artisan craftsmanship and mixology as well as a celebration of the diamond anniversary of Scottish Opera (SO), the Company has partnered with The Biggar Gin Company to create a new artisan gin called Suonare (Italian ‘to play’), a bespoke gin using botanicals inspired by operas in SO’s 60th Season,

Suonare is a London Dry style gin with botanicals chosen from areas that have a strong connection with the operatic world, with oranges from Seville, lavender from France, bergamot from Calabria in Italy, pink peppercorn from South America and adding in the important Scottish connection with nettles from the Borders. The flavours also reflect the international repertoire of Scottish Opera’s 60th Season including Bizet’s Carmen (Spain), Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (South America), Puccini’s Il trittico and TheVerdi Collection (Italy), Bernstein’s Candide and Massenet’s Thérèse(France).

The die-cut holes on the label then correspond to the 14 botanicals used in the gin and are listed by the ability to taste the high and low notes of each by matching them with their musical equivalent in the Madama Butterfly aria.

SO General Director Alex Reedijk said “We wanted to create something celebratory that our patrons could share in and enjoy, to mark this significant milestone in our history. The choice of a gin was made as a way of creating something that would be representative of our respect for tradition and excitement around innovation, craftsmanship and artistry. We also wanted to partner with a local artisan business which would reflect the heart of our philosophy to tour to communities and bring opera to doorsteps across Scotland… We hope that people feel this is a way of joining in our year of festivities either by raising a glass or saving this unique bottle as a memento of our Diamond anniversary – or both!’

Biggar Gin Company co-founder said Stuart McVicar said, “We were excited to be approached by Scottish Opera to help create a blend that they felt would best celebrate their impressive 60-year history. When we visited the Company’s production studios, we could see the passion and precision in the artisan skills that go in to the creation of each performance and wanted to ensure we could make a product which would reflect this mix of tradition and innovation…”

Award winning Glasgow-based creative design agency, Tangent, conceived the concept and designed the Suonarebottle using sustainably sourced materials from Britain including a cap hand-dipped in gold wax to seal the product and avoid using plastics.

SO also marks the occasion by committing to bring opera to over 60 communities across all points of the compass around Scotland this Season. 2023 will also see an exhibition held in the Theatre Royal Glasgow that celebrates the Company’s 60-year history.

Suonare, that features a red label with die-cut holes which when removed and placed in a music box plays ‘Un bel di’ from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly that was  performed in SO’s very first Season in 1962, and a favourite of the Company’s founder Sir Alexander Gibson,  is available to buy at £38 from The Biggar Gin Company’s website.

Irene Brown

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