Posted : 18 July 2022

Dundee announces its newest arts festival - Opera Festival Scotland! 

The first festival of its kind in the country, this exciting new project, run entirely by local volunteers, is taking place at the Caird Hall in Dundee this September. Comprised of various performances from professionals and community musicians alike, masterclasses and educational workshops, there is something for everyone in the debut programme and the festival are eager for community members to both participate and enjoy. 

The largest and most unique event of the festival is the Young Artists Singing Competition. With the hopes of reaching the final to perform with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the competition received over one-hundred applications from around the UK. With four finalists selected and ready to perform in front of audiences and a high-profiling panel of judges, this certainly is an exciting opportunity coming from Dundee. 

CEO of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Alistair Mackie, says "We can’t wait to be back in the Caird Hall for the first ever Opera Festival Scotland. It’s an exciting opportunity for the RSNO to be accompanying the finalists performing in the Young Artists Singing Competition, and its brilliant to end the festival programme celebrating emerging talent". 

The festival is dedicated to promoting and encouraging talent from within the community, and are thrilled to be hosting a singing competition for non-professionals. Scotland has a rich tradition of community music, and it only appropriate to provide an opportunity for those who have great talent and enthusiasm, yet were not able to pursue music as a career. 

Verdi's grand opera Aida will be making a return to Dundee after almost twenty years! The ensemble is comprised of collaborations with Tayside Opera, National Youth Choir of Scotland Dundee and Stonehaven Chorus, along with other talented individuals from the community. This large mixture of professional, semi-professional and community singers take on the challenge of grand opera, while also celebrating the learning that comes from working with such a diverse group. The festival is incredibly proud to provide an opportunity for locals to perform a piece of music they love and in one of Scotland's most beautiful concert halls. 

What takes this Aida performance further is it is closely linked to festival education workshops, which focuses on the dramatic side of opera. High school students from across Dundee have been invited to take part in this workshop, which will focus on the various themes present in Aida, for example, love, war, feminism, slavery, which highlights how relevant opera can be in a modern-day context. The students will then have an opportunity to attend the opera itself. 

Learning and educational opportunities are also available for general members of the public. International Soprano and Chair of Voice at the Royal College of Music (and fellow Scot) Janis Kelly, will be giving a public masterclass during the festival programme. 

International organisation, Opera For Peace, are hosting a networking lecture in collaboration with Dundee University and will discuss important topics like equality and diversity while working in the arts, as well as vital career advice. 

Michael Jamieson, Festival Founder and Director, said: "A community project like this certainly takes a lot of time and work to put together, but the benefits will be seen. The festival aims to increase footfall and business to Dundee for the duration of that weekend".

"The festival will bring back a much-needed boost for the Opera community, especially as it links in with Tayside Opera, promoting this artform to youth and other community members where opera may not be easily accessed."

Please come and enjoy a weekend of entertainment and learning as Dundee premiers it's latest addition to a line-up that make the city the place to be! Box office now open and tickets available from