Pupils set to perform ‘iconic’ Burns opera

The Tale o' Tam o' Shanter will be performed by local pupils.
The Tale o' Tam o' Shanter will be performed by local pupils.

Primary school pupils in Angus are set to perform an opera based on one of Robert Burns’ most iconic poems.

Scottish Opera’s annual Primary Schools Tour continues this month with The Tale o’ Tam o’ Shanter, a show created to re-introduce young people to the works of the celebrated Scottish poet.

Written especially for children in primaries five, six and seven, the fast-paced adventure features original lyrics by Ross Stenhouse and music by Karen MacIver, who also wrote the music for Scottish Opera’s popular family show, The Little White Town of Never Weary (2016), and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (2016), a specially composed piece for Scottish Opera’s youth company, Connect.

Pupils at Andover Primary in Brechin will perform the opera on Wednesday, May 24, while pupils at Hayshead Primary in Arbroath will take to the stage on Thursday, May 25.

Schools are provided with high quality teaching resources, including a teachers’ support pack, to help introduce the songs from The Tale o’ Tam o’ Shanter to pupils in advance. A team of Scottish Opera performers and arts education specialists then spend a day rehearsing and preparing the pupils for a choreographed, fully-costumed performance of The Tale o’ Tam o’ Shanter for family and friends.

The show follows a farmer named Tam o’ Shanter as he makes his way home from Market Day with his faithful horse Meg.

Jane Davidson, Scottish Opera’s director of outreach and education, said: “Our children’s operas make learning both enjoyable and challenging, giving pupils the opportunity to participate in a high-quality, day-long music theatre workshop that ends with a performance for parents and guests. Originally commissioned in 2002, this vibrant interpretation of Burns’ iconic poem enables a new generation to explore the culture, identity and language that remain key to the enduring appeal of Scotland’s most famous poet.”