SCHOOLCHILDREN and amateur singers united to create a new opera for the East Lothian community.

Performances of Catriona and the Dragon at Dunbar Parish Church saw Lammermuir Festival and McOpera once again working together, after the success of previous community operas Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in 2016 and An Cadal Trom by Matthew Rooke in 2018.

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

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

The story followed Catriona as 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 was joined by a cast featuring former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Catriona Hewiston (soprano) and Arthur Bruce (baritone), with internationally acclaimed British American dramatic mezzo and local East Lothian resident Andrea Baker (Sing Sistah Sing!) in her first Scottish operatic role.