Opera Workshop Christmas concerts – Roisin Walsh pictured above at Park Nursing Home. Picture: Lucy Dawson
Opera Workshop Christmas concerts are specifically aimed at hard-to-reach audiences in Limerick city and county
Opera Workshop are spreading musical Christmas cheer across Limerick city and county with a tour of Opera Workshop Christmas concerts to nursing homes in the run up to Christmas. A magical, seasonal initiative funded by Limerick City & County Council, Creative Ireland and RTE lyric fm.
The Opera Workshop Christmas concerts are specifically aimed at hard-to-reach audiences in Limerick city and county. Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and ill-health can make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to attend concerts in conventional venues such as theatres or concert halls. Loneliness too, especially for older people, can be exacerbated at times like Christmas. Opera Workshop is delighted to have the opportunity to bring professional concerts to homes and daycentres making magical musical experiences accessible for audiences.
Shirley Keane, Artistic Director of Opera Workshop says, ‘The live experience of music, singing and chat is always uplifting, especially at Christmas time. Opera Workshop is grateful to the sponsors of these concerts; Limerick City & County Council Arts Office, Creative Ireland and RTE lyric fm for making it possible to reach so many people with such a great team of exceptional performers.’
The Opera Workshop ensemble members will travel to Drombana Day Centre, Ballysimon, the Marie Goretti Nursing Home in Bruff, St Camillus’ Hospital Limerick, the Alzheimer Day Centre in Garryowen, Corbally House Nursing Home and Ard na Ri in Kilmallock. Starting the proceedings at The Park Nursing Home in Castletroy this week, the reception so far has been rapturous and generous from residents and staff. “ Our Residents were thrilled that Opera Workshop gave their time to perform at the Home. It lifted our spirits to have them entertain us as so many of our residents cannot get out and about to these beautiful events. It was a wonderful experience.” said Carmel O’Carroll, Activities Co-Ordinator at The Park Nursing Home, of the opening performance.
The team of operatic carolers are seasoned performers, and they regularly perform in Limerick with Opera Workshop as well as for opera companies in Ireland, the UK and Europe. Sopranos Roisin Walsh, Eve Stafford and Triona Walsh, bass-baritone Kevin Neville, contralto Sarah-Ellen Murphy are joined by pianists Eoin Scanlon and Katarina Speranskaya. They are proving a hit with audiences so far performing popular opera arias and duets, well-known Irish songs, classic musicals and of course these concerts include many Christmas carols and songs. Singing along and dancing are always encouraged!
Speaking of the initiative, Head of RTE lyric fm Sinead Wylde commented, ‘Music brings great comfort, healing and joy. RTÉ lyric fm is delighted to support Shirley’s Opera Workshop wonderful outreach initiative in residential care homes throughout Limerick city and county this Christmas.’
About Opera Workshop –
Opera Workshop was set up in 2017 by Shirley Keane. Based in Limerick city, the company commissions new works and re-imagine familiar opera, mounting productions in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. Our unique ensemble approach to making opera inspires artists who want to work with us and excites audiences, many of whom experience opera for the first time. Our work stimulates new perceptions of opera: what it is and who it is for.