Cork composer/director John O’Brien. Photo: Bríd O’Donovan

New Irish opera ‘will be epic’

Leeside’s biggest stage production of summer 2022 will open this week in the form of exciting new Irish opera ‘Morrígan’.

Created by Cork natives John O'Brien (composer/director) and Éadaoin O’Donoghue (librettist), the production will run at Cork Opera House from next Thursday until the following Sunday.

This will be the third major collaboration between O’Brien and O’Donoghue after critically acclaimed productions ‘The Nightingale’ and ‘The Rose and Lilith’.

Morrígan is the Irish goddess of death and fate. The opera tells the story of Deirdre and the Sons of Usna, and of a king corrupted by lust and revenge who drags his kingdom to its doom. Sweeping from the epic to the intimate, ‘Morrígan’ contains dramatic scenes of blood and fire, soaring arias, tender duets, and large action packed ensembles with highly charged battle scenes.

Speaking in the build-up to opening night, Eibhlin Gleeson, CEO of Cork Opera House, highlighted that this will be the first time in several years that a large-scale operatic production will originate on the Opera House stage.

“We are delighted to be producing an operatic production of this size and ambition, written and created by some of our finest local talent. It is a privilege for us to stage this new work, and we know that audiences who have followed the Opera House’s opera journey in recent years are in for a real treat,” she said.

The opera features a star-studded cast, including Irish singers Kim Sheehan, Majella Cullagh, Joe Corbett, Simon Morgan, Emma Nash, Ross Scanlon and Gráinne Gillis, joined by international stars including Jung Soo Yun (South Korea), Julian Tovey (Scotland) and Victor Priebe (Sweden).

‘Morrígan’ will also feature Cork celebrity Karen Underwood and 12 year old sensation Liv Amerie Gregorio, as well as a large cast of musician-actors, dancers, and chorus. They will all be joined by the celebrated Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra, conducted by Conor Palliser.

The opera will feature iconic designs from Alyson Cummins (set), Sinéad Cuthbert (costume), and Steven Dodd (lighting). Both Cummins and Dodd won awards for recent work at this year's Irish Times Theatre Awards.

John O'Brien said: “This will be epic. It is so exciting to be able to make work again on this scale, with an amazing group of world-class talented artists, and to share it with an audience at the Cork Opera House is a dream come true.”

‘Morrígan’ is supported by an Arts Council Opera Project and Production grant, and is presented in association with The Everyman. It runs from 28 - 31 July.