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Opera Workshop 2019 2020 announce their new season of productions

Pictured at the launch of Opera Workshop is Lorcan Murray, presenter of classic drive at Lyric FM, Shirley Keane, Opera director and presenter and Irina Dernoba, pianist of Opera workshop. Pictures: Kate Devaney/ilovelimerick

Opera Workshop welcomes friends and supporters at No 1 Pery Square Hotel and announce their new season of productions for 2019 & 2020

Opera Workshop 2019 2020, Limerick’s resident opera company is proud to announce its new season with generous funding from the Arts Council of Ireland and Limerick City and Council Arts Office.  Since its foundation by Shirley Keane in 2017, the company has entertained, surprised and delighted Limerick audiences with the ability to produce accessible opera concerts and challenging contemporary, site-specific works.

The company is committed to commissioning new works, re-exploring familiar opera and to producing productions for audiences across Limerick and neighbouring counties in the south of Ireland.  Shirley Keane, Artistic Director said, “we are gratified by the wonderful feedback from audiences to date.  For such a new and small company, we have managed to make a noticeable and positive impact on Limerick’s cultural scene in a short amount of time.  We are an open, welcoming, company and look forward, in our third year, to working on a variety of projects that include new artistic partnerships, a small tour, and an ambitious new contemporary opera production.” 

opera workshop

The launch of Opera Workshop was held in No.1 Perry Square on Wednesday, October 2. Pictures: Kate Devaney/ilovelimerick

 Further testament to the company’s development is its success in recent rounds of funding applications with the Arts Council of Ireland and the Limerick City & Council Arts Office for a number of wonderful new projects.  Shirley continued, “Thanks to our many supporters in Limerick including The Irish Chamber Orchestra, The University Concert Hall and Limerick Council Arts Department, Opera Workshop has had a wonderfully successful 2018.   On the back of such success, we are delighted to now be developing more ambitious opera productions that are inspired by and reflect Limerick’s past and future.” 

Among the diverse projects ahead for Opera Workshop, the company looks forward to working with Hands in Harmony Deaf Community Choir and filmmaker Lucy Dawson, on a project that will combine film, music and Irish Sign Language.  Christmas promises to be a fun-filled and truly musically, seasonal when the Opera Workshop singers celebrate Christmas each Sunday in December at No 1 Pery Square.  A small tour of tempting operatic delights for those in love and those in denial of love over St Valentines weekend in February 2020 and many learning opportunities for singers and voice teachers in a new Masterclass and Recital Series under the joint partnership of Opera Workshop, the Mid-West Vocal Academy and St Mary’s Cathedral. 

Opera Workshop looks forward to hosting artists from the US, UK and from around Ireland, including Dr Nicole Leupp Hanig, Head of Voice at Portland University Oregon and Marie Vasilliou, singer and voice teacher at The Guildhall School of Music and Royal Academy of Music in London, but as always the company continues to seek out and work with those singers and artistic partners in and around the Limerick area.  With this in mind, they join forces with The Limerick Civic Trust and Honest Arts Productions on the development of a new site-specific opera which will be produced at No 2 Pery Square.  Thanks to generous funding from the Arts Council and the added support of Limerick City and Council Arts Office, ‘No 2 Pery Square’ will be developed and produced with Limerick composer, Fiona Linnane.  Fiona’s joy and excitement at this rare opportunity to write at home, about home, is boundless. Fiona Linnane said, “Working with Opera Workshop on their production at the Sailors Home in May 2019, was an absolute pleasure – the calibre of the musicianship, direction and production was only matched by their commitment and passion.  To work, as a composer, with an opera production company of this standard in my home town is nothing short of a dream come true.   Add to that the links to the city I love – through the Limerick Civic Trust and the People’s Museum of Limerick – and you have a project that can only be a success. I am delighted and proud to be a part of it!”

All in all, a busy, diverse year ahead for this wonderful new addition to Limerick’s cultural life.

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Pictures: Kate Devaney/ilovelimerick

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.