Hailed as valuable newcomer to opera production in Ireland, OCI’s inaugural production of Britten’s THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA won widespread praise from audiences and critics alike.
The company’s acclaimed updating of Britten’s compelling masterwork showcased the best of emerging Irish singing talent in a daring staging of this searing tale of civic corruption, sexual desire and the abuse of power. Cast members have since performed with, amongst others, the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Opera North, NI Opera, English Touring Opera, Wexford Festival Opera and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
The production, directed by Michael Barker-Caven, designed by Joe Vanek and conducted by Stephen Barlow, marked the first of OCI’s pioneering partnerships and was presented in association with Wexford Festival Opera.
Nominated as Best Opera Production – The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards
What the Press said…
“.. a superb, modern presentation… subtle and imaginative… Britten’s opera came across with a powerful impact and commendable musicality. IYO looks like becoming an important force in the development of music drama in Ireland in the years ahead.”
OPERA MAGAZINE December 2014
Emerging stars shine in Britten’s chilling opera
“This was a big night in more ways than one. Seldom has a Benjamin Britten opera of such quality and commitment come our way… production values that would stand scrutiny in the very best places… Impressive standards were promised and delivered, and that augurs well for the future.”
THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST September 2014
“The singing in this production is pliant, fresh and emotionally responsive to text throughout… the production slick, resonant of current affairs… conductor Stephen Barlow elicits all the energy, emotion, darkness and human questioning of Britten’s music.”
THE IRISH TIMES September 2014
“A challenging piece given a strong contemporary reading by an impressive young Irish cast”
THE IRISH EXAMINER September 2014
Opera: Pagliacci – Irish Theatre Award (ITA) Winner, Best Opera 2012 (Everyman/Cork Operatic), revival of La boheme (Opera North) Albert Herring (Mid Wales Opera), Medea (Glimmerglass Opera, New York), The Duenna (ETO/Royal Opera House), The Mines of Sulphur – ITA Winner, Best Opera 2008, Transformations – ITA Winner, Best Opera 2006 (Wexford Festival).
Theatre: Conservatory (Abbey, Dublin), Best Man (Everyman/Project), Shadowlands (London’s West End – Wyndhams & Novello Theatre starring Charles Dance and Janie Dee), October, Miss Julie, Alice in Wonderland, Blackbird, The Secret Garden, Dandelions, The Goat (or Who is Sylvia?), Skylight (Landmark Productions). Richard II (co-production Abbey/Everyman), Amadeus, Tales from Ovid – ITA Nominee, Special Judges Award 2002, Macbeth, Richard III – ITA Nominee, Best Director 2001, Mutabilitie, Anna Karenina – ITA Nominee, Best Director 1998, Troilus & Cressida, Venus & Adonis, The Fetishist (Ouroborus). Gate Theatre, Dublin: Little Women, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Anna Karenina, Play (Barbican/Gate), Old Times, The Shape of Things – ITA Nominee, Best Director 2002, Therese Raquin.×
Artistic Director of the Buxton Festival, Stephen Barlow studied at Trinity College‚ Cambridge and at the Guildhall. He was a co-founder of Opera 80, and has appeared at Glyndebourne, The Royal Opera, English National Opera, Opera Northern Ireland and Scottish Opera; he has conducted the premières of his own opera King at Canterbury Cathedral and his Clarinet Concerto with Emma Johnson and the Ulster Orchestra, as well as Capriccio with San Francisco Opera and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sweeney Todd with Bryn Terfel at the Royal Festival Hall, Elektra and Faust in Seville‚ The Cunning Little Vixen in Berlin‚ Madama Butterfly‚ Don Giovanni and Il Trovatore in New Zealand‚ and Carmen and Romeo et Juliette in Australia. He has conducted most of the major orchestras in the UK and worldwide.
Recent and current projects include Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Beijing‚ Dvorak’s Jacobin‚ La Princesse Jaune‚ La Colombe‚ Intermezzo, The Barber of Baghdad and Otello at the Buxton Festival; Capriccio‚ Tristan und Isolde‚ Pique Dame‚ Dialogues des carmélites and Peter Grimes at Grange Park Opera, Bruckner 8th with the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Guildhall School of Music.
Recordings include his own composition Rainbow Bear, with his wife‚ Joanna Lumley‚ as narrator. As a pianist, he has recorded the complete songs of Butterworth, Delius and Quilter.×
From 1997 to 2000 Joe was the Director of Design for the Abbey Theatre under Patrick Mason and for the Wexford Festival Opera, the Design Associate under David Agler for the 2006 – 2008 seasons. He is primarily known in the theatre for his designs for the most recent plays of Brian Friel. These have included the multi-award winning production of Dancing at Lughnasa for which he received two Tony award nominations for the Broadway production.
He has designed opera’s for all the major companies in Ireland and the UK and several in Europe and America. These have included – For OTC – Cosi Fan Tutte, The Rake’s Progress and Orfeo. Don Giovanni, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, The Silver Tassie (Irish Times Theatre Award – Best costumes 2001 ) and The Queen of Spades for Opera Ireland. La Cene Delle Beffe, Turandot / Don Giovanni, The Duenna, Transformations, Rusalka and The Mines of Sulphur for Wexford. Maria De Buenos Aires for Cork Opera House and three one act opera’s – Il Combattimento – The Telephone and A Hand of Bridge for the Opera Brief’s at the Lir.
In the UK – ENO – Il Trittico, Opera North – Don Pasquale, Ariane and Bluebeard and Caritas. WNO – Rigoletto. The Buxton Festival – The Poacher. The Royal Danish Opera – The Love for Three Oranges, La Contesa Da Numi. Opera Zuid The Makropulos Case. New Israeli Opera Don Pasquale. Glimmerglass Opera Festival (USA) Medea (Cherubini).×
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Ross Scanlon comes from Bray. He is an honours graduate of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, where he was also the recipient of the Michael McNamara Gold Medal for excellence.
A former Associate Young Artist with OTC, his operatic roles to date include Masino La Vera Costanza, Tamino & Monostatos The Magic Flute, Remendado Carmen, Lord Lieutenant, Master of the Rolls and Skeffington The Earl of Kildare (Irish Premiere), Pierre The Wandering Scholar (Irish Premiere) and the title role in Midas. He has performed with the RTÉCO and the Irish Philharmonic and his extensive oratorio repertoire includes works by Handel (Messiah, Alexander’s Feast and the Coronation Anthems), Haydn (Die Jahreszeiten, Creation and Missa in Tempore Belli), Mendelssohn (Elijah and St Paul), Stainer (Crucifixion), Mozart (Vesperae Solemnes de Confessore and Coronation Mass), Schubert (Mass in B flat), Jenkins ‘The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace’ and the Irish premiere of Goodall’s Eternal Light – A Requiem.×
Lyric soprano Jennifer Davis comes from Tipperary and is currently studying at the National Opera Studio in London. She is a graduate with first class honours from the Master’s in Vocal Performance at DIT’s Conservatory of Music and Drama where she studied with Colette McGahon-Tosh. An alumna of OTC’s Young Associate Artist programme, she is a multiple prize-winner including the prestigious Gervase Elwes Cup at Dublin’s Feis Ceoil. She was a semi-finalist in the 2012 International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna.
Jennifer has performed extensively throughout Ireland and the UK both in concert and oratorio with orchestras including the RTÉ NSO, the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the orchestra of Welsh National Opera. Her extensive oratorio repertoire includes works by Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Howard Goodall. Her operatic roles to date include both Susanna (Glasthule Opera) and the Countess (Lyric Opera Productions) in Le Nozze di Figaro, the High Priestess Aida (Lyric Opera Productions) and the Governess The Turn of the Screw (DIT). Last October she made her debut with Wexford Festival Opera singing the role of Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore as part of their ShortWorks series where she also received the Gerard Arnhold prize.
Winner of the 2013 Bernadette Greevy Bursary awarded by the National Concert Hall, Jennifer’s further studies are supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, English National Opera and a Sybil Tutton award administered by Help Musicians U.K (formally the Musicians Benevolent Fund).×
Christopher Cull is an alumnus of Queen’s University Belfast and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. A current recipient of the BBC/Arts Council NI Young Musicians’ Platform and a former OTC Young Associate Artist, his operatic roles include Moralès in Carmen, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Angelotti in Tosca and Fabrizio in La pietra del paragone. Recent operatic appearances include Le Geôlier / Javelinot in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites for Grange Park Opera and Lane/Merriman in Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest with NI Opera / Wide Open Opera. Recent concert engagements include Messiah with the Orchestra of St. Cecilia, Dublin and a concert of arias with the Ulster Orchestra broadcast by the BBC.×
From Connemara, Rory Musgrave is a recent Master’s graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music where he studied with Philip O’Reilly. His roles for the RIAM included Harasta in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Sid in Britten’s Albert Herring, Ben in Menotti’s The Telephone, Priest in Handel’s Semele and Marco in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Engagements elsewhere include Roommate in Flatpack (Ulysses Opera Company) Luka in Walton’s The Bear, (Good Works Opera), Uberto in Pergolesi’s The Maid as Mistress (Opera Antiqua) and Poseidon in Phaedra (Rough Magic).
In addition to singing the role of Junius for IYO, 2014 will see Rory singing in the chorus of several other Irish opera productions including NI Opera’s Macbeth, Wide Open Opera’s Nixon in China and in Rough Magic/OTC’s The Rise and fall of the city of Mahagonny. As well as being the recipient of the John McCormack Cup at the Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil (2014) and a finalist in the Irene Sandford Competition (2013), Rory qualified for the Hans Gabor Belvedere International Singing Competition in Amsterdam (2013).×
Based in Ireland, the Hungarian baritone Gyula Nagy is currently a student at the Royal Irish Academy of Music where he is completing a BA in Music Performance. A former member of OTC’s Young Associate Artists’ Programme, his operatic roles to date include the role of the Gamekeeper in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen in the RIAM’s recent production at the Samuel Beckett Theatre directed by Lynn Parker. Other operatic performances for the RIAM include Stravinsky’s Renard (2013), Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (2012), Barber’s A Hand of Bridge (2012), Handel’s Semele (2012). Elsewhere he portrayed the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed by Roberto Recchia, at the Zézere Arts Festival in Portugal (2012) and sang the role of the Bonze in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with Lyric Opera, (Dublin).
As an oratorio soloist he has sung with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, conducted by John Butt, with the Earley Musik Ensemble conducted by Desmond Earley, with the Dun Laoghaire Choral Society conducted by David Brophy and with the University of Dublin Choral Society directed by David Leigh.
A student of Philip O’Reilly, Gyula’s studies have been supported by the Gaiety Bursary in 2011. He is a current recipient of the bursary of the International Opera Awards Foundation (London).×
A member of the Lucerne Theatre, Carolyn Dobbin comes from Carrickfergus. She was a Samling Scholar at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and is a former member of OTC’s Young Artist Programme. Companies worked for include ENO, Grange Park Opera, ETO, Castleward Opera, Bern Opera House, Mid Wales Opera, Opera Holland Park, OTC, The Opera Group and WNO.
Carolyn Dobbin was a WNO Associate Artist and the recipient of the WNO Chris Ball Bursary in 2010. At WNO she sang Mercédès Carmen, Second Lady The Magic Flute, covered Maddalena Rigoletto and Carmen. Other engagements include Janet The Doctor’s Tale for ROH2, Scipio Caligula and Hannah The Passenger for ENO, Andronico Tamerlano for Capella Cracoviensis, Meg Page Falstaff for OHP, Maddalena Rigoletto for GPO. In Luzern she performed Annio La Clemenza di Tito, Penelope Il ritorno di Ulisse, Bradamante Alcina and the title role in Carmen. Concert performances include Messiah with the Philharmonia Orchestra and at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Beethoven 9th at the Barbican, Mozart Requiem at London’s Royal Festival Hall and with RTVE in Madrid. Engagements in 2014 include Polina PiqueDame at GPO, Emilia Rossini’s in Otello at Buxton and Elgars Dream of Gerontius.×
A multiple prize-winner at the Feis Ceoil and other competitions, Raphaela Mangan is an honours graduate of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, where she studied with Anne-Marie O’Sullivan. She subsequently joined the Flanders Opera Studio where her repertoire included roles such as Geneviève in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Euridice in Haydn’s Orfeo and Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo. In addition to appearances with Opera Ireland, Co-Opera and the Anna Livia Festival, Raphaela has sung Orfeo Orfeo ed Euridice and Cherubino The Marriage of Figaro (Glasthule Opera), Tessa The Gondoliers (RTÉCO) and the third Water Sprite Rusalka (Lyric Opera). Elsewhere she has sung Buttercup in the HMS Pinafore (Buxton Opera House) and Glasha in Janácek’s Katya Kabanova with Scottish Opera.
In Ireland she has sung with the RTÉ NSO, RTÉCO and many of the country’s leading choral societies including Our Lady’s Choral Society in works by Handel, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Rossini, Dvořák, Elgar and Karl Jenkins. She has toured with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and has broadcast regularly including a special concert to celebrate the centenary of the late Kathleen Ferrier’s birth, which was featured on RTÉ Lyric FM.×
Cork soprano Emma Nash is currently in her final year of the opera course at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama studying under Suzanne Murphy and Michael Pollock. Recent performances include scenes from various operas including Ariadne auf Naxos (Zerbinetta), The Cunning Little Vixen (title role) and Falstaff (Nanetta) with the RWCMD Concert Orchestra. Other roles include Moppet in Britten’s Paul Bunyan with WNYO (Wales Millennium Centre), which was nominated for a Southbank Sky Arts Award. Other recent highlights include Lucia The Rape of Lucretia (RWCMD), The Controller (cover) in Jonathan Dove’s Flight (RWCMD), First Niece in Britten’s Women at The International Bath Music Festival (RWCMD) and Eurydice Orpheus in the Underworld (Opera’r Ddraig). Emma is a former OTC Young Associate Artist. Recent awards include the RWCMD Lee Freeman Scholarship Prize 2013, RWCMD Dolan Evans Award 2013, RWCMD Leverhulme Scholarship 2013 and two Arts Council Travel and Training Awards. Forthcoming engagements include an opera gala in Dordrecht, Pamina in the 2014 RWCMD production of The Magic Flute and Janthe in Marschner’s Der Vampyr with The Cork Midsummer Festival.×