Rhinegold Photo credit: James Glossop
General director Alex Reedijk and music director Stuart Stratford

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Scottish Opera reveals 2017/18 season

12:01, 5th April 2017

Scottish Opera’s 2017/18 season includes a world premiere, a Scottish premiere, four new productions and appearances at the Edinburgh International Festival, Manchester International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The season will open with a revival of Sir David McVicar’s 2008 production of La traviata, conducted by David Parry. The role of Violetta will be shared by Gulnara Shafigullina and Anush Hovhannisyan, while Peter Gijsbertsen will appear as Alfredo and Stephen Gadd as Giorgio. There will be two Dementia Friendly performances in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The season includes new productions of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Turnage’s Greek and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.

A new co-production with Investec Opera Holland Park, Ariadne auf Naxos will be designed and directed by Antony McDonald, with a cast featuring Mardi Byers (making her first appearance in the UK) and Sir Thomas Allen. It will be presented at Opera Holland Park in summer 2018.

Oliver Mears’ new production of Eugene Onegin – Scottish Opera’s first main stage production since 1993 – will be conducted by Stuart Stratford, and will feature Samuel Dale Johnson in the title role and Natayla Romaniw as Tatyana.

Amateur singers and circus performers will have the chance to take part in a new production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, which will take place in a circus tent. Bill Bankes-Jones will direct a company of nearly 200, including the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, international soloists, a professional and community chorus and both professional and amateur circus performers, and Stuart Stratford will conduct. Recruitment for participants in the production is currently underway.

Jonathan Dove’s Flight will receive its Scottish professional premiere, with Stephen Barlow reimagining his Opera Holland Park production. Music director Stuart Stratford will conduct a cast including Jennifer France, Victoria Simmonds and James Laing, all reprising their highly-praised roles in the Opera Holland Park production, alongside Stephanie Corley, Graeme Broadbent and Marie McLaughlin.

A co-production with Opera Ventures, a new charity founded by John Berry, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek will be directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins and will premiere at the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival. The cast includes British singers Susan Bullock, Allison Cook, Andrew Shore and Alex Otterburn.

The season will also include the premiere of BambinO, an opera for babies by Scottish Opera composer-in-residence Lliam Paterson. Directed by Phelim McDermott, it will be performed at the Manchester International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and in Glasgow.

The company’s Sunday Series takes the new production of Eugene Onegin and Stuart Stratford’s love for Russian music as its inspiration, and will include the Scottish premiere of Rachmaninov’s Francesca da Rimini and Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel, while a week-long residency for students of the National Opera Studio, which will culminate in a semi-staged performance of Russian-themed repertoire.

Pop-up Opera will perform in and from Scotland’s first floating opera house, the converted pilot cutter Murray McDavid, and will also give performances for schools in marinas down the Clyde. The three works featured – A Little Bit of La bohème, A Little Bit of The Pirates of Penzance and A Little Bit of Bubble McBea – are suitable for children aged three to seven.

The 2017/18 Scottish Opera emerging artists will be mezzo-sopranos Catherine Backhouse and Laura Zigamantaite, baritone Alex Otterburn and repetiteur Patrick Milne; the names of a costume trainee and composer in residence are still to be announced. The programme offers young talent a period of full-time work with the company to help launch their careers; they will perform in a number of the season’s productions and tours, and in recitals at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of Glasgow.

Scottish Opera’s youth company, Connect, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2018, will perform three world premieres. Created by the winners of the Company’s Opera Sparks competition, the three new works are Then to the elements by Lewis Murphy and Laura Attridge, Matthew Whiteside and Helene Grøn’s Little Black Lies and Maud by Henry McPherson.

‘As well as presenting an exciting Russian repertoire including Eugene Onegin, directed by Oliver Mears, and the Sunday Series, in which audiences can hear lesser-known and rarely-performed works, I am particularly excited about the site-specific performances of Pagliacci (The Clowns) next year,’ said music director Stuart Stratford. ‘A theatre isn’t necessarily always the best place to see an opera, so using a very different venue for this production will make the audience experience even more visceral and immediate – it’s a real thrill to stand right beside a singer and hear them perform.’


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