Opera Highlights is Scottish Opera’s annual tour across Scotland, bringing opera ‘to your doorstep’. This year, the company has posted on its website a full recording of a performance at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock in October 2020, working to Scottish Government social distancing guidelines for singers. Directed by Rosie Purdie, it’s a playful look at the joys and frustrations facing performers in the new world of Covid-19 – and the bizarre new habits we’ve all acquired both in life and on stage.
The setting is four singers, excited to be performing live for the first time since lockdown, coming together with a glorious array of musical ambitions, but personalities clash, romance blossoms and social-distancing gets in the way of everything – but they eventually find the fun in being back on stage together once more. It features Scottish Opera’s 2020/21 Emerging Artists – soprano Catriona Hewitson, mezzo-soprano Margo Arsane, tenor Shengzhi Ren and baritone Arthur Bruce – showcasing their outstanding talents together for the first time, accompanied by pianist Susannah Wapshott.
The website has many other delights, showing Janá?ek’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared, Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Telephone (performed as part of the online Edinburgh International Festival 2020), brand-new digital opera The Narcissistic Fish (Samuel Bordoli and Jenni Fagan), and the timeless Puccini’s La Bohème.