Scottish Opera gets ready to mark its 60th birthday

Scottish Opera brings a revival of its dark and atmospheric 2013 production of Don Giovanni to Scottish theatres later this spring.

It will appear in May at the Theatre Royal Glasgow, Eden Court Inverness and Festival Theatre Edinburgh. Possible for the first time since the end of 2019, the tour also visits His Majesty’s Theatre, in Aberdeen. The 5 June performance in Edinburgh marks the 60th anniversary of Scottish Opera’s founding, which will spark a year of celebration for the Company.

Mozart’s tale of dangerous seduction and deception is once again directed by British baritone Sir Thomas Allen, who made Don Giovanni his signature role on stage, having performed the part around 300 times. He has previously directed four acclaimed productions for Scottish Opera: The Barber of Seville, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute.

Sir Thomas Allen said: ‘I might well have said at any time that I’m looking forward to returning to work with Scottish Opera in this exciting season. After all we’ve been through, the checks, the worries, the distancing and the hardships endured by so many, making such a statement seems trivial in the extreme.

‘Now, more than ever, as far as any of us can remember, it becomes vital to re-engage with the arts and culture that has been denied us for so long a barren period. We have assembled a fine cast for Don Giovanni led by the very experienced Roland Wood, with further performances featuring Jonathan McGovern in the role.

‘It won’t be the same as already seen. Each individual artist brings their own energy to this extraordinary work, and for me it will be a challenge once again to channel the chemistry that evolves. Live theatre is back and there’s nothing in the canon more alive than Mozart’s great opera Don Giovanni. To quote the man himself, “Viva la Liberta”.’

Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts an exciting cast including Roland Wood (Falstaff, 2021) and Jonathan McGovern (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2022), sharing the role of the anti-hero, Don Giovanni. They are joined by Hye-Youn Lee (Nixon in China, 2020) and Kitty Whately (Hansel and Gretel, 2021), along with Keel Watson, Zachery Altman, Pablo Bemsch and Emyr Wyn Jones, who are making their Company debuts. Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Lea Shaw (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2022) also joins the cast.

Designed by the award-winning Simon Higlett, the production is set in the backstreets of 17th century Venice. Full of corruption, lust and darkness, it’s the perfect hunting ground of the amorous, Don Giovanni. It is here that the Don meets and sets his sights on Donna Anna, but when her father intervenes, it costs him his life at the hands of the Don Giovanni ‘s brute violence. As the shadows close in and the mistakes of his past begin to catch up with him, the Don’s tangled web of lies and betrayal begin to unravel.

Scottish Opera music director, Stuart Stratford said: ‘Don Giovanni is always uncomfortable and satisfying, reassuring and full of terror. Mozart holds up a mirror to human society and examines the ecstasy and dark failings of us all. The music is Mozart at his most acerbic, transcendental, violent and timeless. Thomas Allen’s classic production is not to be missed.’

Running alongside the full-length performances are Access Opera shows, which are specially created for those who enjoy a more relaxed opera experience. With Dementia Friendly values at their core, these shorter, narrated performances (under two hours with an interval) are open to all, whether you are recovering from an operation, have breathing difficulties, living with dementia, have a young baby, or are on the autism spectrum.

Designed to make coming to opera as easy and stress-free as possible, wheelchair spaces and extra staff are on hand to help, and there are brighter lighting levels than usual in the auditorium, in which you can move around freely during the performance. Groups, including schools, are also welcome to attend.

Don Giovanni is supported by The Scottish Opera Syndicate.

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