Football, shortbread and opera in our 35th podcast

Scottish Field has two guests in our 35th Scottish Field podcast

Our first guest this week is a John Savournin, who’s directing a new Scottish Opera Highlights production, which is touring to 18 venues around the country this spring.

Starting on February 8 at Websters Theatre in Glasgow’s West End the tour visits Birnam, Midmar, Fochabers, Tain, Wick, Harris, North Uist, Isle of Barra, Ardfern, Lochranza, Cove, Newton Stewart, Melrose, Lockerbie, Troon, Killin and finishes at Cumbernauld Theatre on 19 March.

John directs a cast that includes Scottish soprano Monica McGhee, former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Margo Arsane and Shengzhi Ren, who were both in Così fan tutte earlier this year, and Dan Shelvey (The Gondoliers 2021). This is a great chance for audiences to see Margo and Shengzhi perform in Opera Highlights, as they were originally scheduled to take part in the tour last year, before it was cancelled because of the pandemic. Mark Sandon joins the singers as pianist and Music Director.

The Edwardian-inspired production, designed by Janis Hart, is an opportunity to hear a whole range of music in just one evening, and curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark. audiences can enjoy much-loved classics including Hansel & Gretel, Die Fledermaus and La bohème, as well as lesser known gems. The production also features the world premiere of a new piece by Scottish composer, Lucie Treacher. The quartet, entitled ‘To the Lighthouse’, weaves together scenes from the 1927 novel by Virginia Woolf.

Tickets are on sale now for the new vaudeville-inspired show at

Our second guest is someone who’s represented his country on the football field.

The board of Walker’s Shortbread Ltd last week announced that Nicky Walker has been appointed managing director with immediate effect.

Nicky had a career as a footballer, which started in Leicester, took him to Motherwell, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dingwall, playing in goal for clubs including Motherwell, Rangers, Partick Thistle, Hearts, Aberdeen and Ross Country, before retiring in 2002 after a spell with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Nicky joined the family firm 25 years ago, was appointed to the Board in 2007 as production director and has been instrumental, working alongside his late father, Joe, in developing the company’s world-class facilities in Aberlour and Elgin.

But, of course, Nicky had a career of his own before joining the family firm, which was founded in 1898 by Joseph Walker in the Speyside village of Aberlour, with the ambition to bake ‘The World’s Finest Shortbread’.

Walker’s products are now sold all over the world and the company bakes the most extensive selection of pure butter shortbreads available, as well as producing a wide range of other Scottish delicacies.

The company employs over 1400 people across its sites in Elgin and Aberlour and holds a Royal Warrant for Shortbread & Oatcakes, by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen.

You can listen to the podcast, and all previous editions, HERE.

You can order the latest Scottish Field, priced £4.75, or subscribe, at