Opera tour to pop-up from Wigtown to Orkney this summer

Details of Scottish Opera's Pop-Up Opera tour of 2024 have been released

SCOTTISH Opera’s much-loved Pop-up Opera tour kicks off on 25 May with shows for all the family, visiting venues in Perth, Falkirk, Wigtown, Moniaive, Ayr, West Kilbride, Whiting Bay in Arran, Coatbridge, Bishopbriggs, Shotts, Lochcarron, Balintore, Helmsdale and Stromness and St Margaret’s Hope in Orkney.

This summer, audiences can catch A Little Bit of Don Giovanni and A Little Bit of The Merry Widow, cleverly re-scored by Scottish Opera’s former Head of Music, Derek Clark. These 30-minute shows take opera out of the theatre into unexpected places, and are ideal for anyone new to the artform who would like to try a taster of these classics by Mozart and Lehár.

Pop-up Opera was originally inspired by the ancient Japanese art of Kamishibai (which roughly translates as ‘paper story’), a form of entertainment where itinerant storytellers travelled between small communities, telling traditional folk tales using a set of small paintings to accompany the narrative. Scottish Opera’s productions use ten specially created illustrations to help the performers — storyteller Allan Dunn, along with singers Jessica Leary and Andrew McTaggart, cellist Andrew Drummond Huggan and guitarists Sasha Savaloni and Ian Watt — present the story.

Schoolchildren can also look forward to the tour popping up in primaries across the various locations for free performances of Sophie & Bear, a newly commissioned piece for Primary 1 to 4. The music is by Graham McCusker, who has composed for television series including His Dark Materials and The Essex Serpent, as well as scoring and conducting music for the Netflix feature film, The Strays. The story is written and directed by Jessica Leary and Andrew McTaggart.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach & Education, Jane Davidson MBE said: ‘This summer, the Pop-up Opera company are touring to schools and community halls across the country, with a blend of weekday visits to primary schools and weekend performances in public venues, including at Perth Festival of the Arts, Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, and St Magnus International Festival.

‘We journey to 18th-century Venice with Don Giovanni, presenting a cleverly condensed version of Mozart’s ever-popular opera, packed full of dramatic confrontations brought about by Don Giovanni’s malevolent scheming which results in confusion, despair and violence for everyone he meets. We then head to the Parisian Embassy of Pontevedro for Lehár’s comic operetta The Merry Widow, which follows a wealthy woman’s search for true love.

‘We are delighted to also present Sophie & Bear, created specifically for five to eight year olds, which gives young minds coping strategies for everyday worries and reminds us we are not alone in facing them. Sophie cannot sleep – her thoughts are whirring and, in the darkness of bedtime, everything becomes more confusing. But with her trusty and kind teddy bear by her side, she learns how to take care of herself calmly and not be lost in anxiety.’

In Lehár’s The Merry Widow, a party is being thrown for the Grand Duke ofPontevedro – a poor, but fiercely independent, little European state. Among the guests is Hanna Glawari, a widow with twenty million francs from her late husband, and the eyes of half of Pontevedro on her to make sure her fortune – by love or luck – stays in the country to boost its fortunes. But at such a lavish celebration full of champagne, good cheer, and many waltzes, her heart and hand are not the only love affairs underway…

A Little Bit of Don Giovanni follows Mozart’s famous Casanova from one conquest to the next, but when his seduction of Donna Anna results in the death of her father, has he finally taken things too far?

Tickets for Pop-up Opera are available from www.scottishopera.org.uk/shows/pop-up-opera-2024/

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Public performances:

Perth Festival of the Arts, St Matthew’s Church

Saturday 25 May, 2pm & 4pm

Falkirk Trinity Church

Sunday 26 May, 4pm & 6pm

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival: Wigtown County Buildings

Saturday 1 June, 1pm & 3pm

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival: Glencairn Institute, Moniaive

Sunday 2 June, 1pm & 3pm

The Cutty Sark Centre, Ayr

Friday 7 June, 2pm & 4pm

West Kilbride Village Hall

Saturday 8 June,1pm & 3pm

Whiting Bay Village Hall, Isle of Arran

Sunday 9 June, 2pm & 4pm

Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life, Coatbridge

Friday 14 June, 7pm (double bill)

War Memorial Hall, Bishopbriggs

Saturday 15 June, 1pm & 3pm

Henderson Theatre, Shotts

Sunday 16 June, 1pm & 3pm

The Lochcarron Centre

Wednesday 19 June, 7pm (double bill)

Seaboard Centre, Balintore

Saturday 22 June,1pm & 3pm

Helmsdale Community Centre

Saturday 24 June, 2pm & 4pm

St Magnus International Festival: Stromness Town Hall, Orkney

Friday 28 June, 1pm & 3pm

St Magnus International Festival: Cromarty Hall, St Margaret’s Hope, Orkney

Saturday 29 June, 1pm & 3pm

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