Meet the New ABL Aviation Opera Studio 2021-22

Thursday, 23 September, 2021
Abl Aviation Opera Studio Francesco Giusti Ami Hewitt Conor Prendiville Molly De Búrca Davey Kelleher Catherine Donnelly Éna Brennan Shot By Neil Harrison

Six new artists have joined ABL Aviation Opera Studio 2021-22, Irish National Opera’s studio mentoring programme.

The new intake includes four singers, sopranos Ami Hewitt and Catherine Donnelly, tenor Conor Prendiville and countertenor Francesco Giusti. Off-stage, they are joined by conductor Molly de Búrca and composer Éna Brennan whilst director Davey Kelleher returns to the studio for a second year.

Ali Ben Lmadani, CEO of ABL Aviation commented: “I have always been blown away by the performances at the Irish National Opera. It is fantastic to be able to support future talent in the industry and preserve the arts through the ABL Aviation Opera Studio. I look forward to seeing the progress this year’s artists make.”

Studio members will benefit from individual coaching, masterclasses and mentorship with leading Irish and international singers and musicians. Brenda Hurley, Head of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music in London, continues as vocal consultant mentoring singers alongside répétiteur Richard McGrath. Pia Lux and Muriel Corradini also continue their collaboration with the studio as language coaches, working remotely with the participants. The studio also continues its relationship with the Civic in Tallaght as Cultural Partners of the studio, with the Civic’s Artistic Director, Michael Barker-Caven continuing his work as Stagecraft Consultant for the programme.

Members of ABL Aviation Opera Studio are also involved in Irish National Opera’s productions, both main-scale and touring. They sing onstage in roles or in the chorus, understudy lead roles – enabling them to watch and emulate great artists at work – and, for non-singing members, they join in the world of opera rehearsals as assistants. Many alumni of the ABL Aviation Opera Studio have gone on to work in opera houses and studios internationally.

In addition to the main stage opportunities, studio artists also have the chance to take part in bespoke activity. The ABL Aviation Opera Studio will programme concerts, produce new works and run outreach activity with its studio participants. This intensive programme is the perfect opportunity for studio artists to fully immerse themselves, developing the skills required to work in a professional opera company.

Studio and outreach producer James Bingham said “I’m delighted that we’re able to return to in person activity this year with the studio. We were able to run a huge amount of digital activity in the past 12 months which has left a legacy that really adds to the more traditional approach of working in a room together. We’ve a terrifically strong intake of artists this year and I’m looking forward to working closely with all of them”.