Irish National Opera’s new, five-part online Friday Opera Explorer series kicks off on YouTube and Facebook on Friday 30 April at 5pm and will run every Friday until 28 May. The series offers glimpses into future INO productions and showcases the stars of today and the future. Thirty arias will be presented across the series encompassing a range of different operatic styles. Each episode has an individual focus allowing audiences to explore different areas of opera. There’s Bellini’s unending melody, Donizetti’s vocal fireworks, Wagner’s epic scale, Beethoven’s passion and fire, Massenet’s full-hearted intensity Tchaikovsky’s depth and Richard Strauss’ ability to capture the full world’s emotion in a single moment.
The Friday Opera Explorer series also gives a taster of future seasons spotlighting five Irish composers — Gerald Barry, Amanda Feery, Finola Merivale, Emma O’Halloran and Jennifer Walshe. Each episode will include an interview with one of the Irish composers, where they’ll discuss their work and will share short excerpts.
Fergus Sheil INO’s artistic director describes what to expect “the focus, is on music new to INO’s repertoire, most of it by composers whose work we are planning to feature in future seasons. The full series rolls out like a kind of European musical tour. The performances are by a team of ten of our top singers, who will introduce each aria before performing them.”
Singers involved include sopranos Claudia Boyle, Sinéad Campbell Wallace and Sarah Shine, mezzo-sopranos Gemma Ní Bhriain and Naomi Louisa O’Connell, tenors Gavan Ring and Brenton Ryan, baritones Ben McAteer and Gyula Nagy and bass John Molloy. Gary Beecher and Aoife O’Sullivan provide accompaniment on piano.
Fergus Sheil explains the origin of the concept for the series “Friday Opera Explorer arose from an opportunity that was simply too good to miss. The singers from our concert performance of Puccini’s La bohème were here with us in Dublin in March. We wanted to deliver new opera experiences for our audiences. But normal performances and concerts have remained out of bounds. So we stayed in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to make recordings in the spacious ambience of the foyer and then moved to the completely different, intimately Georgian ambience of the Goethe-Institut on Dublin’s Merrion Square to film further videos.”
Friday Opera Explorer’s wider European repertoire will showcase the work of twelve composers, with a focus on operas from Italy, Germany, France and Russia. Bellini, Donizetti, Beethoven, Wagner, Massenet, Gounod, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Borodin and Richard Strauss have long held their place on the great opera stages of the world.
Episode one features arias by Bellini and Donizetti with performances by Naomi Louisa O’Connell, Gyula Nagy, John Molloy and Claudia Boyle accompanied by Aoife O’Sullivan and Gary Beecher on piano. Fergus Sheil will interview composer Gerald Barry and preview of his opera Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, coming soon to the INO stage.
Episode two brings us to Germany with arias from Beethoven and Wagner, exploring arias from Das Rheingold, Tannhaüser and Fidelio in performances by Gyula Nagy, Sinéad Campbell Wallace, Brenton Ryan, John Molloy and Ben McAteer. Composer Emma O’Halloran discusses her work.
Episode three takes us on a journey to France with arias from Gounod, Berlioz and Massanet. Featuring performances from Gemma Ní Bhríain, John Molloy, Sarah Shine, Naomi Louisa O’Connell and Gavan Ring from operas La Damnation de Faust, Faust, Cendrillon, Werther and Roméo et Juliette. Composer Finola Merivale discusses her new work.
Episode four turns to the music of the Russian masters, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin and Mussorgsky. Tune in to hear Sarah Shine, Gyula Nagy, Brenton Ryan, Claudia Boyle and Gavan Ring perform arias from The Snow Maiden, Prince Igor, Boris Gudonov, Iolanta and Eugene Onegin. Composer Jennifer Walshe discusses her work.
Episode five focuses on the operas of Strauss with arias from Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra and Ariadne auf Naxosperformed by Naomi Louisa O’Connell, Gavan Ring, Sarah Shine, Sinéad Campbell Wallace, Brenton Ryan and Gemma Ní Bríain. ABL Aviation Opera Studio composer Amanda Feery talks about her latest work.
Irish National Opera’s Friday Opera Explorer series is live at 5pm every Friday from 30 April to 28 May.
Friday Opera Explorer series will feature subtitles and will be available to watch on demand for six months.