Irish National Opera’s new season was launched in Dublin yesterday and will bring Opera to more stages around the country than in its first season last year.

The new season will run from July 2019 to May 2020 and includes back to back world premieres of new Irish work as well as the first full Vivaldi Opera to be staged in Ireland.

The INO is funded by the Arts Council and its own revenue streams. It has yet perhaps to catchg the attention of corporate Ireland though with only The Marker Hotel listed as being among its corporate partners.

Launching the new season at the Irish Georgian Society in Dublin, artistic director Fergus Sheil said “I am delighted to have been able to cast Irish singers in so many major roles. In November the flawless mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught sings the title role in Rossini’s Cinderella/La Cenerentola, the role she will also sing on her return to the Metropolitan Opera in New York next spring.”

“In March, another mezzo-soprano, the honey-toned Paula Murrihy, sings the title role in Bizet’s Carmen, in which we also have the luxury of hearing the beautiful, clear and true soprano voice of Celine Byrne as Micaëla.”

“And in May, our Konstanze in Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio is soprano Claudia Boyle, a singer who is captivating in the truest sense of the word. She is joined by the stylish tenor Dean Power as Belmonte. By the way, you don’t have to take my word for any of these descriptions. They all come from reviews by critics who were clearly impressed by what they heard.”

“Even before that,” he continued, “at Galway International Arts Festival in July, there is a welcome and rare opportunity to hear the smoky and alluring New York-based mezzo Naomi Louisa O’Connell here in Ireland. She is well established internationally as an actress as well as a musical performer, and for us she takes on the sole singing role in Brian Irvine’s Least Like The Other, a new work about the tragic life of JFK’s sister, Rosemary. In September our season’s other new work, Evangelia Rigaki’s This Hostel Life, calls on the younger voices of INO Studio, giving the opera an all-Irish cast. Our February and March touring production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel also has an all-Irish cast, with the flowingly resonant Raphaela Mangan as Hansel and the stunning Amy Ní Fhearraigh as Gretel.

“The qualities of our creative teams, directors, designers, conductors, and orchestras are fully a match for those of our singers. Our performances are spread over 11 months, and this will make our season one of the longest and largest celebrations of Irish operatic talent ever presented.”

Arts Council Director Orlaith McBride said “INO has had a truly great start and built a wonderful reputation since its debut in early 2018. The Council recognises and values its strong commitment to Irish artists and to Irish opera audiences all over the country. I am sure the new season will enhance INO’s reputation further in a programme that promises to be as varied, colourful, thrilling and deeply moving as one could wish for.”

INO’s executive director Diego Fasciati said, “These are exciting times for opera in Ireland and particularly for us in Irish National Opera since our launch in January 2018. In those 17 months, we have presented 67 performances of 10 full operas in a total of 21 venues around Ireland, as well as in London and in Amsterdam. Our bold and ambitious 2019-20 season includes back-to-back world premieres of new Irish works and important opera debuts at home for Irish singers based abroad. There is much to look forward to in our 2019/20 season. I cannot wait for the first full production of a Vivaldi opera in Ireland. We are also incredibly privileged that we will hear Tara Erraught in the title role of Rossini’s Cinderella/La Cenerentola just before she sings it at the Met in New York.”

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