In its latest online project, following the acclaimed 20 Shots of Opera, Irish National Opera’s new, five-part Friday Opera Explorer series brings together select historic opera arias and five interviews with current Irish composers. “The focus,” explains artistic director Fergus Sheil, “is on music new to INO’s repertoire, most of it by composers whose work we are planning to feature in future seasons… I’m delighted to extend the reach of our taster of future seasons with five Irish composers — Gerald Barry, Amanda Feery, Finola Merivale, Emma O’Halloran and Jennifer Walshe.”
Friday Opera Explorer will add up to 30 arias by 12 composers, including Bellini, Beethoven, Wagner, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, and Richard Strauss. The performances are by a team of ten leading singers and two pianists, with sopranos Claudia Boyle, Sinéad Campbell Wallace and Sarah Shine, mezzo-sopranos Gemma Ní Bhriain and Naomi Louisa O’Connell (pictured below), tenors Gavan Ring and Brenton Ryan, baritones Ben McAteer and Gyula Nagy and bass John Molloy. Their two hard-working partners at the piano are Gary Beecher and Aoife O’Sullivan.
Premiering on INO’s YouTube and Facebook channels, every Friday at 5pm from April 30 to May 28, the items will be presented informally by the singers themselves. Subtitles on screen will translate material sung in original languages, and free PDF programmes with extra information available online. This week’s opener includes music by Bellini and Donizetti, and an interview with Gerald Barry, previewing his opera ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’.