New York Met’s New Irish Star To Sing In

Mozart’s The Marriage Of Figaro For Irish National Opera

National Opera House, Wexford – Friday 13 April 2018

Gaiety Theatre, Dublin – Tuesday April 17, Wednesday 18, Friday 20, Saturday 21

The newly-founded Irish National Opera company (INO) continues its inaugural season with a new, full-scale production of one of the greatest comic operas ever written, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. The production, which will run for a total of five performances in the National Opera House, Wexford, and the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, is directed by Tony award-winning PATRICK MASON, a former artistic director of the Abbey Theatre.
The cast includes Irish mezzo soprano TARA ERRAUGHT as Susanna. Tara sang at New York’s Metropolitan Opera for the first time last year. She appeared in two operas. In September she made her debut as Nicklausse in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. And in December she followed up as Hansel in a production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and GretelThe Huffington Post greeted her arrival as “an impressive Met debut”.
The title role of Susanna’s betrothed is taken by bass-baritone JONATHAN LEMALU. Jonathan shot to fame through his debut CD for EMI. This was greeted enthusiastically by Gramophone magazine, which wrote, “Every so often a musician arrives on the scene with a talent so richly endowed that the musical world sits up and takes note. The New Zealand born Samoan Jonathan Lemalu is one such.” He comes to INO fresh from an English National Opera production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream — “very well sung by the sort of cast that ENO should be fielding every time” (The Telegraph), “a striking revival” (The Guardian).
Mozart’s comic tale of mayhem and mischief overlays serious issues of sexual politics that will resonate with everyone who has lived through the upheavals driven by the #MeToo campaign. In the opera, right wins out in the end. The young couple fight successfully against the darker intentions of Count Almaviva, who is sung by Northern Irish baritone BEN McATEER. Ben made his English National Opera debut in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe in February, when Classical Source said his performance as Lord Mountararat “comes close to stealing the show with When Britain really ruled the waves
The protective efforts of Susanna and Figaro are aided by Countess Almaviva, sung by soprano MÁIRE FLAVIN. Máire has been described in The Guardian as having “a perfectly proportioned Mozartian voice, with a glittering upper register that suggests she may be the next singer ready to graduate to greater things.”
Soprano AOIFE MISKELLY, who was praised by The Telegraph last year for her “delightful singing” in the title role of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden for Opera North, takes on the role of Cherubino, the eager young page whose antics fuel many of the comic moments in The Marriage of Figaro.
Veteran Limerick soprano SUZANNE MURPHY makes a rare return to the stage in the role of the marriage-obsessed housekeeper Marcellina. Tenors ADRIAN THOMPSON and ANDREW GAVIN take on the roles of Doctor Bartolo and the music teacher Don Basilio, which were originally written for Mozart’s great friend, the Irish tenor Michael Kelly. The young Barbarina, who is in love with Cherubino, is sung by soprano AMY NÍ FHEARRAIGH. Barbarina’s uncle, the crusty gardener Antonio, is the effortlessly comic bass-baritone JOHN MOLLOY. And two bridesmaids are sung by CATHERINE DONNELLY and DOMINICA WILLIAMS.
The IRISH NATIONAL OPERA CHORUS and the IRISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA are conducted by Ireland’s most rapidly-rising conductor,  PETER WHELAN, who took up his new post as artistic director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra in January, and will also conduct Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for INO at the Galway International Arts Festival in July.
The 20th-century setting of PATRICK MASON’s production is complemented by the stylish set and costumes of FRANCIS O’CONNOR, the lighting design by PAUL KEOGAN and the choreography of MUIRNE BLOOMERThe Marriage of Figaro will have a single performance at the National Opera House in Wexford at 8pm on Friday April 13, and will run for  four performances only at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre at 7.30pm on Tuesday April 17, Wednesday 18, Friday 20 and Saturday 21. Tickets prices range from €15 to €86 and are available on  irishnationalopera.ie
Irish National Opera is funded by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
// Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91)
The Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) (1786)
Sung in Italian with English surtitles
CAST
Figaro  Jonathan Lemalu
Susanna  Tara Erraught
Count Almaviva  Ben McAteer
Countess Almaviva  Máire Flavin
Cherubino  Aoife Miskelly
Marcellina  Suzanne Murphy
Don Basilio  Adrian Thompson
Doctor Bartolo  Graeme Danby
Don Curzio  Andrew Gavin
Antonio  John Molloy
Barbarina  Amy Ní Fhearraigh
Bridesmaids Catherine Donnelly
Dominica Williams
CREATIVE TEAM
Conductor  Peter Whelan
Director  Patrick Mason
Set & Costume Designer Francis O’Connor
Lighting Designer  Paul Keogan
Choreographer  Muirne Bloomer
Irish National Opera Chorus
Irish Chamber Orchestra
Friday 13 April 2018
Wexford, National Opera House 8pm
€15, €32, €36, €40, €48, €49, €80 nationaloperahouse.ie 053-912 2144
Tuesday 17 April 2018
Wednesday 18 April 2018
Friday 20 April 2018
Saturday 21 April 2018
Dublin, Gaiety Theatre 7.30pm
€15, €36, €51, €66, €86 gaietytheatre.ie 0818-719388