Arts diary: Scottish Opera will have its day in the Sun, even though its singers keep their tops on

TOPLESS opera beckons at Glasgow's Theatre Royal. The Scottish Sun is staging a cheap ticket promotion with Scottish Opera for La bohème, better known as "fun in a garret".

The promo follows the success of a similar hook-up between the Sun and the Royal Opera House in London – but this time there's a catch.

When the Sun sponsored the Covent Garden production of Don Giovanni, svelte singer Emma Reed stripped off for Page 3 under the headline "The Fit Lady Sings", but Scottish Opera's own "fit ladies" have so far declined to follow suit.

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The opening night of La bohme on 25 February is almost entirely reserved for Sun readers. There will be Page 3 lovelies in attendance.

The paper is offering 700 pairs of tickets (that's nearly the entire capacity of the theatre) at just 9.50 to readers who collect vouchers from three different issues. Tickets for Scottish Opera performances usually sell for up to 63 a pop. Will parsimonious opera-lovers in Kelvinside be sneaking out to the newsagent's for their copies of the Murdoch rag?

Scottish Opera did pass on to its singers the Sun's request for anyone willing to pose for Page 3. However, a spokesman for the company said: "Our girls were just a bit too shy to go that far."

Kiwi beauty Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera's general director, offered to step in, but mercifully there were no takers.

He thinks there's a bigger overlap between Sun readers and opera lovers than you might suspect.

"La bohme is one of the top three operas in the world, and it seemed a great opportunity to tell an awful lot of people about our productions," he said.

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"It will help dispel a lot of myths that continue about the artform. It's moving, powerful, beautiful singing and a great night out."


The composer James MacMillan, patron of the Friends of Scottish Opera and a prominent Catholic voice, is right behind the promotion.

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"Anything that spreads the interest of opera into new territory is a good thing," he said.

"The fact that the Sun's readers will get to see a full opera, the way it is meant to be experienced, is great."

Dream team

SCOTSMAN critic Kelly Apter suggested at this year's winter performance of The Messiah, by the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union, that high-quality amateur singers who can fill the seats at the Usher Hall deserve more respect.

Another rip-roaring concert beckons on 28 February, further underlining the strength of Edinburgh's voluntary music scene.

The Jubilee Choir, now several decades old, is joining forces with the Edinburgh Bach Choir, going strong since 1889, and the Scottish Symphonia, combining amateurs and professionals.

Between them they will put about 140 singers and 90 musicians on the Usher Hall stage for a performance of The Dream of Gerontius, Elgar's choral masterpiece.

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The concert was put off three times due to the continuing refurbishment works at the hall. It is surely one of the biggest choral concerts the place has ever hosted.

Art with heart

MARK Eischeid, a postgraduate student at Edinburgh College of Art, has found the inspiration for his abstract work from cutting-edge heart research.

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Eischeid won a residency at the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence at Edinburgh University.

His main work, unveiled this winter, looks nothing like a heart. It is a large watercolour of various shades of pale blue and is intended to bring biomedical data to life.