Arts organisations unite to launch Dundee's first opera festival

Weekend will include large-scale operas and free events across the city.

Dundee’s first opera festival to be held after arts organisations come together STV News

A host of arts organisations are coming together to launch Scotland’s first opera festival in Dundee.

Verdi’s Aida, a large-scale opera which has not been performed in the city in almost 20 years, will be on show in the Caird Hall as part of the event.

The inaugural programme brings with it six national arts organisations, including Scottish Opera, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Opera Bohemia, the English National Opera, Opera for Peace and the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

There will also be collaborations with local organisations such as Tayside Opera and Culture and Leisure Dundee.

Running from September 22-25, smaller free events will take place at the V&A Museum, Dundee University, Dundee High School and the Wighton Heritage Centre.   

Opera singer Ross Cummings said: “This is a real opportunity for young people like myself to sing alongside real professionals – that’s how you learn how to sing.

“Doing it beside these people who have been doing it for 20 or 30 years is a huge learning curve for us to learn from the best in the business.

“I think it is always important to make opera as accessible as possible. It is such a thing to think that opera is a high art form, but it really is for everyone, there is so much to be taken from it and so much to enjoy.”

School pupils across the city are involved in the festival, which will also launch two new national singing competitions.

Festival founder and director Michael Jamieson said: “We have developed a full programme for primary schools which explores the basic voice types to expose them a bit more to opera and getting them to try out their own voices.

“It’s going to be noisy, so I don’t think the teachers will thank us too much for that, but it all ties in with their curriculum.

“It’s all free, the schools won’t have to pay for that, we are also going to bring them to some performances for free.

“There’s also a drama workshop on the back of Aida, which is an opera that has lots of themes like war, feminism, power and slavery.

“These are all things that we are talking about right now, so that shows how relevant opera can be from the story telling point of view.”

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