On The Road Again: A Review Of Scottish Opera’s 2023 Spring Highlights Tour…
Updated: Feb 21
And we're back in the room. The Scottish Opera Highlights shows are always excellent evenings, with the company bringing opera to smaller venues across the length and breadth of the country (see TOUR DATES below for just how true that is) going from Gretna to Kirkwall with multiple stops in-between. This was the opening night at East Kilbride Village Theatre (where I've had many great nights in the past) and even as people took to their seats the excitement at being at a live music event once again was palpable.
Every highlights tour has a theme, and this year it's the love and peace era of the 1970s, with the programme's and posters' graphics bringing to mind The Beatles' animation Yellow Submarine, costumes reminiscent of Abigail's Party, a backdrop straight from the prom in Carrie, and a Keith Haring inspired stage floor bringing us into the '80s. As ever the ingenuity of the staging is to be admired making the necessity of a small and easily adaptable set into a positive.
The four performers emerge from black boxes, which are twisted and turned in every direction, and used as blackboards and dressing ups boxes by the cast to help tell stories and create new settings as the varied programme unfolds. They also have Friends-esque cards telling us that this performance was "The One With..." helping the audience to better understand what is going on. Such simple yet ingenious touches are a mark of these Highlight shows.
The company make for a wonderful troupe who interact with each other beautifully. Soprano Holly Teague, Mezzo-soprano Annie Reilly, Tenor Andrew Henley, and Baritone Colin Murray (the latter a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist) more than do justice to Derek Clark's impeccable musical programme, and it's impossible to highlight one over another. A true ensemble.
As you might expect from such a night of musical theatre, there is comedy & tragedy with everything in-between - high-drama, farce, horror, slapstick, magic, misunderstandings, and a whole lot of love. Throughout you can't help but feel that those on stage are having as good a time as their audience. The night was a celebration of live music and theatre, and a reminder that the relationship between all artists and those of us whose lives are enriched by their work is something too precious to take lightly.
If you haven’t yet been to one of these nights then I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you already love opera then it’s a chance to sit through an evening of some of your favourites as well as discovering something new. And if you think opera isn’t your cup of tea then this is the perfect place to discover that it is. You have nothing to lose and a whole new world to discover.
Check out all the details at the Scottish Opera website to find out when they are coming to a venue near you. If you’re a music lover then I can’t think of a better way to spend two hours.
Here are some images from the show:
JOAN KNIGHT STUDIO, PERTH THEATRE Tue 21 Feb, 7:30 PM
[SOLD OUT] STONEHAVEN TOWN HALL Thu 23 Feb, 7:30 PM
[SOLD OUT] BOAT OF GARTEN COMMUNITY HALL Sat 25 Feb, 7:30 PM
GLENGARRY COMMUNITY CENTRE, INVERGARRY Tue 28 Feb, 7:30 PM
ASSEMBLY ROOMS, WICK Thu 02 Mar, 7:30 PM
ORKNEY THEATRE, KIRKWALL Sat 04 Mar, 7:30 PM
MACPHAIL CENTRE, ULLAPOOL Tue 07 Mar, 7:30 PM
LOCH TORRIDON COMMUNITY CENTRE Thu 09 Mar, 7:30 PM
SKYE GATHERING HALL, PORTREE Sat 11 Mar, 7:30 PM
[SOLD OUT] THE ROCKFIELD CENTRE, OBAN Tue 14 Mar, 7:30 PM
VICTORIA HALL, CAMPBELTOWN Thu 16 Mar, 7:30 PM
ASSEMBLY HALL, ISLAY HIGH SCHOOL, BOWMORE Sat 18 Mar, 7:30 PM
STORMONT HALL, GRETNA Tue 21 Mar, 7:30 PM
TOWER MILL CINEMA, HAWICK Thu 23 Mar, 7:30 PM
THE GAIETY THEATRE, AYR Sat 25 Mar, 7:30 PM