Hirda was commissioned and produced by NOISE Opera, and created by Gareth Williams and Shetland fiddler Chris Stout, with a libretto by Sian Evans. The world premiere was 26th November 2015 at the Mareel in Lerwick. Hirda has been performed across Scotland, it is the first opera to be performed at the Celtic Connections Festival, and a filmed performance has been shown at the Shetland Film Festival.
The work is an exploration of how opera can be created through collaboration across genres which have evolved completely seperately, and incorporates folk tunes and myths into a new work set in contemporary Shetland.
The question posed by the creative team at the beginning of the project was "what is a "Scottish Opera", and how might it be different from German, French, Italian, English takes on the genre.
Williams and Stout worked together for two years to develop the language of Hirda - a fusion of contemporary classical and folk language. During this development, work was shared at Sloans in Glasgow in front of an invited audience.
Jonathan Best bass - James
Marie Claire Breen soprano - Crofter lass
Andrew Dickinson tenor - Iain
Laura Margaret Smith mezzo-soprano - Vaila
Douglas Nairne baritone - Alastair
Shuna Sendall soprano - Elsa
Conductor - Gareth Williams
Director - James Robert Carson
Designer - Alice Hebdon
More info at noiseopera.com
★ ★ ★ ★
“Tilts at contemporary Scottish opera are not exactly uncommon, but this NOISE company commission from a composing team of Chris Stout and Gareth Williams with a libretto by Sian Evans sets and meets its own high standards.”
“Stout and Williams have combined their talents in a style that sets a benchmark for traditional and classical collaboration.”