The Irish National Opera burst into life in Dublin yesterday announcing an ambitious programme of no fewer than 38 performances across seven productions in 12 different locations.

The new company is a coming together of Wide Open Opera and Opera Theatre Company and is funded by the Arts Council to the tune of €2.5 million.

The touring programme will feature popular opera’s including Marriage of Figaro and Aida and will include three nights at London’s Barbican Centre with a production of The Second Violinist.

“We’re ambitious, bold and new,” states the introduction on the new Irish National Opera website.

“In our first year, we will present seven operas, five of them new productions, and tour to thirteen venues in Ireland as well as to London’s Barbican Centre.”

“We will collaborate with Irish artists and opera stars who have held global audiences spellbound.”

The programme will take in Wexford but also go into the Arts mainstream with productions as part of the Galway International Arts Festival and the Dublin Theatre Festival.

The first year will be rounded out with four nights of Verdi’s Aida at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre.

“This is great news for Irish opera lovers,” said Arts Council Chairwoman Sheila Pratschke

“The company’s 2018 programme of work is very exciting and it will shine a well-deserved spotlight on world-class opera singers, orchestras, conductors, directors and creative teams in this country.”

“The launch of the new opera company is the culmination of several years of work by the council and it is central to our national opera policy. This will be a wonderful year for Irish opera audiences.”

In addition to Arts Council funding and commercial revenues through ticket sales, the Irish National Opera is actively seeking partnerships with companies and individuals.

There is an offer to become a member of the Founders Circle and to have your name recognised in perpetuity for a contribution of €1,000.

Elevon, Danone, Visa, Bank of Ireland and Fáilte Ireland are among the supporters of the Wexford Festival Opera while others including brands of the calibre of PwC and Zurich have also been involved in this perceptually higher end of the Arts.

That, in a sense, is what the new Irish National Opera is out to change. We wish them luck in their endeavours and will enjoy following their connection to the commercial world.

Image Credit: Leon Farrell, Photocall Ireland