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A cool place to be;Arts

All those cool sons and daughters who resent going on holiday with their parents now have another excuse: the Scottish Opera summer school is becoming the place to be. The three-week long courses held recently in Glasgow and Edinburgh were over-subscribed - the waiting lists waited in vain.

The other 275 made it to the wire without mishap. No easy matter when they were asked to do in five days what normally covers six months of school time. This year the Glasgow secondary course rehearsed and performed Showtime, a one-act opera by the Scottish Opera For All music director David Munro with lyrics by Allan Dunn.

It was a clever piece. The music hall "audience" was as large as a ball of string, and the acts embraced any specialisms the children cpuld offer, or could master within a few days.

Moreover, the storyline - a competition between two sopranos for the leading role in a struggling troupe - was the cue for a significant collaboration between the Scottish Opera's main company and its education department.

Ann Archibald was "the gentle songbird Miss Sophie Smith," while Debra Stuart took on the rather more rewarding role of "the bold and brassy Miss Marie Le Biche". The two were also in the programme as "vocal specialist" - which meant they also started on Monday morning, teaching the singing. Needless to say, their teaching skills are their other recommendation.

The children performed with the kind of discipline hardliners would like to see in the boot camps. The audience seemed to like it; they were still clapping after the house lights had come up, which is more than the main company usually gets.

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