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Opera in the Open

Opera in the Open is an initiative of Dublin City Council that presents live performances of operatic work in the open air in Dublin City Centre

This much loved annual opera season takes place for the first 4 Thursdays of the month of August at the Dublin City Council Civic Office Amphitheatre, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.

Each performance of opera is undertaken in an abridged format, is narrated in English and lasts one hour during lunchtime from 1 to 2pm. There is no fee for attending these performances.

The Amphitheatre includes a raised stage, a seated area and grass verges which are ideal for a picnic lunch.  The Amphitheatre is easily accessible from Winetavern Street and space is made available for wheelchair users. 

Opera in the Open proves, beyond a doubt, that there is a significant audience for opera in Dublin. Nestled in the heart of the city, what better way to soak up this beautiful summer in Dublin than to catch an aria or two at lunchtime every Thursday during the month of August. 

The 2019 programme details are below and everyone wishing to keep up to date with the season should log onto:  Opera in the Open on Facebook

The Impresario (Mozart) - August 1st

The Rakes Progress (Stravinsky) - August 8th

Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti) - August 15th

Faust (Gounod) - August 22nd

Please note there is no Opera in the Open on 29th August


The Impresario (Mozart) - August 1st   1pm - 2pm

Scruples (The Impresario) - Mary McEvoy
Madame Goldentrill - Maria McGrann
Ms. Silverpeal - Sandra Oman
Bluff - Rory Dunne
Angel - Oisín Ó Dálaigh
Director Mary McEvoy
Musical Director David Wray

Mozart composed this comic ‘singspiel’ (Der Schauspieldirektor) in 1786, the same year he premiered ‘The Marriage of Figaro’. The original performance took place in the Orangerie at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna for an entertainment given by the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II for the Governor General of the Netherlands. The piece could be summed up as ‘a parody on the vanity of singers, who argue over status and pay’.

The story is about and Impresario (Scruples) who is persuaded by his assistant (Bluff) to present an opera season with the aid of a rich banker (Angel) who is trying to present two opera singers he is having affairs with and will sponsor the company. The two singers are a relatively celebrated ‘mature’ diva Madame Goldentrill and a young feisty soubrette Miss Silverpeal. The two singers try to out compete each other for supremacy in roles and fees.

This performance is in English and so the story will be easy to follow!

The Rake's Progress (Stravinsky) - August 8th  1pm - 2pm

Anne Truelove - Sylvia O’Brien
Tom Rakewell - Oisín Ó Dálaigh
Nick Shadow - Rory Dunne
Truelove - David Howes
Other roles to be confirmed
Director Eoin Cannon
Musical Director David Wray
The Rake’s Progress is a three act opera by Stravinsky with an English libretto written by the renowned poet W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman and is loosely based on the eight paintings and engravings of ‘A Rake’s Progress’ by William Hogarth.

The story is about Tom, a happy go lucky young man who is in love with a young girl, Anne, but Anne’s father, Truelove, has doubts about Tom’s character. Truelove urges Tom to find a “real” job, but Tom is resistant and would rather rely on luck than work to make money. When Tom makes a wish that he had money, a mysterious man, Nick Shadow (who turns out to be the devil), appears and tells Tom that an unknown uncle has left him a substantial fortune. Tom is very excited by his luck and heads off to London with Shadow to collect his fortune. London holds many trials and temptations for Tom and he quickly assumes the lifestyle of a rake. He finds himself in brothels, gambling, and even marries Baba the Turk, a bearded show woman. He seems to have lost his way and forgotten Anne, but Anne braves the city to find Tom and try and help him turn his life back around. Nick eventually reveals his true identity and demands a payment from Tom in the form of his soul. Nick offers him escape if he wins a game of cards. Tom wins with the influence of Anne but Nick is bad loser and condemns Tom to insanity. He is consigned to Bedlam where he eventually dies after Anne leaves.

In the epilogue each of the main characters gives a moral drawn from the opera and in the end a final joint moral, ‘for idle hands, and hearts and minds, the devil finds a work to do’.

Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti) - August 15th  1pm - 2pm

Lucia - Sylvia O’Brien
Edgardo - Richard Shaffrey
Alicia - Sarah Kilcoyne
Raimondo - Brendan Collins
Enrico - Simon Morgan
Arturo - Oisín O’Dálaigh
Director Eoin Cannon
Musical Director David Wray

The tragic love story of Lucia di Lammermoor, set in Scotland in the early 18th century, follows Lucia and Edgardo, members of opposing noble houses who are carrying on a secret affair. Enrico, Lucia’s brother, forces Lucia to marry another nobleman, Arturo, lying to her, saying that Edgardo has betrayed her and married someone else. Lucia is devastated and, so deep in her grief, that she starts to lose her sanity. Edgardo bursts in on the wedding and curses Lucia for betraying him.

After the wedding, Lucia goes mad and kills Arturo in their wedding bed. Edgardo knowing nothing of her madness, vows to a duel with Enrico. Lucia finally dies, imaging she is going to heaven. As her coffin is carried by, Edgardo learns of her death and kills himself to be with her in heaven.

Faust (Gounod) - August 22nd  1pm - 2pm

Faust - Owen Gilhooly
Marguerite - Sandra Oman
Mephistopheles - Brendan Collins
Valentin - Simon Morgan
Siebel - Martha Bredin
Mary McEvoy
Musical Director
David Wray

Faust is a five act opera written by Charles Gounod and is based, somewhat loosely, on Goethe’s Faust, Part One. The story concerns Faust, an ageing scholar, who has devoted his life to studying. As he reflects on his life, he feels that nothing has come of his devotion. He contemplates suicide and, as he is about to do so, he curses God and asks the devil to appear. Mephistopheles, the devil, appears and tempts Faust with an image of a lovely young woman, Marguerite, and Faust makes a deal with the devil. The deal will make Faust young again, as the devil will give Faust life on earth and, in return, Faust must spend eternity with Mephistopheles in Hell.

Faust lusts after Marguerite and eventually wins her over. His thirst for youth has left him with little care of the consequences others will face. Marguerite becomes pregnant, causing her brother, Valentin, to challenge Faust to a duel. Faust, with Mephistopheles’ help, ends up killing Valentin. Marguerite later kills her child and is imprisoned. Faust is let into the prison by Mephistopheles and the two men tell Marguerite they will get her out. Marguerite, however, tells them she would prefer her fate to be in the hands of God. Her faith eventually saves her and she ascends to heaven.


Please note there is no Opera in the Open
on 29th August 2019