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Scottish Opera returns to live performance in the north-east with shows at Aden and Haddo

By David Porter

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Scottish Opera returns to live outdoor performance for the first time in nine months, with its popular Pop-up Opera Roadshow, starting with dates in Inverness before heading to Aberdeenshire.

Attracting socially-distanced audiences two specially-adapted trailers will take to the road at the same time, condensing five fun-filled Gilbert and Sullivan classics and all their frivolity into 30 minute performances of A Little Bit of… The Gondoliers, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and Iolanthe.

Featuring some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s wittiest lyrics and best- known tunes, the shows are an ideal opportunity for anyone new to opera to try a taster.

Cleverly re-scored by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, with story text by Allan Dunn, the shows will be popping up at a variety of iconic and surprising locations across Scotland starting in Inverness, before extending across Aberdeenshire, the Isle of Lewis and down to Dumfries and the Scottish Borders via Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

While past productions of Pop-up Operas have accommodated both the audience and performers inside the mobile Theatre Royal trailer, this year performances are al fresco with a covered stage and audiences out front in the open air, seated in household bubbles in line with the current Scottish Government guidelines.

The shows are brought to life by storyteller Allan Dunn, along with singers Stephanie Stanway, Charlotte Hoather, Andrew McTaggart, Mark Nathan, Jessica Leary, instrumentalists Andrew Drummond Huggan, Laura Sergeant, Sasha Savaloni and Ian Watt, with a series of colourful illustrations helping guide the audiences through the somewhat convoluted, but always comical, adventurous tales of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Scottish Opera’s General Director, Alex Reedijk, said: ‘The return to live performance is something we have long awaited and after nie months we are delighted to kick off what is sure to be a summer like no other, with Pop-up Opera.

"The roadshow is at the heart of what we do as a company, travelling the highways and byways of Scotland to local communities and making opera accessible to all.

"So, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to return to this in a safe manner at locations across Scotland.

"Using two trailers allows us to offer over 200 performances with double the fun for double the audiences. We look forward to seeing everyone at our outdoor performances very soon and hopefully inside theatres in the near future.’

Tickets will be on sale at Scottish Opera’s website https://www.scottishopera.org.uk/ from Wednesday, June 2.

A Little Bit of The Gondoliers - Two gorgeous gondoliers, dozens of adoring girls and the lost heir to the kingdom of Barataria: it can mean just one thing – trouble. Float away with us to Venice for one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s wittiest satires... It’s all about love, actually!

A Little Bit of Iolanthe - Iolanthe is banished by the Fairy Queen for marrying a mortal. Now, 25 years later, two worlds again collide when her son announces he’s in love. Unfortunately, his beloved is a popular girl and he has some serious competition

A Little Bit of The Mikado - The Mikado has decreed that flirting should be punishable by death. But when his son Nanki-Poo falls for the beautiful Yum-Yum, it looks like someone might be heading for the executioner’s block!

Tour dates include -

Tour 1 (A Little Bit of Iolanthe, The Mikado and The Gondoliers)

Eden Court, Inverness June, 10 , 11, 12, 13.

Aden Country Park, Mintlaw, June 17.

Baird Park, Stonehaven, June 18

Haddo House, June 19.

Tour 2 (A Little bit of HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance)

Strathpeffer Pavilion, July 17

Nevis Centre, Fort William, July 21.

Gynack Gardens, Kingussie July 22.

The Company’s Opera on Screen productions are available to watch at www.scottishopera.org.uk/what-s-on/opera-on-screen/.

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