SCHOOL-AGED and amateur singers are coming together for a special new opera, Catriona and the Dragon.

Lammermuir Festival and McOpera have joined forces following the success of Noye’s Fludde by Benjamin Britten in 2016 and An Cadal Trom by Matthew Rooke in 2018.

The two organisations will work with school-aged and amateur singers and instrumentalists in East Lothian schools and community groups.

Joining them with a professional cast of opera soloists and musicians, and conductor Sian Edwards, Catriona and the Dragon will deliver professional mentoring, community pride and new skills via a cross-disciplinary and inter-generational operatic project.

Performances take place at Dunbar Parish Church at 4pm and 7.15pm on April 5.

James Waters, co-director of the Lammermuir Festival, said: “We are thrilled to be able to present the world premiere of our new community opera, Catriona and the Dragon, by Lliam Paterson.

“The Lammermuir Festival aims to impact the widest possible cultural community in the county.

“This show, which involves professional performers in partnership with children singing and playing instruments, as well as adult community groups, has been in planning since 2019, and will fill Dunbar Parish Church with the joy of music-making.”

The project presents some complex political and environmental issues within a fairytale world appropriate for the youngest to the most senior members of the community, created by composer Lliam Paterson and librettist and director Laura Attridge.

Catriona is the reluctant ruler of the Kingdom of Beagland, her people threatened with destruction by a fearsome dragon beyond the Bridge to Nowhere.

After fleeing her responsibilities, she ultimately finds the courage to cross over to the beast’s lair, sword in hand.

When she returns, miraculously alive, she summons the citizens of the land to her court to tell them what she has discovered about the real blight in Beagland.

Conductor Sian Edwards conducts an ensemble cast featuring former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Catriona Hewiston (soprano) and Arthur Bruce (baritone), and British-American dramatic mezzo and East Lothian resident Andrea Baker (Sing Sistah Sing!) in her first Scottish operatic role.

They are joined by young local singer Nora Trew-Rae, Kodaly-trained youth chorus Dunbar Voices, a community chorus of local adults, young people and children, and an orchestra of young musicians from the East Lothian Instrumental Music Service, supported by professional musicians from McOpera and the Maxwell Quartet, and alumni of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

The project partners thank the Misses Barrie Charitable Trust, Creative Scotland, Foundation Scotland, The Hugh Fraser Foundation, The Radcliffe Trust and Stevenston Charitable Trust for their financial support for Catriona and the Dragon.

For more information and tickets, go to