Scottish Opera event for 25 Years of Festival Theatre


The Festival Theatre Edinburgh marked the occasion of its silver anniversary with a gala performance of Scottish Opera’s The Magic Flute on Saturday 15 June 2019.

The evening performance of Sir Thomas Allen’s celebrated revival of Mozart’s most inventive opera was preceded by a champagne reception. Guests to the gala included representatives from Scottish Government and the City Council, among them The Lord Provost Frank Ross and Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Culture and External Affairs as well as long-standing patrons and supporters of the Festival Theatre.

Many of the guests attending  the event were involved in the founding of the theatre as the city’s Opera House and would have attended the gala performance of Scottish Opera’s production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde on 25 June 1994, programmed as part of the opening season for the long-awaited theatre.

Conceived of as Scotland’s opera house and opened on the site of the former Empire Theatre, the Festival Theatre has since become home to world-class contemporary dance and ballet, musicals, concerts, comedy and event theatre.   

The Festival Theatre has been a regular host for three of Scotland’s national performing companies – Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and the National Theatre of Scotland – as well as an iconic location for many Edinburgh International Festival performances. Its rich history has included hosting the Royal Variety Performance in 2003, hosting the world premiere of The James Plays in 2014 and being a go-to venue for visiting international contemporary dance companies coming to Scotland including Mark Morris, Alvin Ailey, Nederlands Dans Theater and many more.

On the occasion of celebrating 25 Years of the Festival Theatre, and with Scottish Opera, a company so closely associated with the theatre’s commercial and critical success:

Duncan Hendry, Chief Executive of the Festival City Theatres Trust, said: ‘It’s particularly fitting that we celebrate our 25th anniversary with Scottish Opera and a gala performance of The Magic Flute. The Festival Theatre’s raison d'être was to give Edinburgh an opera house and it has been our great honour to support and present the work of our national opera company as well as the work of visiting opera companies from all over the world.’

The Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “It’s hard to believe that it has been 25 years since doors opened to what was Britain’s biggest performing stage at the time. The Festival Theatre proudly stands on sacred ground – this has been the site of theatre in Edinburgh since 1820 – and the current venue certainly continues to stand the test of time.

“In 1994, the District Council working with other statutory funders, helped to create the glass-fronted space and 25 years later it remains one of the city’s greatest venues.

“This is the perfect way of celebrating such a big birthday. The Gala Concert of Scottish Opera’s Magic Flute was another unmissable event!”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Culture and External Affairs, said: “The Festival Theatre has made its mark over the last 25 years by promoting and presenting national and international artists. This has been made possible by the unquestionable dedication and ambition of the Board and Team of Capital Theatres. Its remarkable success and continuous presence in the cultural scene of Scotland, has also been due to the vision and dynamism of its partners, performers, supporters, audiences and champions.”

Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera General Director said: ‘We at Scottish Opera love performing at the Festival Theatre. A gorgeously restored Milburn Brothers’ theatre, it was brought back to life 25 years ago to be the Edinburgh home for Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet alongside the Edinburgh International Festival and fulfilled this brief in an exceptional manner proving to be a glorious venue for all the lyric performing arts. The theatre has great acoustics, wonderful stage facilities and terrific sight lines and, most importantly, audiences really enjoy coming to this wonderful theatre.’


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