Scottish Opera and Bremner Conspire in Orpheus Plot

A co-production with NI Opera 

Aided and abetted by Scottish satirist Rory Bremner, Scottish Opera will tour a new production of Jacques Offenbach’s send up of Greek mythology, Orpheus in the Underworld, this Autumn.

Bremner has written a new translation of the opera, and his sharp tongue and political nous are a perfect match for Offenbach, who was well known for parodying the work of other composers of his day.

Originally created to satirise the government of Napoleon III’s France, here the action is updated to the present day as director Oliver Mears pokes fun at our media mad, celebrity-obsessed world.

Orpheus is perhaps Offenbach’s best-known work and features some of the funniest scenes and daftest situations in French opera.  His riotous sense of humour and knack for catchy tunes take the characters (which include Eurydice, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Pluto and Public Opinion) from one ridiculous situation to another, culminating in the riotous revelry of the world-famous ‘Cancan’.

The ensemble cast features Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Marie Claire Breen and Ross McInroy, as well as 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World finalist Máire Flavin, and Nicholas Sharratt in the role of Orpheus. Claire Haslin and Ruth Wilkinson will play for piano-accompanied performances, while Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark will conduct a chamber-sized ensemble drawn from The Orchestra of Scottish Opera in other performances.

Orpheus in the Underworld opens on 8 September at the Citizens’ Theatre in Glasgow.  It will tour Scotland in both piano and chamber orchestra-accompanied performances until 22 October, taking in Fort William, Portree, Stornoway, Wick, Tain, Fraserburgh, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Linlithgow, Stirling, Dumfries, Dundee, Lerwick, Aboyne, Kelso, Irvine and Helensburgh.

It will then transfer to Northern Ireland and on to London’s Young Vic for a two-week run.

Scottish Opera’s General Director Alex Reedijk said, ‘Distilling great opera down to a size that we can tour to smaller Scottish venues has been at the heart of what we do for 33 years and I’m pleased that we’re going back on the road this year with what’s promising to be a highly entertaining interpretation of this cheeky opera. We’re looking forward to see what people make of it!’

Orpheus in the Underworld is sung in English; running time is 2 hours (including 20 minute interval).


For more information on performance dates in Northern Ireland and London, and to book tickets, visit


For additional press details, images and interview requests, please contact:

Kerryn Hurley, Press Manager, 0141 242 0511, 

Emma York, Press Officer, 0141 242 0552,




CAST                                                                         PRODUCTION TEAM                    


Orpheus                        Nicholas Sharratt                       Conductor+                        Derek Clark Adrian Ward (17 Sept)                (orchestra-accompanied performances)                           

Eurydice                       Jane Harrington                         

Music Director/Pianist          Claire Haslin / Ruth Wilkinson                                              (piano-accompanied performances)                                       

Public Opinion               Máire Flavin                               Director                               Oliver Mears

Jupiter                           Brendan Collins                         Designer                             Simon Holdsworth

Diana                            Daire Halpin                               Lighting Designer                 Kevin Treacy

Pluto/Aristaeus              Gavan Ring                                Movement Director               Anna Morrissey

John Styx/Mars             Ross McInroy                            Reduced Orchestration         Tony Burke             

Venus/Cupid                  Marie Claire Breen                                

Juno                             Olivia Ray                                                                     

Mercury                        Christopher Diffey





Piano-accompanies performances


Thu 8, Sat 10 Sep, 7:30pm & Sunday 11 Sep, 4pm

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow


Tue 13 Sep, 7:30pm

The Nevis Centre, Fort William


Thu 15 Sep, 7:30pm

The Aros Centre, Portree


Sat 17 Sep, 7:30pm

An Lanntair, Stornoway


Tue 20 Sep, 7:30pm

Wick High School


Thu 22 Sep, 7:30pm

The Duthac Centre, Tain


Sat 24 Sep, 7:30pm

Dalrymple Hall, Fraserburgh

Tue 27 Sep, 7:30pm

One Touch, Eden Court, Inverness


Thu 29 Sep, 7:30pm

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy


Sat 1 Oct, 7:30pm

Linlithgow Academy


Wed 12 Oct, 7:30pm

The Garrison Theatre, Lerwick


Sat 15 Oct, 7:30pm

Deeside Theatre, Aboyne


Tue 18 Oct, 7:30pm

Tait Hall, Kelso


Thu 20 Oct, 7:30pm

Magnum Theatre, Irvine


Sat 22 Oct, 7:30pm

Victoria Halls, Helensburgh



Chamber orchestra-accompanied performances


Tue 4 Oct, 7:30pm

Macrobert, Stirling


Thu 6 Oct, 7:30pm

Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries


Sat 8 Oct, 7:30pm

Gardyne Theatre, Dundee*



Then touring


Mon 24 Oct – Sat 5 Nov

Northern Ireland


Thur 1 – Sat 20 Dec

Young Vic, London



Supported by The Alexander Gibson Circle. 

Contact: Emma York
Phone: (0141) 242 0552