Alistair Digges, musical director of Opera Bohemia, explains the origins of this youthful, innovative and highly professional company which comes to Haddo on August 27…

We started Opera Bohemia when Douglas Nairne and I were finishing our operatic studies and wanted to stage one of our favourite operas, La bohème. The cast was made up of a bunch of our friends and we performed in our home towns and at the Edinburgh Fringe. We were all young bohemians performing La Bohème, so it just had to be Opera Bohemia!

We never knew Opera Bohemia would become such a big thing. We wanted to get more opera out and about in Scotland, more opportunities for young professional singers and musicians, and to share our love of the art form with the next generation.

Since starting 10 years ago, we’re now a charity, we’ve employed well over 100 singers, have an education programme and this year our tour visits 18 venues.This year, we wanted to celebrate with something a bit different and thought it’s time for an operetta! The Merry Widow is fantastic and so much fun so seemed the obvious choice.

The Merry Widow is packed full of famous tunes. I’m sure people will recognise the likes of Vilja, The Merry Widow Waltz, Chez Maxim’s and many more.

At Opera Bohemia we encourage people to come and give Opera a try. We have hundreds of first-timers in our audiences every year and our intimate productions are a great way of getting into the art form. If you’ve never been to the opera before, give The Merry Widow a go: it’s light, funny, great tunes, has singing and dancing, and our production is sung in English.

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