Classical opera at Fèis Arainn

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A pioneering project to perform a classic opera in Scots and Gaelic will be coming to the Fèis Arainn this summer with a selection of scenes from Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas sung completely in Scots and Gaelic.

The Scots Opera Project are fast building a reputation for these ground-breaking productions; having previously created, performed and toured Charpentier’s Actéon, La Descente D’Orphée Aux Enfers and Mozart’s The Magic Flute, sung entirely in Scots. This year The Scots Opera Project will introduce Gaelic alongside the Scots Language, with a new production of Dido & Aeneas.

Scots and Gaelic may not be the most obvious choice of language for an opera performance, but David Douglas, a tenor and the creative force behind the project feels it works very well. ‘Operas are performed in the native languages of countries all over the world. Therefore when performing an opera in Scotland, I felt that the use of Scots and Gaelic would work; it would bring it to life in an entirely different way for both performers and audience,’ he said.


The new translation has been created by the National Library of Scotland’s and Creative Scotland’s newly appointed Scots Scriever Dr Michael Demspter and award winning Gaelic Writer and Poet Marcus Mac an Tuairneir. In August the production will be workshopped and performed at the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine by some of  Scotland’s finest opera singers and a community chorus, who have all recently received some expert coaching from renowned Gaelic singer Joy Dunlop.

Before the team produce their full scale production, they will be treating the Fèis Arainn to a few sneak peaks. Singer and vocal coach David Douglas will work with the participants on a few sections of the opera, focusing on vocal technique, dramatic interpretation and language.  This will give the students a unique opportunity to experience singing in a different style and also make them one of first groups to have performed selections of the new translation. The presentation on Friday July 27, will also feature a team of professional opera singers and pianist,  who will work with the students to create a short performance.

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