Coming back to professional singing in 2010 after an absence of about fifteen years, I had a renewed enthusiasm for opera as a powerful musical and dramatic experience. I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in some wonderful productions at Scottish Opera and part of my new-found enthusiasm made me want to share what opera really is with others, especially those who had never really experienced it. Paisley Opera has become very important to me as I feel we have made a start at spreading the word, that opera at its best is incredibly powerful, dealing with big issues and emotions through the unamplified, natural power of the human voice and acoustic instruments. Our core of volunteer singers have become a supportive and welcoming group of friends who have fun and love singing together with our professional friends to produce of their very best.
Founder and Chorus Member
I was a founder member with my husband, Simon. We used to talk about the idea of starting a community opera in Paisley, and made the leap in early 2017, distributing flyers wherever we could, and spreading the word on social media. I had no musical experience since singing in the school choir several decades ago, so did not think I would be actively involved in singing, just promoting our slightly mad plan, and helping with the practical issues. I thought my inability to read music would be a huge barrier, but it simply is not, and five years on I have been amazed by the benefits and joys of singing in our very friendly and supportive group, which includes many who also cannot read music.
Hi, I’m Alistair and I’m delighted to be conducting Macbeth for Paisley Opera, having had lots of fun conducting La bohème and A Paisley Kiss. Before becoming a conductor I was a horn player then a singer. I’m not planning any more career changes, although I’d quite like to be a wine taster! I studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal College of Music in London. At home in Scotland I am the Musical Director of Opera Bohemia, Scotland’s professional touring company, where we’re currently working on Madama Butterfly. I also conduct The Edinburgh Singers, where we’ve just performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah, one of my favourite oratorios, and Fife Opera where we’re working on Gianni Schicchi and Cavalleria rusticana. Over the last few years I’ve also been working quite a bit in the Netherlands for Nederlandse Reisopera, most recently conducting Verdi’s La traviata.
Hello! My name is Rosie Lavery and I am The Ginger Soprano and conductor currently studying at the RCS Alexander Gibson Opera School. My operatic roles include Mother (Hensel und Gretel, RCS AGOS Scenes), Frau Fluth (Die Lustigen Weiber, RCS AGOS Scenes), Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica, Oxenfoorde, Opera Scenes), Nedda, (Pagliacci, RCS Opera Scenes). At RCS, I have won the prestigious Governor’s Recital Prize at RCS and was awarded 2nd place in the Hugh Robertson Scots Song Competition twice (2020 & 2021) and 2nd place in the French Song Competition. I was also delighted to win the Florence Veitch lbler Prize for Oratorio Singing and to come 2nd place in the Charles Wood Song Prize Competition. As an opera singer from the southside of Glasgow, my biggest passion is making the classical music and opera world more accessible and I am so delighted to be working with Paisley Opera, cultivating the message “Passion Not Posh”. I have been having a fabulous time conducting and teaching with Paisley Opera and can’t wait for our upcoming shows!
Scottish pianist Andrew Brown studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Fali Pavri, and now works there as a part-time dance accompanist and lecturer. He has worked with a wide variety of arts organisations in Scotland including Scottish Ballet (most recently as rehearsal pianist for their 2022/23 production of The Snow Queen) and the National Theatre of Scotland, with whom he has toured the UK and played on Broadway. He works regularly with Opera Bohemia and has accompanied performances of Eugene Onegin, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, The Merry Widow, and The Marriage of Figaro. He is also involved in a variety of education projects, including the Edinburgh International Festival’s annual Opera Project, and their ‘Art of Listening’ programme, which introduces young people to classical music.
Hi, my name is Eilidh and I’m so pleased to be doing some marketing work for Paisley Opera this year! I graduated from the University of Glasgow with a Bachelor of music in 2022, and have since continued to immerse myself in opera. I’m lucky enough to have been a part of eight opera productions with various amateur companies, and am very excited to join Macbeth as my first show with Paisley Opera. As well as singing in the chorus, I am taking on the running of the social media accounts, poster design and press work among other duties. I believe strongly in community music and community opera, so I’m very happy that a concept like Paisley Opera exists, and am even more thrilled to be a part of it!
Hello, my name is Douglas and I am an administrator for Paisley Opera. I have worked professionally as an opera singer for the last 18 years, singing regularly with Scottish Opera and other companies further afield. In particular, I’ve loved every opportunity to share Opera with new audiences through educational workshops and outreach projects which has become my passion. Working with Paisley Opera has been another wonderful way to engage with new participants and audiences. Undoubtedly, the most rewarding part of working with Paisley Opera has been to hear the evolution of the wonderful community chorus, who continue to go from strength to strength, with each member discovering and developing their own unique musical instrument… their voice. Opera is for everyone and Paisley Opera is a wonderful and unique coming together of communities and cultures, to create something special.