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Acteon meets Tam O' Shanter

Groundbreaking Opera in scots dialect




There will be a one-night performance of the Scots language version of the French opera Actéon by Charpentier at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum on the 16th of August.


Enjoy an evening of French baroque opera delivered in Scots dialect and enter into the Greek myth of Actéon, based on a story in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, recounting the tragic tale of a young hunter who, caught peeking at the goddess Diana bathing, is turned into a stag by the furious deity, and then devoured by his own hounds. Unlike Tam, Actéon was not as fortunate when stumbling across something he shouldn't have! The dark forces who punish voyeuristic men have been at work under many guises.


This production will be the outcome of a Baroque Opera Course held at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum between the 10th and 16th of August and will include local community singers, students and professional singers/musicians.  Participants will use the piece to work on vocal technique, interpretation, style and stage skills as well as giving a platform from which they can gain confidence.  For some participants opera is a completely new medium and performing in public will be a huge achievement.


This course will be led by tenor David Douglas who has gained much knowledge and experience performing French baroque music and opera.  David will be fresh from performing in a European tour with the highly acclaimed Les Arts Florrisants conducted by the renowned William Christie. Other experience includes performing the title role in Acteon by Charpentier  with Dartington Advanced Opera,  Asterion in Nais by Rameau with The Britten Pears Young Artist Program, singing in English National Opera's production of Charpentier's Medea, conducted by Christian Curnyn and in the Glyndebourne Festival Opera's production of Hyppolyte et Arice, conducted by William Christie.


Local conductor and musician Stephen Cowan and vocal coach and singer Siobhan McAuley will join David in providing the tuition and musical preparation for the piece. Stephen is musical director of Dreghorn Musical Society and Kilmarnock and District Choral Union and Siobhan is the musical director of the Ayrshire Infinity Choir and  vocal coach on the West End production of The Lion King using her ability to understand and develop extended vocal techniques.


Creative Team


David Douglas - Tenor & Vocal Coach


David Douglas was born in Ayrshire, Scotland and trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music.  Operatic roles include Acteon/Acteon by Charpentier (Dartington Advanced Opera) Asterion/Nais by Rameau(Britten Pears Artist Program); Dr Blind/ Die Fledermaus, Pyramus/ Pyramus and Thisbe (RNCM); Frederick/pirates of Penzance (Phoenix Opera); Sailor/Dido and Aeneas (Manchester Camerata and Silk Opera); Creating the roles of Damien and Tony/Jacko’s Hour (Opera Engine); Le Remendado/Carmen (OperaLab); Baba Mustapha (cover)/Barber of Bagdad (Buxton Festival Opera) Wilhelm (cover)/Mignon (Buxton Opera Festival).  Concert experience includes Scottish Song Recital, British Music Festival concert, Schumann festival Concert (RNCM); Mozart requiem (Chesterfield Philharmonic); Bach Magnificat, Vivaldi Magnificat (Bollington Festival); Saint-Saens Oratorio de Noel (Bolton Choral Union); Monteverdi Vespers, Finzi For St Cecilia (Levens Choir); Bach Christmas Oratorio (Dumfries Choral); Orff's Carmina Burana (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic), Stravinsky’s Les Noses (Salford Opera Action Project and Future Fires) Messiah (Befast Philharmonic); Paul Spicer EasterOratorio (Northern Chamber Orchestra). David has recently joined Welsh National Opera’s Singing Doctors project, using his vocal gifts to communicate with dementia patients. David recently performed at English National Opera in February 2013, singing in the chorus of Charpentier Medea, conducted by Christian Curnyn and in the Glyndebourne Festival Opera's production of Hyppolyte et Arice, conducted by William Christie. David's roots come from scottish traditional music which he has now returned to in the making of his debut solo album, which includes his own songs and arranged. Future engagements include a UK tour with Opera North and a European tour with the highly acclaimed baroque ensemble Les Arts Florrisants. 


Siobhan McAuley - Soprano & Vocal Coach


Siobhan McAuley has been immersed in musical performance from an early age. At the age of five she joined the Glasgow Youth Choir singing as a soloist and touring throughout Europe. Since graduating from the RSAMD (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) Siobhan has continued to perform solo in operas, recitals and nationwide competitions, highlights include playing principal cast roles in Mozart’s Magic flute and Marriage of Figaro, Puccini’s La Boheme, Berlioz’s Natiity and Faure’s requiem. More recently Siobhan has lead the Cast of London’s West End hit show The Lion King building up a reputation as one of the UK’s leading Vocal coaches.  Siobhan is the founder and creative director of the Ayrshire Infinity Choir.


Stephen Cowan - Musical Director & Music Teacher


Stephen Cowan graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in July 2006 with BEd Music (Hons).  During his time at the RSAMD, he studied flute with Sheena Gordon, piano with Lily Geddes and Isabel Anderson and conducting with Dr Alasdair Mitchell.  Since graduating he has been actively involved in music making both within local schools and within the community. As a church musician, Stephen has held a number of varied and challenging positions within many churches including, for five years, when he was Organist and Director of Music at Fullarton Parish Church, Irvine and responsible for the development of their vast musical resources (instrumental and vocal). Since 2006 he has taught Music at Auchenharvie Academy, Stevenston and currently holds the post of Principal Teacher of Leadership (Skills Development).   Stephen has been Musical Director of Dreghorn Musical Society since August 2008 and became Musical Director of Kilmarnock and District Choral Union in January 2013.


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