Scottish Opera’s Connect Company – made up of talented young singers, instrumentalists and stage managers aged between 16 and 21 – presents Purcell’s chamber opera, Dido and Aeneas, at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock this Spring. Over one weekend (8 and 9 April), the Company stages three performances of this tragic tale of love and betrayal.
The Connect participants, who fit in rehearsals and performances around their study and work schedules, are joined on stage by Paul Keohone (Elephant Angel 2012) as Aeneas and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Sarah Power (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari 2016) as Belinda and Shuna Scott Sendall as Dido and the Sorceress.
For this fully-staged production, the Connect Company is directed by Mary McCluskey, Artistic Director of Scottish Youth Theatre, in her operatic directorial debut. Designed by Finlay McLay, the production gives a nod to the opera’s classical roots, with a 21st century edge. Connect Director Chris Gray conducts.
Director Mary McCluskey said: ‘I am delighted to have been asked to direct Dido and Aeneas with Scottish Opera’s Connect Company. I look forward to the challenge of my first venture into the world of opera. We are in a privileged position – being afforded the opportunity to work with these talented young people at this early stage in their career.’
Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson, added: ‘It has been over 300 years since the pupils of Mr Priest’s Boarding School for Girls premiered Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas. So, in 2017, the Connect Company is thrilled to present what could easily be described as the first ever ‘youth’ opera and with Mary McCluskey, Artistic Director of Scottish Youth Theatre, at the helm, we plan to show that opera truly does retain its capacity to tell a universal story such as this with the same combination of musical brilliance, high drama and glamorous staging that first entranced audiences in 1698.’