Our production of HIRDA at this year’s Celtic Connections festival in February was a great success! Special thanks to Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections and everyone at The Old Fruitmarket for making sure it was a fantastic evening.

NOISE (New Opera in Scotland Events) presents:



Music by Chris Stout and Gareth Williams
Libretto by Siân Evans

Directed by James Robert Carson


Hirda is a new opera inspired by the songs, stories, history and heritage of the Shetland Isles. A collaboration between Shetland fiddler and composer, Chris Stout,Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 23.56.59
classical composer Gareth Williams, and librettist Sian Evans, Hirda tells the story of Alastair, a once successful actor who returns to his island home for the wedding of his brother. Everyone’s world is turned upside down when Alastair and his sister-in-law find that they have a strong attraction to each other.The contemporary setting is interwoven with another story about a 19th century woman and her sailor fiancé, told through letters they wrote to each other. The opera is performed using Shetland words and dialect (‘Hirda’ is a Shetlandic word meaning, ‘chaos’, ‘confusion’ or ‘extreme untidiness’).

The production was premièred in the Mareel Arts Centre in Lerwick, Shetland on 26 November 2015.

Hirda is a part of NOISE’s ongoing objective to create opera for particular communities throughout Scotland, inspired by specific places, their history and stories of the people connected with them. This is NOISE’s second full opera, following the success of the Sloans Project.


Jonathan Best bass, James
Marie Claire Breen soprano, Crofter lass
Andrew Dickinson tenor, Iain
Laura Margaret Smith  mezzo-soprano, Vaila
Douglas Nairne baritone, Alastair
Shuna Sendall soprano, Elsa

Conductor Gareth Williams
Director James Robert Carson

Designer Alice Hebdon


For additional press information please contact:
Robert Carson 07974 007440 jamesrcarson[at]hotmail[dot]com
The opera is  sponsored by Stephen White and the Kidbrooke Group whose generous donation was match funded by Arts and Business Scotland.





In March and April 2014 a new artistic team travelled to Shetland and the Fair Isle to  research and develop a new NOISE project.

Director James Robert Carson, Shetland fiddler and composer Chris Stout, Sloans composer Gareth Williams and librettist Sian Evans  explored song, story, history and heritage, together with the local communities into which they were welcomed.

Noise is grateful to Creative Scotland and to Shetland Arts for their support of this project


Gareth Williams

Sian colour

Sian Evans


Chris Stout


Robert Colour

James Robert Carson

Marie Claire Scarf

Marie Claire Breen

Jamie Table

Jamie MacDougall



Shetland fiddler and composer Chris Stout takes NOISE to his Fair Isle home in 2014.


We were there at the time of the South Mainland Up Helly Aa with its amazing flaming torch procession and burning of a replica Viking ship on the beach at Gulberwick.

The South Mainland Up Helly Aa

The South Mainland Up Helly Aa


Maurice Henderson on the fiddle with two other musicians who accompanied the Jarl squad.

Maurice Henderson on the fiddle with two other musicians who accompanied the Jarl squad.

The torch procession at the South Mainland Up Helly Aa.

The torch procession at the South Mainland Up Helly Aa.