Monday 22 October 2012

McOpera - a new venture

With the delightful name of McOpera, the musicians of the Orchestra of Scottish Opera are marketing themselves as musicians co-operative. Last year's restructuring at Scottish Opera resulted in the orchestra being made part-time and this latest move is aimed at providing a new business model to help keep the orchestra together. McOpera, which currently has 53 of the orchestral musicians on board, will offer ensembles of varying sizes for hire, ranging from small instrumental groups to a large orchestra all taken from the pool of musicians available.

The group is planning a series of concerts next year to showcase their talents. The plan is to be ready for business, with a fully functional website, by the end of this year. McOpera is being run by the musicians themselves and this venture will give the players a great deal more artistic freedom. This, combined with the flexibility of ensemble size, offers the possibility of playing in smaller and more alternative ventures.

Those of us with long memories can remember Scottish Opera when it did not have a house orchestra and used a variety of orchestras for its projects, including the SNO and the Scottish Philharmonic/Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The move to a dedicated ensemble seemed ideal, but there has always been the suspicion that orchestra was underutilised. Putting the players on part-time contract was hardly ideal and it is hoped that this new move will not only help keep the players together but general a new buzz and excitement as well.

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