Club Noir and Scottish Opera collaborate on A Night At The Opera
Burlesque night prepare for unlikely pairing
This article is from 2010.
Club Noir are masters of their art; in the last six years or so they have grown from humble beginnings to being officially recognised by Guinness as the largest burlesque club in the world. They’re usually found at work in Glasgow, where they take over the O2 Academy on a semi-regular basis with their mix of performance, cabaret, live music and DJs. A playground for the performers and audience alike to forget the mundanities of everyday life and recast themselves in an exotic world of saucy alter-egos and glamorous attire.
‘Who wouldn’t want to be involved in burlesque – it’s fabulous,’ laughs promoter/performer Tina Warren, who runs Club Noir alongside her business partner, Ian Single. ‘There are very few of us who aren’t closet show-offs and it’s just such fun. It’s glamorous and people like me just love old Hollywood movies and you’re bringing all that to life. Even if it was a just a DJ and a chance to dress up, people would still love the scene, that’s so important to people. That people can create new personas and just that element of the burlesque scene alone is fabulous.’
For this year’s festival they are embarking on one of their most ambitious projects so far. There are some genres you never expect to come into alignment, but sometimes the juxtaposition of two art forms seemingly at odds with each other can result in something unique and beautiful. And this year two very different companies are joining forces for the very first time as Club Noir and Scottish Opera present a combination of burlesque and opera.
‘It’s a very unlikely pairing, it’s absolutely bizarre and I love it for that,’ explains Warren. ‘We’d been chatting to them for maybe a year and they were like, “that might be interesting, we’ll have a think about it” then earlier on this year we got back in touch and they said “let’s do it”. No one was more surprised than me.’
Perhaps there’s more shared ground between these two seemingly disparate performance arts. ‘Certainly at first sight you think, what have they got to do with each other?’ says Warren. ‘But once you scratch the surface there’s that over-the-top drama,
the theatricality, the tongue-in-cheek humour that sometimes opera has, the big plots and the dresses, I think there’s a surprising link there.’
‘We think that opera and burlesque are perfect bedfellows and we’re looking forward to a fun night,’ adds Scottish Opera’s General Director, Alex Reedijk. ‘It’s about high theatrical and production values, extremely talented live performers, fantastic costumes and ultimately putting on a good show.’
It’s a show Club Noir and Scottish Opera have been working on for a number of months, as classical operatic singers join burlesque stars for a rich, musical and cheeky journey through the grand traditions of both art forms. ‘We’ve not just thrown it together, we’ve really thought about it, collaborated on it and I think it’s going to be a brilliant show,’ says Warren. ‘I’ve been very impressed with Scottish Opera and the way they’ve handled it, there’s been none of the stereotypes I expected at all in terms of how they’ve approached it. They haven’t been at all elitist or anything like that, they’ve been a real pleasure to work with.’ It’s a show that should appeal to audiences of both disciplines, reminding Club Noir fans of the power of opera while putting the fun back into what can be considered the stuffy world of opera.
Club Noir are also continuing to expand their saucy empire with more interesting and diverse projects such as film nights at Glasgow’s GFT (starting with a screening of Some Like It Hot on 5 September) and gigs (such as their Mod vs Rockers double header from Modus and The Coy Dogs at the O2 ABC in Glasgow on 21 August). ‘I’m really excited about doing the films and the gigs but we’re not taking our eye off the ball with the burlesque clubs, that’s my baby,’ says Warren. ‘I’ll never be a millionaire doing this. The more money we make, the more money we plough back into the shows to make them bigger and better. That’s where our joy comes from.’
Club Noir: A Night at the Opera, HMV Picture House, 0844 8471740, Sat 14 Aug, 8pm-2am, £22.50.