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A double-bill of short operettas by Tom Cunningham and Alexander McCall Smith, set in Edinburgh and in the Borders.

The collaboration between the composer, Tom Cunningham, and the writer, Alexander McCall Smith, has led over the years to a wide-ranging offering of song cycles, choral works, and operas. These two operettas are performed in a single programme for the first time here at the Queen’s Hall.

The Tumbling Lassie tells the extraordinary story of a child gymnast who was exploited by a late seventeenth century showman until she was rescued by a warm-hearted woman from the Borders. This led to an important case in the Court of Session in Edinburgh in which the court ruled that slavery was not legal in Scotland. This moving and thought-provoking operetta features a performance by a real contemporary Scottish gymnast.

Dandie Dinmont is the story of the famous Borders farmer of that name in Sir Walter Scott’s Guy Mannering. This operetta was written for the Borders Book Festival and is performed in Edinburgh for the first time in this programme. A highlight of this colourful and romantic piece is a children’s chorus sung by local Edinburgh children: Make us a pie, Mither!

This should be a charming and most enjoyable evening for those who appreciate Tom Cunningham’s engagingly tuneful music and for readers of the varied works of Alexander McCall Smith. The operettas are directed by the well-known Edinburgh musical director, David Lyle; artistic direction is by Alan Borthwick.

All proceeds of this concert go the Tumbling Lassie Appeal, and thence to fund work by charities in Scotland and abroad which help the victims of contemporary slavery and people-trafficking.

The Tumbling Lassie & Dandie Dinmont