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Spotlight On… Scottish Opera

Scottish Opera is Scotland’s national opera company, and has been delivering an Education & Outreach programme since 1971. Scottish Opera run a unique Primary Schools Tour, with around 120 schools and 9,000 pupils participating each year, giving learners the opportunity to perform specially commissioned pieces alongside professional singers. Scottish Opera aims to be inclusive and affordable by providing subsidised and free tickets, and by offering a range of educational activities, through community outreach, participatory programmes and online learning resources.

Breath Cycle II

See also: Participatory, ASN, Health and Wellbeing, Voice, Choral.


Breath Cycle II is designed to support sufferers of Long COVID. Breath Cycle originally ran in 2013, supporting those suffering from Cystic Fibrosis in partnership with Gartnavel Hospital.

Based on research, Breath Cycle utilises breathing techniques practised by professional opera singers to help those living with Long COVID and other respiratory conditions. Delivery of the programme so far indicates strengthened mental health and wellbeing, along with significant improvements in respiratory health. By clicking the link below you can practice with on-demand exercise, explore the experiences of others living with Long COVID through the Covid Composers Songbook, or register to participate in weekly online sessions.

Breath Cycle II is supported by The Scottish Government, Cruach Trust, The Murdoch Forrest Charitable Trust, W M Mann Foundation, Souter Charitable Trust and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

Community Choir

See also: Participatory, Life-Long Learning, Community, Voice


Scottish Opera’s Glasgow-based Community Choir is a fun, participatory group that rehearse weekly, tackling a mix of opera, classical, popular, folk and world music. Conducted by Katy Lavinia Cooper, there is no prior requirement to read music or have prior singing experience. Members purchase a Community Choir Membership which goes towards covering the costs of organising a public sharing at the end of the term, as well as ensuring the continued expansion of partnerships and performance experiences. Scottish Opera uses a Pay What You Can pricing structure for the Community Choir membership, starting at £30. Your membership will cover your Community Choir participation for one term, which will span over 10 to 11 weeks.

Scottish Opera Young Company 

See also: Secondary, Western European Art Music, Vocal, Performance Specialism.


Scottish Opera Young Company offers 17 to 21 year-old singers a unique and practical introduction to the world of opera and the chance to develop their talent through a year-long programme running from September to July.

SOYC members work with a range of opera professionals throughout the year– including directors, choreographers, conductors, stage managers, and vocal coaches – to hone their skills, culminating in performances in December and July each year.

No student who successfully auditions for SOYC will miss out due to financial circumstances. Payment can be made in instalments by arrangement. Scottish Opera can also offer travel bursaries to those who need financial help getting to auditions and rehearsals in Glasgow.

Please note: The deadline for 2023/24 applications was Monday 17th July 2023, but look out for future deadlines.

Scottish Opera Young Company Gateway

See also: Secondary, Western European Art Music, Vocal, Performance Specialism.


Scottish Opera also run a Gateway programme for 14-18 year olds who may need to gain more experience before the Scottish Opera Young Company, or before committing for the whole year. This is an immersive, non-auditioned programme with no need for any previous stage experience. An ability to read music is not required, but helpful.  The fee for Scottish Opera Young Company Gateway is £250.

Payment can be made in instalments by arrangement. No student who takes part in SOYC Gateway will miss out due to financial circumstances.

Opera For Schools

See also: Primary, Secondary, Western European Art Music, Vocal, Online.

As well as the much-celebrated annual Primary Schools Tour, which is back for the 2023/24 school year, Scottish Opera has a range of high quality teaching resources available for download on its website, all designed to help kids and young people find their voice.

Vikings! The Quest for the Dragon’s Treasure

See also: Primary, Western European Art Music, Vocal, educators.



This Primary Schools Tour is for Primary 5 to 7 pupils to get singing and dancing. An ancient prophecy sends the Viking Queen and her swashbuckling band of warriors off to steal gemstones from the legendary Ice Dragon, while the sneaky Sorcerer Supreme stays behind, planning to seize power. But the wise Villagers foresee that stealing the gems is just the start of their troubles.

Each school that participates receives:

  • High quality teaching resources, including a teachers’ support pack to help introduce the music and related activities.
  • An advance visit from a specialist choral musician.
  • A day-long workshop with a team of highly experienced arts education specialists and performers.
  • A 30-minute performance for family, friends and schoolmates to share.

The Elixir of Love

See also: Secondary, Western European Art Music, Vocal, Online


This is an online teaching resources for S3 students, focusing on the expressive arts curriculum. These lessons are based around the 19th century Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti’s comic opera The Elixir of Love (L’elisir d’amore), and cover topics that can be taught as part of the Art & Design, Drama and Music subjects. Designed to tie in directly to the experiences and outcomes of A Curriculum for Excellence, the intention is to engage pupils’ critical thinking skills, which are transferrable across disciplines, through opera.

The Curse of the MacCabbra Opera House

Primary, Western European Art Music, Vocal, Online.


The Curse of MacCabbra Opera House originally gave P5 and P7s the opportunity to be involved in a special performance day, staging their own all-singing, all-dancing 30-minute show, with music by Alan Penman, and lyrics by Johnny McKnight.

Following a year of touring the project across primary schools in Scotland, Scottish Opera now offer this as a downloadable digital package.  

Scottish Opera provide online teaching resources, including easy-to-follow audio and video teaching aids for the five songs in The Curse of MacCabbra Opera House, alongside fun curriculum-based learning activities which can be carried out in class, assigned as homework tasks or used for assessment purposes. The project is designed to tie in directly to the experiences and outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence, giving pupils a greater understanding of the arts and creative industries, and helping children identify their talents and aspirations for the future. Learning activities will cover marketing and publicity, ticket pricing, letting children try their hand at creative writing and costume design, giving them an insight into all the different work that goes on behind the scenes to bring an opera to the stage.

The Brassketeers

Primary, Western European Art Music, Vocal, Online.


This cross-curricular project for Primary 1-3 introduces children to the joy of brass instruments and the rich sound world they create, while also supporting delivery of the Early and First Level numeracy curriculum. Resources include a beautifully animated short film which introduces the instruments, alongside lesson plans, slide shows, worksheets and games which explore the relationship between music and maths.

Tiny Chef

Primary, Western European Art Music, Vocal, Online.


Tiny Chef is an animated magical, musical story which teaches language and healthy eating for Primary 3 and 4 pupils. Developed from a series of workshops with over 200 children, Tiny Chef is set in a marvellous, moveable restaurant, The Sūgélán Dragon, and teaches students basic Mandarin and the principles of food purchasing, preparation and presentation, with a focus on fresh, healthy ingredients.

Memory Spinners

See also: Life-Long Learning, Participatory, ASN, Health and Neurodiversity


Scottish Opera’s Memory Spinners groups meet weekly in Glasgow. Using music, storytelling, movement and the visual arts, the programme helps people with dementia and their carers relax, get creative and form new support networks.

Throughout each eight-week term, they share memories that are then incorporated into a relaxed performance for friends and family. All spaces are free.

How to get involved

If you want to get involved with Scottish Opera find out more at-


Scottish Opera Production Studios,
40 Edington Street,
G4 9RD

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