Hye-Youn Lee (Madame Mao), Julia Sporsén (Pat Nixon) and The Chorus of Nixon in China. Scottish Opera 2020. Credit James Glossop.

This is a mesmerising, gorgeous looking and amazing sounding production that represents a stunning Trump era re-take on what was a classic and innovative original production in 1987. The dazzling, seamless, silent set shifts and amazing back projection and set design combine with a brilliant sound system. There is an added element with the sets…

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Barber Shop Chronicles at Lyceum Theatre (c) Marc Brenner

This is a production full of energy, passion and joy set to a riotously enjoyable soundtrack. I strongly advise getting to the show early, as you’ll find cast members roaming around the auditorium greeting and shaking hands with everyone. You get to hang out with the cast while the DJ spins up a series of…

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Tosca, Scottish Opera

This is a glorious, uplifting and gorgeously staged reminder of the immense power and passion of Puccini’s musical storytelling. Anthony Besch’s landmark 1980 production of Tosca forms the core of this revival directed by Jonathan Cocker, with the action transposed from 1800 to 1940s Italy under Mussolini’s fascists. There is good reason for the longevity…

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The Magic Flute by Scottish Opera. Photo: James Glossop.

Mozart’s classic ‘Singspiel’ The Magic Flute is a ravishing, glittering success. If you are new to Opera, this is probably one of the best ways to get an introduction, and this production will delight and surprise even the most seasoned opera fan. It’s in the form of what was known as a ‘Singspiel’ – telling…

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Local Hero at Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh

It’s a big risk to take such an iconic, well-loved Scottish film and turn it into a stage musical. But Local Hero at The Lyceum is a triumphant, joyous and uplifting success. From the start, sparse, simple staging and subtle washes of light create an intimate, evocative atmosphere, with earthy humour and a distinctly Scottish…

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Laura Wilde (Kátya Kabanová) and Ric Furman (Boris Grigoyevich) in Kátya Kabanová. Scottish Opera 2019. Photo: James Glossop

Scottish Opera seems to have caught the zeitgeist with this production, which is one of three Kátya Kabanovás running in the UK at the beginning of this year, with Opera North and Covent Garden also joining in the Katyamania. But, even without seeing the others, I can be confident in saying that this looks very…

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Anthropocene by Scottish Opera. Photo credit James Glossop

There was a tangible buzz in the air for the world premiere of this opera in Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. With music by Stuart MacRae and libretto by author Louise Welsh, the story is set in the frozen wilderness of Greenland, where a scientific expedition comes to grief when plummeting temperatures cause the exploration ship King’s…

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Aris Argiris as Rigoletto and Lina Johnson as Gilda. Scottish Opera 2018. Photo: Julie Howden

Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda is an innocent who is first deceptively seduced, then kidnapped, and raped – behind this are powerful men acting with complete impunity and treating a woman as nothing more than a disposable object for their pleasure. Written in 1850, Rigoletto was perhaps the first opera to deal openly with the issue of…

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Guy Hughes and Dawn Sievewright. Photo credit Mihaela Bodlovic

Gender-bending, gloriously psychedelic, and deeply, madly groovy. This is a riot of music and colour carried off by a stellar cast, bringing this complex story to life with an energy and flair that is jaw-dropping, and includes the most show-stopping second half opener I have seen in years. The action opens in a debauched 60s /…

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Eugene Onegin - Scottish Opera

Eugene Onegin towers over the Russian literature of the 19th century, and Tchaikovsky’s decision to create an opera based on a text which is still widely read (and regularly re-read) by Russians today was highly audacious. It is a sign of Tchaikovsky’s brilliance that the Opera, rather than the novel in verse it was based…

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