St Andrews alumni return to town for a Night at the Opera

St Andrews alumni Laurie Slavin, tenor, and Caroline Taylor, soprano.
St Andrews alumni Laurie Slavin, tenor, and Caroline Taylor, soprano.

University of St Andrews alumni and award-winning performers Laurie Slavin, tenor, and Caroline Taylor, soprano, return to town this Saturday, May 4, for an early evening concert in St Salvator’s Chapel, accompanied by renowned Scottish pianist Walter Blair.

Featuring much-loved scenes from Puccini’s La Bohème, Bernstein’s West Side Story and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, the concert is raising funds for continued study in the specialised field of opera, with a portion of proceeds being donated to the National Deaf Children’s Society.

Since graduating in 2014 and 2015, Laurie and Caroline have completed Masters of Music and Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music respectively. During their time at St Andrews, the pair performed over 15 roles in productions with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Byre Opera (formerly St Andrews Opera) and the Just So Society; and both received the prestigious Cedric Thorpe Davie Memorial Scholarship and Prize in their final year.

“We are thrilled to return to our alma mater for this concert, which will not only allow us to raise funds for career development and to help children in need, but will be an occasion to celebrate where our singing careers began,” said Laurie.

“We feel so lucky to have studied at one of the top institutions in the UK and to have also received a wealth of musical opportunity. For us, it really was the ‘Singing University’!”

Laurie, who graduated from St Andrews with a First in Modern History in 2014, is now preparing to apply for opera schools throughout the UK and USA whilst studying privately with John Evans.

He was a 2016/2017 Alvarez Young Artist with Garsington Opera, covering the role of Albazar in Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia, and a soloist for several seasons with the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company.

He has worked extensively with British Youth Opera and joins them again this year for their summer season.

Caroline is applying for opera schools in the UK and Europe.

She read for an MA (Hons) in French, Italian and Spanish, spending a year at Paris IV-Sorbonne as the recipient of a Stevenson Scholarship.

The 2018 winner of the RNCM Joyce and Michael Kennedy Strauss Award, her operatic roles have included Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Sara in the world premiere of Kaye and Gorb’s The Path to Heaven.

This summer, she returns to Byre Opera as She in the European premiere of Madeleine Dring’s Cupboard Love.

‘A Night at the Opera’ is at St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews, on Saturday, May 4.

Admission is free, with donations welcome. Doors open at 5.45pm for a 6pm start.