Singing the praises of opera

Outstanding work

Sir, – The exceptionally successful run of Puccini’s La Bohème by Irish National Opera at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre last week is, in terms of creation and realisation, light years forward from the unfortunate demise of Opera Ireland back in 2010. This demise of Irish opera left the legacy, among other burdens, of having at some point to reawaken, reassure and revitalise an Irish audience in support of this wonderful art form.

Eventually, in early July 2017, the Arts Council announced a process for “a preferred provider” of main-scale opera in Dublin from 2018. This announcement also outlined, what seemed, a very aspirant blueprint for opera’s future and development goals.

In addition to main-scale opera the Arts Council also committed to introducing bursaries and training schemes for opera artists, support for the development of Festival Opera and for smaller-scale touring opera across Ireland.

The message was clear: opera would be brought to the people across Ireland.


As a society we have become all but immune to failure in realising goals and ambitions set by or set for various elements and activities of Irish life and society but not so in this particular instance.

As “an outsider looking in” and having come to opera myself in little more than a decade ago, the evidence clearly points to the ambition for opera in this country well on the way to being fully and comprehensively realised in a short six years.

Exceptionally competent, talented and generous people, working coherently as leaders, visionaries, artists and gifted specialists, which this complex art form demands, have done outstanding work and have attained a remarkable level of excellence in a very short time. – Yours, etc,