Nature’s song gets in tune with eco-opera

Benmore Botanic Garden features as part of an eco opera online at BG_T26_Benmoregarden

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Argyll’s Benmore Botanic Garden and its incredible wildlife play a starring role in a new eco-opera.

As from July 1, viewers will be able to tune into an on-line broadcast, featuring Benmore garden near Dunoon, that was recorded simultaneously with the rural town of Girgarre in northern Victoria, Australia.

It is part of a collaboration between composers, sound artists and filmmakers, in Scotland and Australia where sonic tubes were placed around the gardens letting the wildlife take to the stage, playing guitar strings on feeders to create their own tunes.

Created by independent arts organisation Scissor Kick, it is meant as a ‘multi-dimensional love song to our planet allowing nature to take over and make its own music’.

The episode shows through film, how left to their own devices, the creatures interact with the instruments. Look out for the rare red squirrels and cheeky robins of Benmore perhaps putting their musical talents to the test.

Episode one of the eco-opera –  recorded simultaneously at Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne in Victoria, Australia, and in the village of Balfron, Stirlingshire –  already premiered earlier this month and can still be enjoyed along with the Benmore episode  on the project website,

Peter Baxter, curator of Benmore, said: ‘We have always believed it to be crucial that Benmore is a part of this important international initiative.

‘It describes the elemental relationship between art and nature and demonstrates the core reason for the existence of botanic gardens.

‘All life as we know it is dependent on plants and fungi to survive; Eco Opera is a unique example of inspiring people to be a part of nature and it is a thought-provoking way of getting people to realise just how important the environment around us is.’

Funding for this project came through the National Lottery via Creative Scotland.

Benmore Botanic Garden is one of the three Regional Gardens of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The 120-acre site  is home to the famous Redwood Avenue and an internationally important collection of wild origin rhododendrons.

Other features include conservation plantings from Chile, Japan and Tasmania.