From gorgeous gondoliers to fairy queens and pirates kings, Scottish Opera’s Pop-up Opera Roadshow is set to have something for everyone as it passes through Tayside this summer.
In the company’s return to live outdoor performance for the first time in nine months, Scottish Opera is popping up in Perth, Dundee and Forfar throughout July and August as part of its Gilbert & Sullivan-inspired tour.
The A Little Bit of… tour will see five classic tales – The Gondoliers, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and Iolanthe – condensed into 30-minute open-air shows.
The tour will be stopping off at venues including South Inch Car Park, Glamis Castle and Slessor Gardens over the next two months, with audience members safely socially-distanced in their household bubbles.
The pop-up shows are being 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.
And with two specially-adapted trailers popping up across Scotland, there will be multiple chances to catch a performance.
Scottish Opera’s general director Alex Reedijk said: “Using two trailers allows us to offer over 200 performances. Double the fun for double the audiences!
“The return to live performance is something we have long awaited, and after nine months we are delighted to kick off what is sure to be a summer like no other.”
‘Making opera accessible to all’
Not just for opera fans, the pop-up shows are billed as “an ideal opportunity for anyone new to opera to try a taster”.
“The roadshow is at the heart of what we do as a company,” said Mr Reedijk. “Travelling to local communities and making opera accessible to all.”
The classic Gilbert & Sullivan adventures have been rescored for today’s audiences by Scottish Opera’s head of music, Derek Clark. And a series of bright illustrations will be used to guide audiences through the musical stories.
Scottish Opera’s director of education, Jane Davidson, said: ‘We are delighted to have our Pop-up Opera back on the road with a collection of fantastically fun shows for the whole family to enjoy.
“With colourful illustrations and an incredible cast, the pop-up shows will transport you in to the wonderfully weird world of WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, complete with glorious music, wit and heartfelt sentiment.”
A different kind of Bubble
And for the little ones, the final leg of the tour in September will offer a revival of A Little Bit of Bubble McBea.
Aimed at children in Primary 1 to 3, Bubble McBea deals with environmental issues in the coasts around Scotland. It aims to raise awareness of sea pollution in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow.
Ms Davidson added: “We hope that younger audiences will enjoy visiting the undersea world of Bubble McBea – an original story which combines the idyllic setting of life on a remote Scottish island with issues around sea pollution.
“The show engages children in the climate change discussion. And it encourages them through the medium of music and storytelling, to consider the impact continued change will have on their own communities and the world as a whole.”
Pop-up Roadshow dates confirmed for Tayside:
South Inch Car Park, Perth – July 22-23
Slessor Gardens, Dundee – August 7-8
More information about tickets and the full list of dates can be found on Scottish’s Opera’s website.