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The Big Bang: The Inaugural Concert of Irish National Opera

The Big Bang: The Inaugural Concert of Irish National Opera – by Frank L.

“THE BIG BANG! a gala concert featuring a roster of Ireland’s top operatic voices singing a wide array of well loved arias and ensembles on Tuesday 9 January, 2018 at the National Concert Hall, Dublin. ”

Find out more about Irish National Opera here.

The National Concert Hall (with the RTE National Symphony Concert at full strength) was the venue for the concert. It began with the overture to Wagner’s Lohengrin (1850) followed by twelve arias sung by a variety of Irish soloists. Some are well-established performers such as Imelda Drumm and Miriam Murphy and others are more recent arrivals in the operatic firmament such as Sharon Carty and Anna Devin. The baritones and basses were in the minority and were but four in number. There were no tenors. The composers stretched far and wide in the operatic repertoire and included Giordano, Gluck, Gounod, Saint-Saens, Rossini, and Verdi but interestingly did not include a Mozart aria. It was overall, however, an excellent way for the Irish National Opera to start its work in promoting the entire opera canon in Ireland.

That work will begin in earnest with Powder Her Face (1995) by Thomas Ades which will start the ball rolling on 24th February in the National Opera House in Wexford and then will tour Kilkenny, Navan, Sligo, Dublin and conclude in Tralee. Then on 13th April, Mozart’s incomparable The Marriage of Figaro (1786) follows, again beginning in the National Opera House, before transferring to the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin. Galway, during its international arts festival in July, will host Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann (1881) at the end of September will open in Kilkenny before going to Galway, Letterkenny and Sligo. Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle (1918) will form part of the Dublin Theatre Festival in October and then in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin Verdi’s Aida (1871) from 24th November will receive four perfomances to conclude the year’s work. This in itself is an ambitious programme. However, in addition in September the company will bring to the Barbican in London, Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh’s The Second Violinist (2017) which was a highlight of both the Galway International Arts Festival and the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2017. An Irish production of an Irish opera outside of Ireland shows that the Irish National Opera intends that its voice will be heard proudly not only in Ireland but beyond these shores.

The Operas:

Thomas Adès’s Powder Her Face
Irish National Opera will open its first season on Saturday 24 February 24th 2018 with leading contemporary composer Thomas Adès’s darkly comic, sexually-charged chamber opera, Powder Her Face. This pioneering work by one of the key compositional voices of our time will be seen in a co- production with NI Opera.

Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro
The company’s first full-scale production will be Mozart’s comic masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Patrick Mason. The title role is sung by the New Zealand-born Samoan baritone Jonathan Lemalu with mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught as Susanna, the object of his desire. Erraught returns to Ireland fresh from her acclaimed 2017 debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Marriage of Figaro will be seen at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, and the National Opera House, Wexford, from Friday 13 April.

Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice
Irish National Opera presents Gluck’s moving telling of the myth of the great musician Orfeo rescuing his wife Euridice from the Underworld in association with Galway International Arts Festival from Monday 23 July, in co-production with United Fall. The stylish mezzo soprano Sharon Carty stars in a production directed by leading dance theatre director Emma Martin.

Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh’s The Second Violinist
Irish National Opera will takes its award-winning production of Donnacha Dennehy’s The Second Violinist — a co-production with Landmark Productions, written and directed by Enda Walsh — to London’s Barbican Centre for three nights from Thursday 6 September.

Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann
The company’s new chamber version of Offenbach’s opéra fantastique The Tales of Hoffmann — an operatic take on the weird and wonderful Gothic world of German writer ETA Hoffmann — will tour to ten venues across the country from Friday 14 September. Soprano Claudia Boyle will be returning home to Ireland for the production fresh from the Salzburg Festival, where she is singing in Hans Werner Henze’s The Bassarids. Tom Creed directs.

Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle
Irish National Opera opens its first partnership with the Dublin Theatre Festival on Friday 12 October, in a presentation of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s operatic masterpiece, the brooding Bluebeard’s Castle. It is directed by Enda Walsh who will, for the first time, direct an opera from the existing repertoire.

Verdi’s Aida
Irish National Opera last offering of 2018 opens on Saturday 24 November. It is an epic production in Dublin’s largest theatre, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, of Verdi’s most spectacular opera, Aida. The powerful Dublin soprano Orla Boylan stars in the title role, and the production is directed by Michael Barker-Caven.

2018 Performance Diary

FEBRUARY
Saturday 24 Thomas Adès Powder Her Face Wexford Tuesday 27 Thomas Adès Powder Her Face Kilkenny

MARCH
Thursday 1 Thomas Adès Powder Her Face Navan Saturday 3 Thomas Adès Powder Her Face Sligo Tuesday 6 Thomas Adès Powder Her Face Dublin Wednesday 7 Thomas Adès Powder Her Face Dublin Friday 9 Thomas Adès Powder Her Face Tralee

APRIL
Friday 13 Mozart The Marriage of Figaro Wexford Tuesday 17 Mozart The Marriage of Figaro Dublin Wednesday 18 Mozart The Marriage of Figaro Dublin Friday 20 Mozart The Marriage of Figaro Dublin Saturday 21 Mozart The Marriage of Figaro Dublin

JULY
Monday 23 Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice Galway Wednesday 25 Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice Galway Thursday 26 Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice Galway Saturday 28 Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice Galway Sunday 29 Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice Galway

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 6 Donnacha Dennehy & Enda Walsh The Second Violinist London Friday 7 Donnacha Dennehy & Enda Walsh The Second Violinist London Saturday 8 Donnacha Dennehy & Enda Walsh The Second Violinist London Friday 14 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Dublin
Saturday 15 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Dublin
Tuesday 18 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Dún Laoghaire
Thursday 20 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Navan
Saturday 22 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Limerick
Tuesday 25 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Cork
Thursday 27 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Tralee
Saturday 29 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Kilkenny

OCTOBER
Tuesday 2 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Galway Thursday 4 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Letterkenny Saturday 6 Offenbach The Tales of Hoffmann Sligo
Friday 12 Bartók Bluebeard’s Castle Dublin
Saturday 13 Bartók Bluebeard’s Castle Dublin
Sunday 14 Bartók Bluebeard’s Castle Dublin

NOVEMBER
Saturday 24 Verdi Aida Dublin Tuesday 27 Verdi Aida Dublin Thursday 29 Verdi Aida Dublin

DECEMBER
Saturday 1 Verdi Aida Dublin

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