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Outdoor opera returns to stunning setting of Duff House

7 August 2012

The UK’s only outdoor operatic touring company Illyria is to return to the stunning grounds of Duff House following a hugely successful performance last year.

“HMS Pinafore”, by Gilbert and Sullivan, will be staged at this magnificent setting on Thursday, August 23rd, when the comic opera will be performed by a reduced cast on a nautical set.

Cheerfully mocking the British class system and patriotism, the opera spins a tangled love story from the setting of the warship, HMS Pinafore. The captain’s daughter, besotted by a young man her father believes is below her rank, fights her father’s wishes for a marriage to the First Lord of the Admiralty. The tale explores whether or not true love, in such trying circumstances, can succeed.

Although Gilbert and Sullivan wrote the operas with up to eight principals, a large chorus and moderate orchestra in mind, Illyria tours with a cast of seven actor-singers and one musical director on piano. Despite this, the works are performed in their entirety and not a single word is cut, nor a note left unsung.

Historic Scotland Duff House General Manager Rachel Kennedy said: “Illyria’s entertaining and accomplished performance of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ was such a hit with our audience last year that we immediately booked a return visit.”

Tickets for “HMS Pinafore” are available on the door on the evening, or in advance from the Illyria website ( or Duff House on 01261 813003. Adult tickets cost £14, child/ student/ OAP £11, and family tickets for two adults and two children £40. Doors open at 5.45pm, with the show starting at 6.30pm and finishing at 8.45pm.

Guests are advised to bring their own seating – folding chairs or rugs, for example, as no seating is provided at the venue, and to dress appropriately for the weather, as this is an outdoor event.

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

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  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                                       Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

David Gray
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805