Scottish Opera Announces 2017-18 Emerging Artists

By Francisco Salazar

The Scottish Opera has announced its emerging artists for the 2017-18 season.

The artists that will participate this season include mezzo Catherine Backhouse, composer Samuel Bordoli, baritone Alexey Gusev, conductor Patrick Milne, costume trainee Ellen Murgatroyd, baritone Alex Otterburn, and mezzo-soprano Laura Zigmantaite.

The Emerging Artists singers will give recitals at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in December and at the University of Glasgow Concert Hall in January. The program also offers young artists a period of full-time work with the company to help them launch their careers. Initially established to nurture outstanding young singers, the program now includes positions for a repetiteur, costume trainee and a composer in residence. Backhouse, a Robertson Trust Scholarship Emerging Artist, has graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama opera studies and artist diploma

This year, mezzo-soprano Backhouse takes on the role of Annina in Scottish Opera’Traviataaviata,” which opens the 2017-18 season and will be part of the Opera Highlights tour next spring.

Meanwhile, composer-in-residence Bordoli will create a new work entitled “Wings” for Opera Highlights, which will receive its world premiere in September 2018. He was mentored by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for nine years after studying with him at Dartington International Summer School.

Baritone Gusev was principal baritone with the Rostov State Opera and Ballet Theatre for seven years and sang principal roles for the Astrakhan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet in 2013 and 2014. He is one of this autumn’s Opera Highlights cast members and will perform in Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta” in the Sunday Series: Opera in Concert in October. He will also perform in the company’s productions of “Ariadne auf Naxos” and “Eugene Onegin” in spring 2018.

Milne is the emerging artist repetiteur and will be music director and pianist on the spring dates of Scottish Opera’s Opera Highlights tour. He is about to complete his masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has worked as assistant conductor and repetiteur for a number of opera companies, including three seasons at Grange Park Opera.

Costume trainee Murgatroyd has worked at the Royal and Derngate in Northampton and at Garsington Opera, and has completed an internship at Glyndebourne. She will work on Scottish Opera’s Season 2017-18 productions in the costume department.

Baritone Otterburn recently performed the role of Eddy in Turnage’s “Greek,” a co-production between Scottish Opera and Opera Ventures which opened at Edinburgh International Festival. He is a 2014 winner of the International Opera Awards bursary and will perform in Scottish Opera’s productions of “La Traviata” and “Ariadne auf Naxos.”

Mezzo Zigmantaite recently won first prize at the Giovanni Musicisti competition in Italy, the Isabel Jay Prize and the Mozart Singing Competition. She is slated to perform Flora Bervoix in “La Traviata,” Dryad in “Ariadne auf Naxos” and sing in the Sunday Series in a concert performance of “Iolanta.”