Scotland's National Opera Company
Scottish Opera was founded in 1962 by Sir Alexander Gibson, whose vision for the company was "to lay the treasures of opera at the feet of the Scottish people"
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Scottish Opera is committed to bringing the widest range of opera, performed to the highest standards to the maximum audience. The full range of the opera repertoire, with orchestra and chorus, is regularly performed in Scotland's principal theatres, and fully staged productions, specially adapted for smaller venues, ensure that the opera experience reaches audiences in over 50 venues around Scotland every year.
Highlights over the last few years have included the realisation of Scottish composer James MacMillan's stunning Ines de Castro and the unforgettable production of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. Perhaps most exciting of all has been the company's recent achievement, Wagner's Ring Cycle, which was internationally acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.
Scottish Opera Education and Touring
The company's small-scale tours and education arm now visit some 250 communities every year, playing a vital role in strengthening the cultural life of Scotland.
Scottish Opera's Education Department was founded in 1971, making it the longest-established education and outreach unit of any opera house in Europe. It has helped to change the face of arts education in Scotland and is committed to engaging an ever-growing number of people in the art-form of opera, using a unique programme of performance-based projects and workshops to cater for a wide cross-section of the community, both at home and abroad.
One of the most important projects undertaken by the Department is the annual Primary
School Tour - principally aimed at 8-11 year olds - which visits around 130 primary schools
around Scotland every year, reaching around 13,000 children. It is the biggest performance-based expressive arts programme in Europe for children of primary age, and has been used widely as a model in other expressive arts programmes around the world.
As well as the large-scale productions in Scotland's principal theatres, Scottish Opera runs three annual tours visiting 42 smaller venues in every year, aiming to cover every region of Scotland and bring the experience of live opera performance to as many new and experienced opera-goers as possible.
Each of the three tours have a slightly different format and target audience.
A concert tour of opera highlights given by four singers with a piano accompaniment, goes to 15 small venues around Scotland. The selection of excerpts reflect the huge range of subject, emotion and musical style in opera, and provide an ideal introduction for people who have never been to a full scale production.
A fully staged piano accompanied opera goes on tour, with up to 7 singers and piano accompaniment, to 19 venues as varied as a village hall or a small theatre. Always sung in English, the tour aims to benefit new and experienced opera-goers outwith the main urban areas.
A fully staged orchestra accompanied opera, with up to 7 singers and a small orchestra of 14-20, goes on tour to 8 of Scotland's medium-sized theatres. The tour aims to give people who would have difficulty traveling to a large city theatre the "next-best thing" to a fully orchestrated performance.