Exciting news for Limerick with the first ever home produced, site-specific opera production from 3rd to 6th May 2019 at The Old Sailor’s Home, O’ Curry Street, Limerick with an accessible seated performance at The Hunt Museum (Monday 6th May).
Expect a whirlwind of betrayal, loss and hope when you step through the doors and into the dramatic setting of the Old Sailor’s Home with Opera Workshop on Limerick’s Riverfest Weekend. The company presents four short operas with a host of tragic, beautiful, fun and wild characters, inspired by the port, the sea and sailors, and those who wait on shore. The operas travel in time from ancient Carthage, to modern day Canada and stop off in 1920’s Limerick on the way. Each short opera tells a self-contained story performed by seven singers, accompanied by two pianists and a violinist.
Moving through the four ground floor rooms and hallway of this rough space, Opera Workshop’s singers will spin tales of adventurers and of those they leave behind. Three Limerick women wait for news of a missing ship due into Limerick Port; Purcell’s Dido, Queen of Carthage laments the leave-taking of Aeneas; a young Canadian sailor dreams of home and safety; an abandoned newlywed faces a honeymoon of singledom when her marine biologist husband takes off on an ever-extending sea voyage; and the micro-climate of O’Curry Street proves a challenge for a windswept meteorologist.
The Opera Workshop ensemble will perform original works by Limerick composer Fiona Linnane and an Irish premier by Canadian composer Sophie Dupuis in addition to arias and songs by Purcell and Haydn. The hour-long performance will include the world premiere of Fiona Linnane’s new work, Off Tuskar, especially composed for Opera Workshop, and devised by the composer and singers during workshops in 2018. This tragic opera is based on the loss of the Loop Head ship, bound for Limerick from Wales and which disappeared off Tuskar, in the great storm of 1927. With a crew of Limerick and Clare sailors on board, the tragedy had a devastating effect on the families left behind.
Fiona Linnane says “Opera Workshop’s ethos and performance style has both impressed and appealed to me as a composer. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to create this new work with them. Collaborating with the singers and their director Shirley Keane has been instrumental in the creation of this new piece. Off Tuskar is a Limerick story but it is also universal in the experiences of its protagonists - the agony of waiting for news of a loved one and how society often targets people at their most vulnerable.” Fiona Linnane was supported by the Limerick Arts Office for her composition, with an Individual Artist Bursary Award.
Comfort Warning! This is a site-specific performance. Audiences please take note: There is no seating available and there are no facilities on site. Patrons are strongly advised to dress for the weather and to bring an extra layer for warmth. The performance will take under an hour. For audiences that prefer or need some comfort or assistance with access, Opera Workshop will perform an accessible performance at The Hunt Museum on Monday 6th May at 5pm. All tickets are available through the University Concert Hall Limerick Box Office.