Mary Woodward Preview

Scottish Opera Somewhere Near You!, Preview

Scottish Opera are getting around in 2023!  This month sees three separate sets of performances beginning, while March has another treat in store for us all.

Scottish Opera’s primary schools production, The Curse of MacCabbra Opera House, begins its sold-out tour around Scotland in February and, for the very first time, is also available for only £100 as a digital only learning and teaching experience.  A chilling tale with a good dose of comedy, The Curse of MacCabbra Opera House features music from composer Alan Penman and lyrics from writer and director Johnny McKnight. The 30-minute gothic horror opera for P5-P7 will be performed until June in schools all over Scotland, as well as in five Newcastle primaries.

The production follows writers Compo Zerr and Libby Retto as they work late into the night to finish their new opera at the MacCabbra Opera House. But there’s more to their helpful host Dee Parton than meets the eye, and as the clock strikes midnight the singers, workers and critics of the old Opera House rise from their graves to give Compo and Libby some horrifying help! Can Compo and Libby hold their nerve to finish their masterpiece? Will the singers get to put on one final performance? Will the workers revolt? Are the critics just revolting?

It sounds brilliant – I just wish I were young enough… For more details about The Curse of MacCabbra Opera, visit

Having thoroughly enjoyed the latest Opera Highlights tour last autumn, I’m happy to report that another quartet of singers will be taking this lively, entertaining show exploring love in all its forms in one enchanting evening, round the parts of Scotland that other arts organisations don’t reach. 

Travelling across the country from the Scottish Borders to the Highlands and Islands, the tour kicks off on Valentine’s Day at East Kilbride Village Theatre.  It then travels to Crail, Garvald, Perth, Stonehaven, Boat of Garten, Invergarry, Wick, Orkney, Ullapool, Torridon, Skye, Oban, Campbeltown, Islay, Gretna, Hawick and Ayr.

The cast includes Scottish Opera 2022/23 Emerging Artist Colin Murray alongside Annie Reilly, who both sang in the recent five-star production of Ainadamar.  They are joined by Andrew Henley (Thérèse 2022) and Holly Teague, with James Longford at the piano by.

The production also features the world premiere of a new piece by Scottish Opera 2021/22 Emerging Artist and composer Toby Hession.  With a libretto by Emma Jenkins, Told By An Idiot it is a modern and humorous re-working of Macbeth.  I loved it!

The production will be touring from 14 February to 25 March 2023.  More information

As if that weren’t enough, those of us in the cities can enjoy a passion-filled evening in The Verdi Collection on Friday 10 February at the City Halls in Glasgow and Saturday 11 in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

A cast of internationally acclaimed singers bring numerous roles to life, capturing the breadth and drama of Verdi’s incredible array of popular operas that earned him the title of the “king” of all Italian opera composers. Scottish Opera’s Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts The Orchestra of Scottish Opera along with a cast including Eri Nakamura, Peter Auty (Eugene Onegin 2018), Lester Lynch and Brindley Sherratt (Inês de Castro 2015), and Katherine Aitken.

Capturing the romance, passion and tragedy of Verdi’s works, the concert features a playlist from operas including La traviata, Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, Don Carlo and Otello. In an evening of dramatic storytelling this is a chance to hear some of the composer’s more iconic music, recognisable from numerous TV adverts and films.

Tickets are on sale now at

As if that weren’t enough joy, there’s still more to see in March, when Sir David McVicar returns to Scottish Opera to direct Puccini’s il trittico for the first time.   He comments Il trittico is such a huge project, with a big and exceptional cast performing in three separate operas, a gripping evening in the theatre that takes us from the dark drama of Il tabarro, through the unbearable heartbreak of Suor Angelica to the acerbic and hilarious Gianni Schicchi, one of the greatest comic operas ever composed. It’s beautiful, tragic, hilarious, epic, and I couldn’t be prouder to be directing Scottish Opera’s first ever production of the three operas, so rarely seen, as Puccini intended, performed in one evening.’

Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts Roland Wood (Don Giovanni 2022), Sunyoung Seo, Viktor Antipenko, Francesca Chiejina, Julian Close (making their Scottish Opera debuts), Jamie MacDougall (Candide 2022), Louise Winter (Falstaff 2021), Máire Flavin (Opera Highlights 2018) and internationally-acclaimed Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill (Bluebeard’s Castle 2017). They are joined by former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Elgan Llŷr Thomas (A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2022) and Sioned Gwen Davies (The Gondoliers 2022).

This is the first time Scottish Opera will have presented il trittico, and the only complete performance in Scotland of the three pieces was by Sadlers Wells in 1957.  It should be a real treat for all opera-lovers, so don’t miss out!

Important note!  Il trittico has an early start time of 6pm, with a long second interval for dinner and drinks.  Audiences are able to order food from the theatre in advance, and are advised to do so as early as possible as availability is limited.