In January 2010, Douglas Nairne and Alistair Digges decided that they would create a production of Puccini’s La Bohème to be performed in their home towns and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. After the overwhelming success of their initial performances, they decided to take La Bohème further and toured around Scotland. The experience the young cast and audiences shared was very special and following feedback from audience members around the country, expressing their enthusiasm and desire to see more productions, Opera Bohemia was formed. Now in its eighth year, Opera Bohemia has added highly successful performances of Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Gianni Schicchi, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Verdi’s La Traviata to its achievements.
2017 sees the company launch it’s education project, taking opera to hundreds of school children across Scotland as well as a new production of Bizet’s ‘The Pearl Fishers’ and further performances of Madame Butterfly and La Bohème.
The company has performed at over forty venues across Scotland with highlights including the first opera at the new Beacon Arts Centre Theatre (Greenock) and an invitation to perform Madame Butterfly in London. The performance took place in Middle Temple and helped raise over a quarter of a million pounds for the Muir Maxwell Trust. 2013 saw the formation of the Opera Bohemia Ensemble, a chamber orchestra showcasing some of Scotland’s most talented young musicians. The orchestra made its first appearance at the company’s opening performances of Eugene Onegin and they continues to perform at many of the larger venues. 2017 sees the company perform with a professional chamber chorus for the first time. They will feature in Lissa Lorenzo’s new production of The Pearl FIshers.
Opera Bohemia exists as a non-profit making organisation, with three main goals.
• To produce more operatic performances across Scotland.
• To create opportunities for professional artists in all areas of opera.
• To introduce opera to first time opera goers and a younger generation in a dynamic way.
The cast is gathered together in Glasgow for just 7 days before the opening performance. The group is comprised of passionate individuals, driven by their love for their art and their enthusiasm to increase the availability of opera to a wider audience. They continue to tour their operas to more remote areas of Scotland where the opportunity to experience their modern interpretation of these famous operas, performed by rising operatic stars, has proved hugely popular.
“Although this was a Fringe show, I rather got the feeling that it could have been acceptably transported up to the Queen’s Hall with an Edinburgh International Festival label.”
David Smythe – bachtrack.com
“a triumph and a master class in how to present a hugely popular and well – known opera on a
small stage with a reduced number of singers and a small but perfectly formed orchestra!”
Shirley Streets – Edinburgh Fringe online review
“Working with Opera Bohemia was an absolute privilege. This is what opera is all about from a grass roots level. The standard of the production we put together in such a short space of time exceeded my expectations”
Stephen Chambers – Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor
“The buzz I get from working in, what has become in each production, a close knit company is incredible”
John Wilkie – Director of La Bohème and Lucia di Lammermoor
“This young exceptionally talented musical company brings wonderful emotional intensity to every production. Opera lovers are and will continue to be enchanted by Opera Bohemia”
Peter Easson – Regular Opera goer