How Scottish Opera is adapting to Covid measures

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Scottish Opera, Boheme rehearsals
Scottish Opera, Boheme rehearsals

James Glossop

While the Scottish Government is still maintaining its ban on live performances in indoor venues, at the beginning of October it changed the social distancing between singers and wind and brass players from 3m to 2m. Scottish Opera’s music director, Stuart Stratford says that this will make things much easier for future productions.

In September, the company was the first national arts organsation in Scotland to perform to a live audience. Stratford says their abridged version of Puccini’s La Bohème in the carpark outside their production studios shows that the company has the ability to go from a standing start to doing something quite interesting in a matter of weeks or months. ‘We’re always keen to do things in a different way and there was something democratic about an open space you can peer into as opposed to a theatre. We deliberately put up a transparent canopy so we were literally bleeding out into the city of Glasgow and passersby would often stop for 30 minutes or so to watch. So, we have ambitions to carry that on next year either at Edrington Street or another bigger venue outside.’

Even so, Stratford can’t wait to get back into the theatre. ‘We need to go back. Quite apart from the need for people to earn money, many have already fallen through the cracks, live performance is more real as there’s a communion between the artists and the audience. It’s a two-way thing and there’s no way that will ever change.’