Sky's the limit for opera

A PhD student has spoken about his delight on winning a major arts award.

Stuart MacRae was awarded the South Bank Show Sky Arts Award for the production of Ghost Patrol, an opera he has written while studying in Edinburgh.

He accepted the award which he co-wrote with the acclaimed Scottish crime novelist Louise Welsh, at the show’s ceremony in London. Producers Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales were also honoured.

Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh at the South Bank Show Sky Arts Awards.

Principal’s scholarship

Stuart is studying music at the University on a Principal’s Career Development Scholarship.

He says that the scholarship has allowed him to develop creatively, collaborating with artists he would not have otherwise been able to.

Starting in 2010, Ghost Patrol was the first piece he wrote during his studies in composition.

It has been a fantastic experience and as I come to the end of my scholarship, I am very proud of what I have achieved. Winning the South Bank Sky Arts Award really is a dream come true.

Stuart MacRae

Edinburgh world premiere

Ghost Patrol premiered in The Traverse as part of the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival.

The opera has since travelled extensively throughout the United Kingdom as part of a critically acclaimed double bill with In the Locked Room, by composer Huw Watkins.

Prestigious prize

The South Bank Show Sky Arts Awards are highly prized accolades in the entertainment world, celebrating the best of British culture across a range of genres.

Winners in other categories of this year's awards include the James Bond film Skyfall and Hilary Mantel's novel Bring Up the Bodies.

Contemporary and relevant

Ghost Patrol is an opera set five years in the future.

A tense one-act piece, it explores the trauma that war causes through three characters forced to face secrets from the past.

Stuart says he is delighted with the award, and has commended the judges for recognising an opera that deals with difficult topics, such as conflict and the effects of war, relevant to our world today.

Related Links

Principal’s Scholarship

Reid School of Music

South Bank Sky Arts Awards