“I’m obsessed with music” – composer Lucie Treacher comes to Glasgow with Scottish Opera
However, it wasn’t until she moved north that she started composing.
“I think that was the trauma of it all,” she laughs.
“I think the very first thing I wrote was in the car as we drove through the Highlands, away from my school and my childhood friends, all very melodramatic teenagers…”
She adds: “My father was a bagpiper and pianist, my grandfather was a bandleader – yes, I think it was inevitable that I ended up following them into this world. But I didn’t think about it when I was eight in Glasgow, where all I wanted to do was just play with my friends in the local park.
“Now I would say I’m more and more obsessed with music.”
Lucie is a composer and performer, as likely to create work for big-budget Netflix movies (The Outlaw King) and London’s Southbank Center as she is for video games, underground caves and bathrooms.
She enjoys experimenting with technology and builds her own virtual instruments as part of a project called Folklorica: A Meeting Between Technology and Mythology.
Last year, Lucie created a beautiful 360-degree virtual storytelling experience in a lighthouse, called Bones + Stars, which encourages people to explore earth and sky through a celebration of women scientists.
“I’m inspired by a lot of different things – I always try to follow my initial instinct,” she says.
“A lot of it comes from books and exhibits – I tend to steer clear of other music when I’m creating something.”
Lucie enjoys working with unusual instruments, sounds and samples (a recent video shows her creating beats out of beets, for example) and she’s written everything from soundtracks and symphonies to short films and operas.
It’s the latter who will bring her to the attention of Glasgow audiences on Tuesday, when Scottish Opera arrives at the Webster Theater with Opera Highlights, a vaudeville-inspired collection of classics and lesser-known gems.
On the program, To the Lighthouse, a play by Lucie inspired by the 1927 novel by Virginia Woolf.
“His words are so lively and so rhythmic, but there’s not a lot of staging of his work, so I thought that would be really cool to do,” she explains. “Also the book is set on Skye which is a good connection to the tour.
“I think the landscape, this rural experience of art, also sometimes makes it doubly special.”
The tour includes 18 sites, including some in the Outer Hebrides.
John Savournin leads a cast that includes Scottish soprano Monica McGhee, emerging former Scottish opera artists Margo Arsane and Shengzhi Ren, who were both in Così fan tutte earlier this year, and Dan Shelvey.
Margo and Shengzhi were scheduled to perform on the tour last year, before it was canceled due to the pandemic. Mark Sandon joins the singers as pianist and musical director.
Conceived by Janis Hart, the production is an opportunity to hear a whole range of music in one evening. Curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark, the program includes much-loved classics such as Hansel & Gretel, Die Fledermaus and La bohème.
John Savournin said: “There is such a variety of repertoire in this season’s Opera Highlights – from Puccini to the operetta, to a recently commissioned piece by rising Scottish composer, Lucie Treacher – and I am so excited to create a fun visual world full of performance magic.
Scottish Opera chief executive Alex Reedijk said: “I am delighted that such a fine company of young performers can tour Scotland this spring. I hope this delightfully entertaining, vaudeville-themed Opera Highlights helps encourage our audiences to make a welcome and safe return to live performances, for the first time in two years in many cases.
Lucie feels “excited, honored” to see her work performed alongside the classics.
“I think it’s kind of cool to do something different – these operas are from such a different time,” she says.
She adds; “It will be a real pleasure to come back to Glasgow too, I love visiting the city.
“It was amazing to be asked to contribute.”
Opera Highlights is supported by The Friends of Scottish Opera and JTH Charitable Trust. It opens at the Websters Theater in Glasgow’s West End on Tuesday February 8. Tickets are on sale at scottishopera.org.uk