Written by playwright Sian Evans, Navigate the Blood will tour the country, making appearances at production sites in the traditional distilling regions of the Lowlands, Highlands and Islands.
Using working distilleries as a performance space, the Navigate the Blood project will visit regions where there is no accessible opera house, giving many people an opportunity to see live opera for the first time.
Scottish indie-folk band Admiral Fallow have joined forces with composer Gareth Williams to produce the music for the opera.
Working with Sian and classical opera singers, the group have created a modern opera that will be performed within the industrial background of a working distillery.
The story itself is set within a small family distillery and will explore the trials of a couple whose son has disappeared in mysterious circumstances.
Distilling as an industry in Scotland employs, directly and indirectly, more than 41,000 people, with the last ten years seeing growth not only in the distilling of whisky but also a massive increase in the production of gin, with 70 per cent of the gin being produced in the UK now being distilled north of the Border.
With two million tourists visiting Scottish Distilleries last year, Navigate the Blood will be performed against this background of industry and employment, with the new production of singing, music, theatre and storytelling created to “reflect the lives of the distillery community in Scotland”.
Kicking off on the first weekend of November at the Glasgow Distillery Company in the city’s southside, the production will then tour the country, visiting sites such as Oban Distillery, Ardnahoe Distillery on Islay, Lost Loch Distillery in Aboyne and Summerhall in Edinburgh.
Glasgow Distillery co-founder Liam Hughes said: “We are delighted to be hosting the opening nights of the world premiere of Navigate the Blood at Glasgow Distillery on 2-3 November.
“Three years ago, Gareth Williams and I were discussing how strange it was that two boys from Armagh were here in Glasgow. Stranger still, one had written an opera (The Sloans Opera) and one had opened a distillery. We had a conversation over a few beers about the feasibility of an opera in a distillery and three years later, this idea has become a reality.
“It’s doubly exciting for us as it just so happens that this coincides with the release of our very first Whisky, 1770 Glasgow Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Glasgow’s first Single Malt from the city’s first new independent single malt distillery in over a century”
James Robert Carson, artistic director for New Opera In Scotland Events (Noise), said: “Scotland has a deep and historic involvement with the art of distilling.
“By performing Navigate the Blood in each of the five distinct distilling regions, Noise has created an opera that reflects and celebrates the success and continued innovation of this remarkable industry.
“The band Admiral Fallow and composer Gareth Williams have created a truly magical and original score, with a story set in a distillery.
“Noise is delighted to be able to tour this new production to audiences who live in some of the country’s most outstandingly beautiful areas and work in such unique communities.”
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