Scottish Opera is the national opera company of Scotland, and one of the five national performing arts companies funded by the Scottish Government. Founded in 1962 and based in Glasgow, it is the largest performing arts organisation in Scotland.
Scottish Opera was founded by conductor Alexander Gibson in 1962. In 1975 it purchased the Theatre Royal in Glasgow from Scottish Television re-opening it as the first national opera house for Scotland in October 1975 with Die Fledermaus. In March 2005, the management of the Theatre Royal was transferred to the Ambassador Theatre Group, but remains the home of Scottish Opera and of Scottish Ballet.
Scottish Opera is committed to bringing the widest range of opera, to the maximum audience in Scotland and the United Kingdom. The company's education unit is committed to delivering socially inclusive outreach and educational productions.
Scottish Opera dealt with various financial troubles, related to lack of funding and accusations of fiscal profligacy, during the first part of the 2000s. Its cycle of Richard Wagner's Ring was critically acclaimed, but also was highly draining of the company's financial resources. In 2004, a financial restructuring plan had called for the elimination of 88 jobs, including all 34 members of the chorus, and the suspension of the entire 2005-06 season. In protest, Sir Richard Armstrong announced his resignation in December 2004, effective at the end of the 2004-05 season.
Recent commissions include the widely acclaimed Five:15 Operas Made in Scotland, part of a five-year research and development project to find the next generation of opera-makers, composers and librettists.
The company has won a host of illustrious awards, including the Barclays TMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for Macbeth and Der Rosenkavalier (both in 1994) and for Die Walküre and Siegfried (both in 2002), as well as the South Bank Show Award for "Best Opera" for the Ring Cycle (2004) and a Herald Angel Award for The Two Widows at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2008.
Scottish Opera has also staged many successful productions abroad, including Albert Herring in Florence,Egisto (opera) in Venice, tours in Germany, Austria, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Yugoslavia and Iceland and recent years including Peter Grimes and Tristan und Isolde in Lisbon; Macbeth at the Vienna International Festival and the European premiere of MacMillan's Ines de Castro in Porto, Portugal.