Getting to Know The First Child

Wednesday, 31 August, 2022
Dean Power Fritz Bek

Described by The Arts Review as 'simply magnificent', we're delighted to be bringing our production of Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh's The First Child on nationwide tour in September! Ahead of our opening night in Navan, we caught up with tenor Dean Power on what touring with this production means to him.

What does it mean to you to perform to audiences around Ireland after so much international experience? Do you enjoy touring and reaching new audiences?

Performing in Ireland, especially in theatres around the country, is the best! Opera doesn't have to only be available in one 'grand' form. Opera should be like water, it should be able to fit into any environment, and be performed under any number of circumstances. The First Child is an incredible opera. Sometimes modern opera has a bad name, as the music is extreme. The First Child is different. It is stacked with melodies. Its subject, although disturbing and heart-breaking, is completely relatable, funny, moving and gripping. It's just WOW!

What do you find the most challenging and rewarding aspects of working on this production?

There are so many challenges in The First Child. Vocally, there are leaps which continuously catch you by surprise. Technically speaking, you have to rapidly navigate your way through your registers. Rhythmically, you have to make sure that the music is in your bones, as there are constant changes of time signature. Our conductor, Ryan McAdams, is a genius and a gentleman! Normally in a piece like this, we'd be staring at the conductor for most of the night. Ryan gives us the freedom we need on stage every night. He leads us when needed and assures us to lead when needed!

Tell us a little bit about your character, Gary.

Gary is an explosion of contradictions. He is cocky and selfish. He gets his news from social media. Of course, he knows better than to trust what the masses are being told. He'd rather go down some rabbit hole and find some eejit online who has a similar opinion as him. Because he is so extremely different to me, he is so enjoyable to play.

What are you most looking forward to audiences experiencing in The First Child?

The whole production! The First Child is an opera that will upend your pre-conceptions about opera - the music simultaneously slaps you in the face and embraces you. It makes you realise that Ireland is a thriving opera nation.

What other upcoming projects elsewhere can we see you in this season?

I'll be performing a Liederabend in Limerick as part of the Castleconnell Autumn Classical Series on 27 September. After that, I'll be performing about 8 roles in the world premiere of Anne-Marie O'Farrell's Civil War Cantata on 30 September. A bit closer to home for anyone in Kerry, I'll be performing in Caherciveen on 19 November as part of a group of Irish male singers called The Coronabeards, which will star Kerry's own Gavan Ring.