Opera at Guardbridge biomass plant

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Arias will accompany ground-breaking green energy production when Byre Opera, the University of St Andrews opera company, performs at the university’s biomass plant within the Eden Campus Energy Centre Guardbridge next month.

The £25 million plant on the east side of the former paper mill site houses a biomass boiler which uses clean, sustainable fuel from sources across Scotland to produce hot water. This water is then pumped four miles underground to St Andrews where it heats university buildings.

Now the plant’s industrial setting will provide a unique backdrop for two short contrasting operas – Vaughan Williams tragic operatic tale Riders to the Sea and the European premier of Madeleine Dring’s dark comic opera Cupboard Love. A cast made up of students and recent graduates will perform the operas, both to be sung in English, in the large open space of the plant, June 18-20.

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The productions will be in the hands of a dynamic and imaginative professional team of theatre industry creatives.

Michael Downes, director of music at the university, said: “We hope the experience of performing close to audiences in an unusual context will draw a new intimacy and level of detail in performance from our singers, while also encouraging new people to attend our productions.”

Byre Opera was formed in 2008 to provide stage experience for students, with guidance from performing arts professionals, while offering high-quality operatic performances to audiences.