The Limerick ensemble-focused opera company, Opera Workshop, announced its 2024 plan at a celebration evening at Gardens International. Picture: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick
Opera Workshop Limerick announced their Autumn and 2024 plans at a celebratory evening at Gardens International
Opera Workshop, an ensemble-focused opera company based in Limerick, recently spent a celebratory evening at Gardens International, hosted by Limerick Twenty Thirty, with supporters and friends sharing in the successes of the Mid West’s only opera production company.
It was a chance to officially unveil their new website and logo created by Limerick based Elive, the design and ecommerce company. Opera Workshop’s first Company Strategy, was also revealed and can be downloaded from the website. The company makes no secret of their ambitious plans for the next few years, aiming to stake a permanent place in the creative sector in the Limerick region.
From the creation of new, groundbreaking work in the city, including their site-specific work at the Old Sailor’s Home in 2019 to their Georgian Limerick Opera, No 2 Pery Square, written by Fiona Linnane, the company loves to create characters and stories that resonate for Limerick audiences in particular.
Their versatility and ability to seamlessly blend contemporary and traditional opera was on display at the launch event with performances from Limerick singers, Sarah-Ellen Murphy, Eve Stafford, Triona Walsh and Opera Workshop chair and baritone, Owen Gilhooly Miles with pianist Anne Cullen, performing music by Fiona Linnane and Guiseppe Verdi.
Artistic Director Shirley Keane took the opportunity to share news of their recent Arts Council funding success, and announced a major new opera production in Limerick coming up in May 2024. The Ballybruff Trilogy by Luke Byrne and Shirley Keane will be produced by the company with production partners Honest Arts at the Belltable Theatre in May 2024.
Described by the creators Byrne and Keane as a ‘1970’s rural riot’, The Ballybruff Trilogy is in fact three short operas with characters from the idyllic-sounding Ballybruff who go to extremes for their own ends, dropping in and out of each other’s stories with catastrophic consequences.
The company will also commemorate the rebellious, often controversial Limerick writer Kate O’Brien in the 50th anniversary year since her death, 2024. Working with Limerick writer Ann Blake, composer Fiona Linnane and Limerick soprano Lorraine Galvin, they will explore the potential for a new opera inspired by O’Brien and her work.
Opera Workshop continues to develop its community and outreach work through its Opera Community Connect programmes, with a particular focus on the well-being of people suffering from dementia and dependent on residential care.
With plans to expand their admin team, they will soon be looking for new arts management and support personnel. All of this is made possible by Business Development and Opera Production grants from the Arts Council of Ireland, further supported by Limerick City & County Council, Arts & Culture Office.
Board member Nyle Wolfe commented on the plan, saying, “exciting times ahead for Limerick audiences and also for our local production and artist communities with so much on offer from this small but incredibly dynamic ‘Limerick and proud’ opera company.”
Pictures: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick