Broadway World - "Irish National Opera Launches in 2018"

Tuesday, 9 January, 2018
News Irish Times4

Irish National Opera Launches in 2018

Opera News Desk

Ireland's opera stars have held global audiences spellbound in recent years to create a golden age of Irish singing. Their artistry is set to propel Irish National Opera throughout its inaugural season and beyond. The bold new enterprise, to be launched with a gala concert at Dublin's National Concert Hall on 9 January 2018, trains the spotlight on world-class Irish singers, orchestras, conductors, directors, and creative teams. The company offers a striking blend of the energy of a modern start-up with the best of operatic tradition. Irish National Opera will present seven operas in its first year, five of them new productions, and tour to thirteen venues in Ireland and London's Barbican Centre.

Irish National Opera's good news story represents a fresh start for opera in Ireland. The company stems from the Irish Arts Council's renewed commitment to the art form, a major endorsement backed by substantial public funding and clear future vision. Its ambitious programme comprises a mix of mainstream opera, modern classics and new work. Irish National Opera opens its 2018 season with Thomas Adès's compelling chamber opera Powder Her Face, given in a touring co-production with Northern Ireland Opera (24 February - 9 March). Patrick Mason's new staging of The Marriage of Figaro, with Tara Erraught, Jonathan Lemalu, Ben McAteer, Máire Flavin and Suzanne Murphy among its stellar cast, marks the company's first full production, opening at Wexford's National Opera House on 13 April before transferring to the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin for four performances (17, 18, 20 & 21 April). In the summer, Irish National Opera presents Gluck's moving telling of the myth of Orfeo ed Euridice in association with Galway International Arts Festival (23 - 29 July); mezzo soprano Sharon Carty stars in a production directed by leading dance theatre director Emma Martin.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for us to create something new," comments Fergus Sheil, Artistic Director of Irish National Opera. "It is also about defining fresh parameters for what opera could and should be. We are starting at a remarkable time for Irish singers, with so many exceptional artists on the international scene. We have the chance to make a bold statement to the public in Ireland about our world-class artists and bring as many of them as possible to the broadest of audiences."

Irish National Opera intends to develop the technical skills required to stage opera in diverse formats and spaces, delivering productions that embrace the creative virtues of originality and flexibility. "We're doing things differently from anything that has gone before in Ireland," says Sheil. "The Arts Council know that Ireland is rich in international talent and recognise that Irish National Opera can carry the art form forward into the future. We're about new ways of conceiving and presenting opera. Our model means that we can tailor works to suit everything from 200-seat to 2000-seat venues." Irish National Opera will collaborate with different orchestras and ensembles for specific projects. It plans to work with, among others, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Crash Ensemble as well as creating its own orchestra for some productions. "This gives us incredible flexibility to produce operas in multiple ways" concludes Fergus Sheil.