Mary Woodward Preview

Scottish Opera presents L’ELISIR D’AMORE

SCOTTISH OPERA INTOXICATES WITH DONIZETTI’S COMIC ELIXIR –  L’ELISIR D’AMORE

On Thursday 17 June Scottish Opera premieres a new film of Donizetti’s charming opera L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) in the latest Scottish Opera: On Screen

Donizetti was a highly significant figure in Italian opera in the 1830s, with this comic opera being one of the most frequently performed at the time. It continues to be hugely popular today. The story is a rom-com in which the poor and naive gardener Nemorino, besotted with the beautiful and wealthy Adina, struggles to overcome the difference in social class to express his love for her. When the eccentric travelling performer Dulcamara arrives in town, deceiving locals with his lure and wit, Nemorino falls for his charm, convinced he can win Adina’s heart with Dulcamara’s magic ‘elixir of love’.

Filmed at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal on 22 May 2021, it will be available to watch on the Scottish Opera website from Thursday 17 June at 7pm in collaboration with Perth Festival. Before then, BBC Radio Scotland features audio excerpts from the performance as part of a special Classics Unwrapped, presented by Jamie MacDougall, on Sunday 13 June.

Director Roxana Haines (Così fan tutte 2020, La bohème 2020) creates a setting in the Austen era, twenty years before the opera was written, decorating the Theatre Royal Glasgow as lavish estate grounds, ideal for the collision of the worlds of high regency England and working class.  

Packed full of humour and uplifting melodies, Roxana’s re-telling is the perfect summer romance to transport audiences to a different era, with extravagant period inspired costumes and intricate commedia dell’arte puppetry.

Director, Roxana Haines said: ‘Setting the narrative twenty years earlier means we can relocate it to Regency England; a time when social distancing was part of social etiquette, allowing us to embrace this as the norm in the film. This era, most familiar to us through Jane Austen’s novels, was laced with obsessions with social status and romance across class boundaries, all perfectly mirrored in Donizetti’s comedy.’

The cast includes guest principal Roland Wood (La bohème 2020, Tosca 2019) and three of the 2020/21 Scottish Opera Emerging Artists who also appeared in the 2020 film of Così fan tutteCatriona Hewitson as Adina, Shengzhi Ren as Nemorino and Arthur Bruce as Belcore. This is their final film together as Emerging Artists. Elena Garrido Madrona from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Alexander Gibson Opera School is Giannetta. Stuart Stratford conducts the cast along with a full-size Orchestra of Scottish Opera (physically distanced on the stage), as well as an impressive 18 strong chorus as upper class society.

Jonathan Haswell is Film Director, having previously worked on the Company’s Così fan tutte 2020 and Hansel and Gretel 2021. With the increasing demand for digital performances over the last year, Jonathan has worked with the Company to help bring opera into the homes of thousands through the Scottish Opera: On Screen collection.

An Audio Described version of the film will also be made available. This is the latest in Scottish Opera’s Audio Described opera films, all of which have proved extremely popular with viewers.

Available to watch via Scottish Opera’s website: www.scottishopera.org.uk/shows/lelisir-damore/.

Mary Woodward Preview

LIVE THEATRE, MUSIC, AND OPERA RETURN TO GLASGOW!!

LIVE THEATRE, MUSIC, AND OPERA RETURN TO GLASGOW!!

Live theatre, music and opera are back, with the announcement of an outdoor festival at Scottish Opera’s Production Studio car park at 40 Edington Street, Glasgow. 

Joined by Citizens Theatre and Scottish Ensemble in a specially created outdoor theatre, performances take place over four weeks from 3 July to 1 August.  Scottish Opera is thrilled to welcome audiences to once again enjoy stirring live entertainment, with the Company’s production of Verdi’s Falstaff, Weill’s The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken and three concerts by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. The Citizens Theatre presents a new production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors and Scottish Ensemble partner with Social Bite to perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Set in the same location as Scottish Opera’s five-star production of Puccini’s La bohème last September, this year the temporary outdoor venue has theatre-style seating for audiences of around 150, which will follow the latest guidelines from the Scottish Government. Tickets are on sale from June 8 on each company’s website.

Opening the festival on Saturday 3 July is Scottish Opera’s brand new production of Verdi’s Falstaff, directed and designed by world-renowned Scot Sir David McVicar. An exquisite seventeenth century stage design and period costumes set the scene for a stunning production of Verdi’s comic opera, in what promises to be an evening of comedy, pathos and entertainment. During the festival, The Orchestra of Scottish Opera perform three lunchtime concerts with playful repertoire, including Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 2 and a programme of hugely entertaining music for brass and wind by Crespo, Dvořàk and Stravinsky. The festival finale is Scottish Opera’s Young Company with a production of Kurt Weill’s bold and absurd comedy The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken.

The Citizens Theatre presents The Comedy of Errors – Shakespeares ritous tale of mistaken identity and reunited families. Directed by Artistic Director Dominic Hill, this stripped-back, lively and colourful production will be performed by a talented ensemble. With live music and physcial comedy, this farcical 90-minute show will provide a fun return to live theatre performance for audiences in Glasgow.

Performing in four concerts over two days, the 12-strong Scottish Ensemble will bring to life Vivaldi’s iconic masterpiece, The Four Seasons. It may have been written in the 1700s, but this piece speaks to the volatility and ever-changing pace of the world today with a piercing, poignant precision. Scottish Ensemble celebrates new beginnings and the passing of time by partnering with Scottish charity and social enterprise Social Bite. Together, they present Sound Bites – a programme based on the notion that sharing food and listening to music with others are experiences at the heart of peoples’ lives as social beings. Sound Bites connects those two worlds with a themed picnic box available for audience members to enjoy during the concerts. 10% of ticket sales for Scottish Ensemble performances are being donated to Social Bite and its work helping to end homelessness.

Scottish Opera’s General Director Alex Reedijk said: ‘Live at No. 40 is a celebration of the performing arts industry and its resilience over what has been a trying and difficult year. We are delighted to have the opportunity to come together with Scottish Ensemble and Citizens Theatre to share our car park and mark what we hope will be the beginning of the return to live performance. Performing outside allows us the greatest chance to make safe shows and share with the most amount of people. We can’t wait to welcome audiences back for our selection of performances, to belly laugh, to weep, to be astounded and surprised, in what is sure to be a sensational return to live entertainment.’ 

Citizens Theatre’s Artistic Director, Dominic Hill, said: ‘We are delighted to be invited by Scottish Opera to join this celebratory return to live performance, safely reuniting artists and audiences to rediscover the magic of theatre, opera and classical music. We can’t wait to get back on stage and come together again as a community to enjoy a fun Shakespeare comedy in an atmospheric outdoor setting. It will be a joyous moment of reunion. While our building continues to be redeveloped, it’s a great opportunity to provide an alternative way to see a Citizens Theatre production this summer.’

Interim Chief Executive at Scottish Ensemble, William Norris, said: ‘Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is so ever-fresh, so full of contrast, drama and energy that it seems tailor made for Scottish Ensemble’s first public performances in over a year – and we’re particularly thrilled to be performing it as part of a great example of cultural team-work, working alongside our friends at Scottish Opera and Citizens Theatre. As ever though we’re doing things just a little differently, and are so excited to be partnering with the homelessness charity Social Bite for these performances – not only will a portion of the proceeds of every ticket purchased go to support their vital work, but they have devised a mouth-watering picnic that will pair perfectly with Vivaldi’s deliciously good music.

We can’t wait to be back on stage and seeing our audiences face to face again as part of the brilliant Live at No.40festival – a celebration of some of the best of Glasgow’s cultural creativity.’

Live theatre, music and opera are back, with the announcement of an outdoor festival at Scottish Opera’s Production Studio car park at 40 Edington Street, Glasgow. 

Joined by Citizens Theatre and Scottish Ensemble in a specially created outdoor theatre, performances take place over four weeks from 3 July to 1 August.  Scottish Opera is thrilled to welcome audiences to once again enjoy stirring live entertainment, with the Company’s production of Verdi’s Falstaff, Weill’s The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken and three concerts by The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. The Citizens Theatre presents a new production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors and Scottish Ensemble partner with Social Bite to perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Set in the same location as Scottish Opera’s five-star production of Puccini’s La bohème last September, this year the temporary outdoor venue has theatre-style seating for audiences of around 150, which will follow the latest guidelines from the Scottish Government. Tickets are on sale from June 8 on each company’s website.

Opening the festival on Saturday 3 July is Scottish Opera’s brand new production of Verdi’s Falstaff, directed and designed by world-renowned Scot Sir David McVicar. An exquisite seventeenth century stage design and period costumes set the scene for a stunning production of Verdi’s comic opera, in what promises to be an evening of comedy, pathos and entertainment. During the festival, The Orchestra of Scottish Opera perform three lunchtime concerts with playful repertoire, including Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 2 and a programme of hugely entertaining music for brass and wind by Crespo, Dvořàk and Stravinsky. The festival finale is Scottish Opera’s Young Company with a production of Kurt Weill’s bold and absurd comedy The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken.

The Citizens Theatre presents The Comedy of Errors – Shakespeares ritous tale of mistaken identity and reunited families. Directed by Artistic Director Dominic Hill, this stripped-back, lively and colourful production will be performed by a talented ensemble. With live music and physcial comedy, this farcical 90-minute show will provide a fun return to live theatre performance for audiences in Glasgow.

Performing in four concerts over two days, the 12-strong Scottish Ensemble will bring to life Vivaldi’s iconic masterpiece, The Four Seasons. It may have been written in the 1700s, but this piece speaks to the volatility and ever-changing pace of the world today with a piercing, poignant precision. Scottish Ensemble celebrates new beginnings and the passing of time by partnering with Scottish charity and social enterprise Social Bite. Together, they present Sound Bites – a programme based on the notion that sharing food and listening to music with others are experiences at the heart of peoples’ lives as social beings. Sound Bites connects those two worlds with a themed picnic box available for audience members to enjoy during the concerts. 10% of ticket sales for Scottish Ensemble performances are being donated to Social Bite and its work helping to end homelessness.

Scottish Opera’s General Director Alex Reedijk said: ‘Live at No. 40 is a celebration of the performing arts industry and its resilience over what has been a trying and difficult year. We are delighted to have the opportunity to come together with Scottish Ensemble and Citizens Theatre to share our car park and mark what we hope will be the beginning of the return to live performance. Performing outside allows us the greatest chance to make safe shows and share with the most amount of people. We can’t wait to welcome audiences back for our selection of performances, to belly laugh, to weep, to be astounded and surprised, in what is sure to be a sensational return to live entertainment.’ 

Citizens Theatre’s Artistic Director, Dominic Hill, said: ‘We are delighted to be invited by Scottish Opera to join this celebratory return to live performance, safely reuniting artists and audiences to rediscover the magic of theatre, opera and classical music. We can’t wait to get back on stage and come together again as a community to enjoy a fun Shakespeare comedy in an atmospheric outdoor setting. It will be a joyous moment of reunion. While our building continues to be redeveloped, it’s a great opportunity to provide an alternative way to see a Citizens Theatre production this summer.’

Interim Chief Executive at Scottish Ensemble, William Norris, said: ‘Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is so ever-fresh, so full of contrast, drama and energy that it seems tailor made for Scottish Ensemble’s first public performances in over a year – and we’re particularly thrilled to be performing it as part of a great example of cultural team-work, working alongside our friends at Scottish Opera and Citizens Theatre. As ever though we’re doing things just a little differently, and are so excited to be partnering with the homelessness charity Social Bite for these performances – not only will a portion of the proceeds of every ticket purchased go to support their vital work, but they have devised a mouth-watering picnic that will pair perfectly with Vivaldi’s deliciously good music.

We can’t wait to be back on stage and seeing our audiences face to face again as part of the brilliant Live at No.40festival – a celebration of some of the best of Glasgow’s cultural creativity.’

Preview by Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward Preview

PREVIEW: Scottish Opera present Hansel and Gretel

Scottish Opera: On Screen

Scottish Opera premieres Humperdinck’s enchanting Hansel and Gretel in the latest Scottish Opera: On Screen, filmed at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal on 19 December. The whole family can immerse themselves in this modern adaptation of the classic fairy tale from Wednesday 10 February at 6pm, via the Scottish Opera website. Before then, BBC Radio Scotland will feature audio excerpts from the performance as part of Classics Unwrapped, presented by Jamie MacDougall, on 7 February now availble on the BBC Sounds App.

Sung in English, with staging by Daisy Evans, this vivid and joyful reimagining of Humperdinck’s opera tells the heart-warming story of two children and their journey from an impoverished home, into the mystery and danger of the woods. Brought to life by Daisy’s unique staging, with a Christmas-crazed witch and a shopping trolley full of sugary sweets and garish goodies, Hansel and Gretel seem a long way from their simple family life. Packed full of charm and sparkle this production is an ideal anytime treat for children and adults alike, sure to lift spirits and transport audiences from behind the screen to a world of hope and wonder. Although Hansel and Gretel is an opera traditionally associated with Christmas, Daisy’s new production celebrates the opera’s joy and hope that are just as powerful and relevant whatever the season.

David Parry conducts a cast including Kathleen Ferrier Award-winner Kitty Whately as Hansel, Rhian Lois (La bohème 2020) as Gretel, ENO Harewood Artist Nadine Benjamin as Mother and The Witch, Phillip Rhodes as Father and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Charlie Drummond (Così fan tutte, 2020) as The Sandman and The Dew Fairy, in a translation by David Pountney and with a reduced orchestration by Derek Clark. Humperdinck’s chorus of gingerbread children is performed by a chorus of four adults.

Speaking to Scotsgay Arts, Daisy Evans said: ‘This show is fun for all the family, bright colours, big energy and plenty of glitter! With the current pandemic, everybody has had a difficult Christmas, so I wanted it to be about finding joy where we can, and about families celebrating together. And I also want it to encourage people to come back to the theatre, and to bring their children with them – to make them want to be part of this experience, and to invest in it as part of our culture.’

Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark said: ‘Despite a prolific composing career, Humperdinck’s reputation rests solely on this one opera. The combination of a straightforward fairy tale with a musical language which owes a heavy debt to Wagner may seem an unlikely one, but in Hansel and Gretel, the mixture of simple tunes, like the famous Dance duet, thrilling orchestral passages such as the Witch’s Ride and the Dream pantomime, and the tender emotion of the children’s Evening Prayer produces a masterpiece which has kept its popularity for well over a century.’

Available to watch via Scottish Opera’s website www.scottishopera.org.uk.

Find out more about Daisy Evans staging of Humperdinck’s fairy tale opera in an exclusive interview: www.scottishopera.org.uk/news/an-exclusive-interview-with-daisy-evans-staging-hansel-gretel/

Mary Woodward Preview

Scottish Ballet film The Secret Theatre, Preview

The Secret Theatre

Available on Scottish Ballet’s website from 6pm Monday December 21

tickets free, bookable up to 5pm December 24

It’s been a long hard nine months – I can hardly believe that the last live performance I went to was Choice Grenfell at the Brunton theatre at the beginning of March.  As we move towards the shortest day, and out the other side, Scottish Ballet have given us the perfect antidote to the darkness, and something to help lift our spirits as our earth turns once more towards the light.

A young boy clutching a football walks through crowded streets.  He notices an imposing door, which is slightly ajar.  Silently it swings open, and he tiptoes through to discover an empty theatre foyer.  Moving forward he enters the auditorium – dark, empty, all the seats sadly waiting for an audience.  He hears a noise, sees a light, and crouches down to avoid the torch beam of the security guard.

Then suddenly the lights come on, the tabs go up, and the boy is drawn onstage.  Exploring further, he is mesmerised by the costumes, ‘heads’ and all the props lying around, just waiting for the performers.  Suddenly a big hamper’s lid opens, and out comes…

The Secret Theatre wascreated by Scottish Ballet’s CEO and Artistic Director Christopher Hampson and long-term collaborator Lez Brotherston and directed for screen by Jess and Morgs, using music by Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, recorded live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.  Anyone familiar with Scottish Ballet’s recent Christmas shows will recognise characters, choreography and music from previous works, and have fun identifying characters and situations.  I don’t want to give too much away, but I was delighted to get another look at some of my favourite parts of the Snow Queen and the Nutcracker.

What I found fascinating, and what for me is one of the huge advantages of a show that was conceived and directed for the camera, is the possibility of close-ups of the dancers and an ‘all-round’ view of some of the movements.  Even more attractive because usually impossible was the engagement of the dancers with the camera lens – seeing real people rather than fairy-tale characters remote from everyday life, interacting with each other and particularly with the young boy, superbly played by Leo Tetteh – just the right amount of wide-eyed innocence coupled with a keen sense of fun and enjoyment of this magical world into which he’s suddenly been catapulted.  All the incredible dancers in the company were given the opportunity to show off, and they did so with a right good will – though I noticed that the girls rarely got to show off quite as athletically and exuberantly as the boys did – but that’s ballet for you, eh?   

I thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of a press screening, and will cheerfully watch the show again, probably more than once, in the run-up to Christmas, as it’s a perfect antidote to the gloom that can so easily settle around us in these challenging times!

The Secret Theatre will have its public premiere on Monday 21 December at 6pm. It will be available to watch until 11.59 on 24 December. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance via Scottish Ballet’s website, and can be booked up until 5pm on 24 December (all times are GMT).  The film will be accompanied by a series of talks and workshops tailored to the communities Scottish Ballet tours to, delivered in partnership with venues – check the website for details. 

And that’s not all – there’s plenty to look forward to in 2021, including a brand new short film The Swan, inspired by the stage production of Swan Lake; a new programme of adult and children’s ballet classes presented on Zoom and a range of health resources, including dance classes for those living with neurological conditions, and movement resources for NHS staff and keyworkers.  In addition, a free membership scheme has been launched so that audiences can stay connected with Scottish Ballet.

As Christopher Hampson says, Dance is a medium that brings people together and now, more than ever, we need to connect with each other. By bringing new artistic and engagement work into people’s homes this winter, we celebrate the benefits and importance of creativity in all its forms.

Thank goodness for Scottish Ballet and all the other companies that are working so hard to keep our spirits up and help us look towards the time we can once more enjoy live theatre.  If you’d like to support the making of The Secret Theatre please consider donating. Thank you.

If you would like to make a donation online, you can do so here

Alternatively, you can donate via text:

Text SBXMAS 5 to 70450 to donate £5

Text SBXMAS 10 to 70450 to donate £10

Text SBXMAS 20 to 70450 to donate £20


To donate by text, you must be 16 years or older and in the UK. Texts cost the donation plus one standard rate message. Please make sure you have the bill payer’s permission before donating.

Mary Woodward