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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 2023 programme details are below, more details to follow. 


August 2023

03/08 - La Bohème (Giacomo Puccini)

10/08 - Rita or ‘The Beaten Husband’ (Gaetano Donizetti)

17/08 - L’Elisir d’Amore (Gaetano Donizetti)

24/08 - La Rondine (Giacomo Puccini)

Please note there is no Opera in the Open on 31st August


Thursday 3rd August

La Bohème - Puccini

Mimi - Sandra Oman
Musetta - Shauna Buckingham
Rodolfo - Richard Shaffrey
Marcello - Simon Morgan
Schaunard/Colline - David Scott

Act 1
In mid 19th century Paris, France, there are four Bohemians living in an attic, the poet Rodolfo, the painter Marcello, the musician Schaunard, and the philosopher Colline. They live poorly but are happy. On the night of Christmas Eve, they all intend to go to a bar, but Rodolfo has not finished writing his poem yet. Rodolfo promises to join them soon, and the others leave. It’s cold night and a neighbour, Mimi, knocks on Rodolfo’s door, and she asks him to light her candle for her. But, Rodolfo’s candle goes out, too. At the moment, Mimi accidentally drops her key. When the two search for it in the dark, they touch each other’s hand and become enamoured.

Act 2
At the Cafe Momus, Rodolfo introduces Mimi to his three friends. And, Musetta, the lover of Marcello arrives.

Act 3
The next year, in February, Mimi visits Musetta and Marcello. Mimi consults Musetta about Rodolfo who is recently cold to her. Then, Rodolfo visits Marcello. Mimi hides at once. Rodolfo tells Marcello that she has tuberculosis but can’t afford any medicine for her, and can’t take care of her. He decides to say goodbye to her. and then Rodolfo notices Mimi. They love each other, but they decide to choose to live separately.

Act 4
After some time, the four poor Bohemians live happily as usual. Musetta runs into their room with the dying Mimi. Mimi really wants to die at Rodolfo’s side. His friends go out to come up with the money to buy medicine for her. Rodolfo and Mimi remember the time they enjoyed together before. When their friends come back, Mimi takes her last breath.


Thursday 10th August

Rita - Donizetti

Rita - Shauna Buckingham
Beppe - William Pearson
Gasparo - Simon Morgan

Rita is the landlady of a pub and treats her poor, timid, THIRD husband Beppe like dirt! All of a sudden, Rita's first husband, Gasparo shows up.  Everyone believed he had drowned. In reality, Gasparo had run away to Canada. Believing that Rita has died in a fire, Gasparo has returned to obtain her death certificate so that he can remarry. When the two meet, Gasparo tries to run away. Beppe, however, sees this as an opportunity to free himself from Rita's slaps because Gasparo is her legitimate husband. The two men agree to a game whereby whoever wins has to remain with Rita.  Both try to lose, but ultimately Gasparo is the "lucky" winner.  Rita refuses to go back to Gasparo however, as he was just as abusive to her as she is now to Beppe!  Gasparo, pretending he has lost the hand, induces Beppe to declare his love for Rita and his firm intention to remain as her husband. The crafty Gasparo, having achieved his purpose, heads off on his merry way!  Ain't marriage great?…


Thursday 17th August

L’Elisir d’Amore - Donizetti

Adina - Maria McGrann
Nemorino - Andrew Gavin
Belcore - Simon Morgan
Dulcamara - Shokri Raoof

Director - Mary MacDonagh
Musical Director - David Wray


A tale of unrequited love, cheap wine and a furtive tear.

It tells of a day in the life of Nemorino, handsome but poor, who is in love with wealthy landowner Adina. She however, is more impressed by the grandiose, slightly ridiculous, Sergeant Belcore. Desperation drives Nemorino to consult with the travelling 'Doctor' Dulcamara, who provides him with a potent love potion (yellow pack wine), with instructions to knock it back and wait 24 hours for magical results in the 'girlfriend' department (and for Dulcamara to be 20 miles out of town). However, he cautions, tell no-one. Otherwise they'll all want some. A few hours later, a thoroughly drunken Nemorino so infuriates Adina with his behaviour, that she agrees to marry Belcore toute suite. Nemorino pleads with Dulcamara for a second bottle of potion to speed up the process, but he has no money to pay. Join the army says Belcore - take the Kings shilling. Nemorino does, purchases and drinks love potion no.2. Meanwhile, the village girls have just heard that Nemorino's wealthy uncle has died, leaving him all his money. Wow, this potion is good stuff, he thinks, as girls swarm around him. Adina, watching from the sidelines, is filled with remorse and regret and weeps a furtive tear at her loss. Nemorino sees the tears and rejoices, she loves him! Belcore is unimpressed. Dulcamara rushes off to brew more yellow pack, love potion.


Thursday 24th August

La Rondine - Puccini


Magda - Sandra Oman
Ruggero - Ben Escorcio
Prunier - Fearghal Curtis
Lisette - Shauna Buckingham
Rambaldo - Peter McCamley

Director - Peter McCamley
Musical Director - David Wray

La Rondine takes place in Paris and then the Riviera at the end of the 19th century. The wealthy Rambaldo and his mistress, Magda, are entertaining theatrical and literary friends. Prunier, a poet, and the lover of Magda’s maid , Lisette declares romantic love is back in fashion. Magda realises she is living without love. That night, she dresses up as a working class woman and goes off to the Bullier nightclub. There, she falls in love with a young man, Ruggero, and decides to leave Rambaldo. They leave to live humbly in the Côte d’Azur. Things are going well with the couple until Ruggero surprises Magda, with a proposition of marriage. Magda is then forced to tell the young man about her immoral past. In the end, she feels she must leave Ruggero and leaves him sobbing.