Scottish opera school hits Lottery jackpot

November 24, 1995

The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama is set to open a new opera school to mark its 150th anniversary in 1997, with the help of Pounds 2.5 million from the National Lottery.

The college's target is just over Pounds 5 million, and the award from the lottery committee of the Scottish Arts Council has boosted the funds already raised to almost Pounds 4 million.

Philip Ledger said the academy was severely limited for space, forcing opera students to use rented accommodation. It would now create a flexible arts venue, which would be an ideal centre for the development of traditional Scottish music, and would play a pivotal role in Scotland's cultural life.

"Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the opera school will be the formation of a new young company, drawn largely from third-year postgraduate students," he said.

"The company will provide a fresh look at opera in Scotland and generate a new public. It will have tremendous benefits for the singers in that they will be phased into a professional situation rather than being thrown in to sink or swim."

Dr Ledger said the company would take small and medium scale opera to areas of the country which currently had no access to live performances, and would also be involved in educational and outreach projects in the community.

There were plans to equip the school with the latest information technology, linked to Scotland's academic superhighway, the Metropolitan Area Networks, with facilities for interactive video conferencing, he said.

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