Ali Wright, Un Ballo, Opera Holland Park

Opera Highlights starts its tour of Scotland

A new vaudeville-inspired Opera Highlights show takes to the roads of Scotland today, as it begins a tour of 18 local venues, including in the Outer Hebrides.

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, Craignish, Lochranza, Cove, Newton Stewart, Melrose, Lockerbie, Troon, Killin and finishes at Cumbernauld Theatre on March 19.

John Savournin 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.

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.

Director John Savournin, said: ‘There is a such a rich variety of repertoire in this season’s Opera Highlights – Puccini to Operetta, to a newly-commissioned piece by up-and-coming Scottish composer, Lucie Treacher – and I’m so excited to create a fun, visual world full of performance magic.’

Opera Highlights director John Savournin (Photo: Ali Wright)

Scottish Opera general director, Alex Reedijk, said: ‘I am thrilled that such a fine company of young performers is able to tour all across Scotland in the Spring. I hope that this delightfully entertaining and vaudevillian-themed Opera Highlights will help to encourage our audiences to make a welcome and safe return to live performances, for the first time in two years in many cases.’

Performance dates and venues are:

Tuesday 8 February, 7.30pm, Websters Theatre, Glasgow; Thursday 10 February, 7.30pm, Birnam Arts Centre, Birnam; Saturday 12 February, 7.30pm, Midmar Hall, Inverurie; Tuesday 15 February, 7.30pm, Fochabers Institute, Moray; Thursday 17 February, 7.30pm, Duthac Centre, Tain; Saturday 19 February, 7.30pm, Wick Assembly Rooms, Wick; Tuesday 22 February, 7.30pm, Tarbert Community Centre, Tarbert, Harris; Thursday 24 February, 7.30pm, Carinish Hall, North Uist; Saturday 26 February, 7.30pm, Castlebay Hall, Isle of Barra;

Tuesday 1 March, 7.30pm, Craignish Village Hall, Ardfern; Thursday 3 March, 7.30pm, Village Hall, Lochranza; Saturday 5 March, 7.30pm, Cove Burgh Halls, Helensburgh; Tuesday 8 March, 7.30pm, The Cinema, Newton Stewart; Thursday 10 March, 7.30pm, Corn Exchange, Melrose; Saturday 12 March, 7.30pm, Lockerbie Town Hall, Lockerbie; Tuesday 15 March, 7.30pm, Walker Hall, Troon; Thursday 17 March, 7.30pm, McLaren Halls, Killin; Saturday 19 March, 7.30pm, Cumbernauld Theatre at Lanternhouse, Cumbernauld.

Opera Highlights is supported by The Friends of Scottish Opera and JTH Charitable Trust.  Tickets are on sale from