OWEN WINGRAVE

an opera by Benjamin Britten
in association with the Académie de l'Opéra national de Paris & the ICO
"Courage in war is false, courage in peace, as poets know, wins everything.”

An opera in two acts

Libretto by Myfanwy Piper based on a short story by Henry James

As pertinent now as then, OWEN WINGRAVE was composed by Benjamin Britten at the height of the Vietnam War. The opera poses the question: Is pacifism an act of cowardice? Or rather a desire to escape from the spiral of war and create world peace? To what extent do we determine our own futures? Should we let past events inform the decisions we make? Britten’s characters grapple with timeless issues in this gripping psychodrama.

THE STORY

At Coyle’s cramming establishment in London, Owen and his friend Lechmere are learning the strategy of battle. At the end of the lesson, Owen declares that he cannot go through with a military career. Coyle is angry but agrees to break the news to the Wingrave family for whom soldiering has been a way of life for decades. At their haunted country house, Paramore, Owen is rounded on by his aunt Miss Wingrave, his fiancée Kate Julian and her mother. The elderly head of the family, Sir Philip Wingrave, who fought at Bhurtpore, is similarly outraged. In the Prologue to Act Two, a ballad singer narrates the tale of the young Wingrave boy killed by his brutal father for refusing to fight over an argument with a friend. Sir Philip disowns Owen, depriving him of his inheritance. Kate humiliates Owen by flirting with Lechmere. After everyone has gone to bed, Owen, left alone, reflects on his predicament and reaffirms his passionate belief in peace. Kate comes looking for him. She taunts him with cowardice and dares him to sleep in the haunted room…

“One needs hardly emphasise how many threads from the deepest of Britten’s preoccupations, formulated in wholly characteristic dramatic and musical images, are drawn together as the opera moves to its ironic close. These are major preoccupations and this is a major theatrical work, in which they are again pressed home with consummate art.”

Donald Mitchel writing in The Listener

Reduced orchestration prepared by David Matthews. 

Performances by arrangement with Faber Music Ltd, London.

Supported by the French Embassy in Ireland https://ie.ambafrance.org

CREATIVE TEAM:
Stephen BarlowConductor

Stephen Barlow

Stephen Barlow is the Artistic Director of Buxton Festival, for which he has conducted Intermezzo, La Colombe, La Princesse Jaune, The Jacobin, Otello, Lucia di Lammermoor and Louise.

He has conducted the premières of his own opera King in Canterbury Cathedral and of his Clarinet Concerto with Emma Johnson and the Ulster Orchestra; The Rake’s Progress with Nationale Reisopera; Faust and Nabucco in Australia; Bluebeard’s Castle with the Auckland Philharmonia; FalstaffRusalka and Norma at Grange Park Opera; the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme Summer Concert at the Royal Opera House and Sweeney Todd with Bryn Terfel at the Royal Festival Hall.

In 1977 he began a long association with Glyndebourne conducting The Rake’s Progress for GTO. He co-founded Opera 80 where he was Music Director between 1988 and 1991. During this period he was resident conductor at the English National Opera‚ conducted with Scottish Opera‚ Dublin Grand Opera‚ Opera Northern Ireland‚ Opera North and made his Royal Opera debut at Covent Garden conducting Turandot‚ where he later returned for Die Zauberflöte. He was Artistic Director of Opera Northern Ireland from 1996 to 1999. Productions include The Cunning Little Vixen at ENO‚ La Bohème at Grange Park‚ IdomeneoThe Barber of SevilleFidelio and Madama Butterfly in Belfast‚ Albert Herring‚ Falstaff‚ The Marriage of Figaro and Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Garsington and Madam Butterfly with Opera North.

Stephen made his international debut in 1989 conducting The Rake’s Progress for Vancouver Opera‚ since when he has returned for Madam Butterfly and Tosca. His US debut followed in 1990 when he conducted Capriccio with the San Francisco Opera and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and then his Australian debut‚ in 1991‚ with Die Zauberflöte for Victoria State Opera. Subsequent foreign engagements include Elektra and Gounod’s Faust in Seville‚ The Cunning Little Vixen in Berlin‚ Capriccio and I Capuletti ed I Montecchi in Sicily‚ Rigoletto in Tirana‚ Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Riga‚ Madama ButterflyDon Giovanni and Il Trovatore in Auckland‚ La Cenerentola and Turandot with Florida Grand Opera‚ Carmen in Melbourne‚ Turandot in Miami and Romeo et Juliette for the State Opera of South Australia.

In addition to his operatic work‚ he has conducted most of the major UK orchestras‚ and concert appearances further afield have taken him to Aarhus‚ Adelaide‚ Amsterdam‚ Belgrade‚ Bilbao‚ Brisbane‚ Copenhagen‚ Detroit‚ Johannesburg‚ Lausanne‚ Lille and Perth. In 1997 he was appointed Music Director of the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. Recordings include Joseph James’ Requiem with Sumi Jo and his own composition Rainbow Bear with his wife‚ Joanna Lumley‚ as narrator.

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Tom CreedDirector

Tom Creed

Tom is a theatre and opera director based in Dublin.

Opera and music theatre productions include world premieres of Donnacha Dennehy’s The Hunger in St Louis and New York, Annelies van Parys’s Private View in Antwerp, Ghent, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, Budapest, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Jürgen Simpson’s air india [redacted] in Vancouver, as well as The Human Voice and Susanna’s Secret for Opera Theatre Company, Mavra and The Bear for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Die Zauberflöte, Suor Angelica, Mavra and Renard for the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

His extensive work as a theatre director over the past ten years includes productions for the Abbey Theatre, Gate Theatre, Rough Magic, his own company Playgroup and a range of independent Irish companies, which have played in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA. He was nominated for Best Director at the Irish Times Theatre Awards in 2007.

Tom was Festival Director of Cork Midsummer Festival from 2011 to 2013, and was nominated for an Irish Times Irish Theatre Award in 2012 “for original and dynamic use of local spaces at Cork Midsummer Festival”. He has previously been Theatre and Dance Curator of Kilkenny Arts Festival and Associate Director of Rough Magic Theatre Company.

 

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Aedín CosgroveSet & lighting

Aedín Cosgrove

Aedín Cosgrove co-founded Pan Pan in 1991 with Gavin Quinn. Designs for Pan Pan include A Bronze Twist of Your Serpent Muscles (winner of Best Overall Production, Dublin Fringe Festival, 1995), Standoffish, Cartoon, Mac-Beth 7 (nominated for Best Lighting, Irish Times Theatre Awards, 2004), One: Healing with Theatre, Oedipus Loves You, The Idiots, Playboy of the Western World, (Beijing), The Crumb Trail (nominated for Best Lighting, Irish Times Theatre Awards, 2010), The Rehearsal Playing the Dane, at Dublin Theatre Festival 2010 (winner Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Set Design & Best Production 2011), Do Di Zhu for Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and Irish Pavilion at Shanghai Expo and All That Fall by Samuel Beckett, August 2011 (winner Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Lighting Design).

In 2006, Cosgrove travelled with director Sarah-Jane Scaife to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Athens, Greece, to the Samuel Beckett Centenary Residency program during which time they produced Come and Go, Rough for Theatre I, Act Without Words II, Footfalls, and Nacht und Träume. Later, they travelled to Bei Wei University Beijing to work on translation into Mandarin of Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats, which was published in 2011 and the readings were presented at Shanghai Expo. In 2009 they produced Act Without Words II at ABSOLUT Fringe which was then presented at Dublin Theatre Festival 2010 as part of the Re-viewed programme.

From 1994 to 1996 she also worked with Corcadorca designing all aspects of the original productions of Disco Pigs and Misterman by Enda Walsh. At this time Cosgrove has also designed lighting for Abbey Theatre productions including The Mai by Marina Carr. More recently, Aedín had designed for theatre, dance and opera productions including No Worst There Is None (The Stomach Box, 2010, Winner of Best Production, Irish Times Theatre Awards), Five Ways to Drown (junk ensemble, 2010), Don Pasquale (Opera Theatre Company, 2012), and Man of Valour (The Corn Exchange Theatre Company, 2011, Winner Best Overall Design ABSOLUT Fringe 2011 and Best Lighting Design, Irish Times Theatre Awards).

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Catherine FayCostumes

Catherine Fay

Catherine Fay is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design.

She has recently designed a number of productions for the Abbey Theatre, as well as for Landmark Productions, Barnstorm Theatre Company, the Gate Theatre, Opera Theatre Company, Emma Martin Dance, Corcadorca, and Liz Roche Company. She designed much of Bedrock Productions’ back catalogue.

Other work includes productions by National Youth Theatre, junk ensemble, Second Age Theatre Company, Gaiety Theatre, Calypso Theatre Company, HATCH Theatre Company, Semper Fi, Storytellers Theatre Company, Gare St Lazare, Fishamble: The New Play Company, Operating Theatre and The Corn Exchange.

Awards

Nominated Best Costume Design Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards 2014 for “Breaking Dad” (Landmark Productions) and “Our Few and Evil Days” (Abbey Theatre)

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Jules van HulstVideo

Jules van Hulst

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Wieger SteenhuisVideo

Wieger Steenhuis

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Eoghan CarrickDramaturgy

Eoghan Carrick

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CAST:
Benjamin RussellOwen Wingrave

Benjamin Russell

Benjamin Russell is a member of the ensemble of the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Germany. He studied at the International Opera Studio of the Zurich Opera House, Switzerland after having received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin in 2011 and 2012 respectively. There he studied singing with Sylvia O’Regan and coach Brenda Hurley.

In the season 2016/17 his roles include Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Falke (Die Fledermaus) and Donner (Das Rheingold). Next season he will sing Wolfram (Tannhauser), Silvano (Un Ballo in Maschera), Masetto (Don Giovanni) and Papageno.

Previous to this he performed Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Schaunard in La Bohème, Shchelkalov in Boris Godunow and Haudy in Die Soldaten in Wiesbaden and also various parts on the main stage of the Zurich Opera House. In June 2011 he sang Junius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at the Aldeburgh Festival, the recording of which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 2014.

He has also performed in many concerts, both at home and abroad, including Mahler’s Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen in the Kurhaus, Wiesbaden with the Sinfonieorchester, lunchtime concerts in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, recitals of Schumann’s Dichterliebe and Liederkreis Op.39 in the City Hall, Hong Kong.

Competition successes include finalist in the Veronica Dunne International Singing competition 2010, semifinalist and prizewinner in the 2010 International Vocal Competition in s’Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.

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Christopher CullSpencer Coyle

Christopher Cull

Northern Irish baritone, Christopher Cull, is an alumnus of Queen’s University Belfast, The Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Opera Course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the National Opera Studio. Christopher studies with Robert Dean.

Roles include Marcello, La bohème (Opera Holland Park Christine Collins YAP); Masetto, Don Giovanni (Northern Ireland Opera); Tarquinius, The Rape of Lucretia (GSMD); Lelio, Le donne curiose (GSMD); Valentin, Faust (Clonter Opera); Bank Account Billy, The Rise and the Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Opera Theatre Company); Le Geôlier / Javelinot, Dialogues des Carmélites (Grange Park Opera); Lane / Merriman, The Importance of Being Earnest (NI Opera /Wide Open Opera); Assassin/Apparition, Macbeth (NI Opera); Collatinus, The Rape of Lucretia (Opera Collective Ireland).

Christopher recently made his Barbican Hall debut in Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Other recent concert engagements include Johannes-Passion (RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra), Elijah (Jubilate Choir), Monteverdi Vespers 1610 (Sheffield Oratorio Chorus), Ein deutsches Requiem (The Angmering Chorale), Messiah (Aberdeen Choral Society) and a concert of arias with the Ulster Orchestra broadcast by the BBC.

Christopher is a BBC/Arts Council of Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Winner, a finalist in the 2014 Chilcott Award, and a former Young Artist with Opera Theatre Company.

Christopher’s Studies have been generously supported by The Girdlers’ Company, Unum Ltd, The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, The Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and The Arts Council of Ireland.

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Peter O'ReillyLechmere

Peter O'Reilly

Peter O’Reilly is a graduate of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, where he was awarded a First Class Honours Bachelor of Music Degree. Whilst there, he was under the tutelage of Emmanuel Lawler, with whom he is continuing histraining. Peter has also received coaching from esteemed Irish repetiteurs Mairead Hurley, Trudi Carberry, and Una Hunt. Peter has been an extremely successful prizewinner over recent years at the ESB Feis Ceoil, most recently winning the Cuisine de France John McCormack Bursary. He has also taken part in masterclasses with some of the world’s finest musicians, including Graham Johnson, Patricia Bardon, Brenda Hurley, and Benjamin Appl.

Previous notable engagements include two world premieres; the tenor soloist in Odran O Casaide’s Marbhna 1916, and a Landy Worker in Andrew Synnott’s Breakdown. Peter has also played leading roles for Lyric Opera Productions at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton Opera House, and the Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society in the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Peterhas also feature as the tenor soloist for oratorios performed by Dublin County Choir, Culwick Choral Society, Tallaght Choral Society, and the Guinness Choir.

He recently sang as the second tenor soloist in Schubert’s Mass no.6 in E-flat major with Our Lady’s Choral Society under the baton of Proinnsias O’Duinn.

 

 

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Roisín WalshMiss Wingrave

Roisín Walsh

Soprano, Roisín Walsh began her vocal training with Olive Cowpar in Limerick. Roisín continued her vocal training at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London studying with Professor Susan Waters. At the Guildhall School, she completed a MMus in Vocal Performance, Advanced Certificate in Opera Studies and an Artist Diploma. She has recently completed her training at the National Opera Studio in London. Roisín also holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Limerick. 

Competition successes include Plunkett Greene Cup for Interpretation, second prize and the Cait Lanigan-Cooper Bursary in the Lieder Prize at Feis Ceoil Dublin. Most recently Roisín won the Bernadette Greevy Bursary.

Operatic experience includes Soprano Opera Highlights Tour with Scottish Opera, Micaëla Carmen (Cover) with Scottish Opera,  Micaëla Carmen Opera UpClose, Glyndebourne Festival Chorus including Soprano 2 Frühlingszyklus a new composition for the festival by Luke Styles, Miss Wingrave Owen Wingrave Banff Centre for Performing Arts, Canada and the Guildhall School, The Witch Hansel and Gretel Sinfonia d’Amici, Marcellina Le Nozze di Figaro, Anita La Navarraise (Massenet) and Souer Mathilde Dialogues des Carmélites (Poulencall at the The Guildhall School. 

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Rachel CroashMrs Coyle

Rachel Croash

Dublin Soprano Rachel Croash is a graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music and is an alumni of the Opera Theatre Company HUB Artist Programme.

In 2015, Rachel was awarded both the Wexford Festival Opera Aria Friends Award and WFO & PwC Emerging Artist Bursary.

Operatic roles include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte, Lismore Opera Festival), Susanna (Susanna’s Secret, Opera Theatre Company), Serafina (Il Campanello); Reneé (Koanga); Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel); Annina (La Traviata, Wexford Festival Opera), Valencienne (The Merry Widow, Lyric Opera Productions), Frasquita (Carmen, RTÉ Concert Orchestra; Cork Operatic Society), Gorm (Flatpack, Ulysses Theatre Company) and Narrator (The Oldest Woman in Limerick, Wide Open Opera).

She has performed in concert with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, The Wexford Sinfonia, The City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra, Wexford Festival Opera, The Drogheda International Classical Music Series, Ardee Baroque Festival and in Recital for Music for Galway, Dublin Philharmonic Society, Sligo Con Brio and The Contemporary Music Centre.

Rachel has also had the privilege of performing at the Metropolitan Club, New York with Pianist Finghin Collins for the Irish-US Council and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

She recently made her recording debut with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, singing ‘Press Closer’ from Michael Gallen’s suite ‘Wilde Stories’, which was commissioned by RTÉ Lyric Fm.

This Summer, Rachel will make her German debut as Amor in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Festspiele Immling.

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Amy Ní FhearraighMrs Julian

Amy Ní Fhearraigh

Amy Ní Fhearraigh graduated from the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama with First Class Honours where she continues to study voice with Sinéad Campbell-Wallace. Successes within the Conservatory include the La Scala prize and the Gertrude Morris-Grant. In the RDS Feis Ceoil 2015 she won the Milne Cup, and in 2016 the Dramatic Cup & Tony Quigley Award and an invitation to perform in the Feis Ceoil Gala Concert.

She has participated in masterclasses with artists such as Susan Bullock, Patricia Bardon, and Brenda Hurley. She attended the Oxenfoord Music Festival where she trained with distinguished coaches Malcolm Martineau, Martin Pickard, and Susan Stranders.

Amy made her professional role debut as Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen with Lyric Opera Productions in October. Other operatic roles include Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), the title role in Handel’s Susanna, Drusilla (Monteverdi’s l’Incoronazione di Poppea) and Lucinde (Gluck’s Armide). Other notable performances include the role of La Cugina in a concert performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with the RTE Concert Orcherstra, and as the Queen and Second Woman in Handel’s Solomon as part of the ‘Choral Fusion’ series conducted by David Brophy.

Amy performed for the Veronica Dunne Singing Competition in their ‘Summer Festival Opera Gala’ last summer, and as part of the ‘Drogheda International Classical Music Series’ in November. She will be performing this April in a Rising Stars Concert in the University Concert Hall Limerick and in a solo recital this July with ‘Music for Wexford’ in Wexford Opera House.

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Sarah RichmondKate

Sarah Richmond

From Carrickfergus, mezzo-soprano Sarah Richmond is a former ENO Opera Works Artist and NI Opera Young Artist. Prior to participating in NOS Short Course, she graduated from the RNCM with distinction as a Drapers’ de Turckheim Scholar.

Her broad operatic repertoire encompasses Rossini’s IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA (Rosina), Mozart’s DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE (Dritte Dame), Gilbert & Sullivan’s THE MIKADO (Peep-Bo), Puccini’s LA RONDINE (Bianca/Gabriella) and spans epochs from Purcell’s DIDO AND AENEAS to Gerald Barry’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Gwendolen).

She has appeared with, amongst others, Pavilion Opera, NI Opera/Nevill Holt Opera,

Iford Arts, Castleward Opera, Wide Open Opera, Lyric Opera and Clonter Opera.

Recital credits include the Oxford Lieder Festival, UK Strauss Society, Chester Music Festival, Egerton Music Club, Rhyl Music Club, Dolgellau Music Club, Queen’s University and the Dublin Song Series.

Her extensive concert repertoire has seen her as soloist for prominent conductors such as Vasily Petrenko, Gergely Madaras and Sir Mark Elder. She has performed regularly on BBC Radio Ulster and has broadcast on BBC Radio 3, PBS, RTE and UTV. A CD of ‘Songs of Spring and Winter’ featuring Sarah, conducted by Paul Daniel, was released by Stretto Records

Chosen as winner of ‘The Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for the Singing of Strauss’ by Dame Janet Baker, she was recently the recipient of Wexford Festival Opera’s Arnhold Bursary and as well the PwC WFO Emerging Young Artist Award.

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Andrew BoushellSir Philip/Narrator

Andrew Boushell

Before participating in the Opera Works programme at ENO, tenor Andrew Boushell completed an opera performance diploma at the Operastudio Vlaanderen, Belgium supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. He is an honours graduate of the DIT and the Royal College Music where his studies were supported by the Douglas & Hilda Simmonds Award. Andrew’s extensive oratorio repertoire includes works by Puccini, Handel, Purcell, Gounod, Bruckner, Bach and Britten while on the operatic stage he has appeared with Opera Ireland (The young collector in Previn’s A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and the older brother in Jake Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING) and OTC (Toby Higgins in Weill’s THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CITY OF MAHAGONNY). Furthermore, as a member of OTC’s Young Associate Artist Programme he appeared throughout the country in Mozart’s BASTIEN AND BASTIENNE. Engagements elsewhere have taken him to the Iford Arts Festival as First Elder (cover) in Handel’s SUSANNA with Christian Curnyn’s The Early Opera Company and to the Rye Festival Arts Festival as Ferrando in COSÌ FAN TUTTE, a  role he had sung previously with the DIT/Opera Ireland. More recently he returned to ENO to cover the role of Števa Buryja in Janáček’s JENUFA.

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