Recent Articles

Romeo and Juliet

| April 26, 2017

Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet

“Irish audiences have hit the jackpot with the Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet performing Sir Kenneth Mac Millan’s Romeo and Juliet.The couple’s entire surrounding reflects beauty and harmony… stunning scenery remains true to the ballet’s original Italianate influence… The grandiose music and dancing match each other in the ultimate symbiotic relationship, which like Romeo and Juliet leaves the heart feeling empty once it’s over.”

Bord Gais Energy Theatre – November 2015

Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet

“There aren’t many of us who don’t know the tragic story of Romeo and his Juliet, but I’d wager there are quite a few of us Irish folk who have never had the pleasure of seeing their fate played out in the ballet, live, with the legendary compositions of Sergei Prokofiev as accompaniment.

The high-spec standards of the Bord Gais Energy Theatre have allowed for an influx of internationally acclaimed and technically complex shows to travel to Ireland more easily than ever before in recent years; and for this we must be grateful – for how better to see such a treasured story than in a performance by the much-lauded Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet?

We all know that Romeo & Juliet is an epic tale. And in ballet, it is transformed into a true spectacle. One doesn’t need dialogue with such a magnificent and recognisable score, so beautifully delivered by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andrey Danilov); with such exquisite costume and set design; with such exceptional, expressive dancers – Natalia Domracheva’s Juliet is the epitome of elegance, while Ruslan Savdenov’s Romeo, Ivan Prooshin’s Tybalt and German Starikov’s Paris complement her grace with exquisitely refined strength. Although the run time stretches to almost 3 hours including intervals, for me, it flew by – so much action, movement and elegance onstage swept me along effortlessly. The joy, suspense and despair of this tragedy are all magnificently realised in a whirlwind of precision delivery and emotional intelligence from all performers.

If you haven’t seen a renowned ballet company before, trust me: this is worth a look. It is not everyday Dublin hosts one of Russia’s oldest and most distinguished ballet companies- catch them before they’re gone”.

La Boheme

| April 26, 2017

Bord Gais Energy Theatre

“Bring tissues for this emotional production.”

“The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow gives Puccini’s great tragic love story a super outing with major talent in the leads. Irish star Celine Byrne is sweetly powerful as Mimi. The effect of her singing the role as a dead person watching her life, whilst the role is occasionally mimed by an actress, has terrific theatrical power. Byrne is matched by tenor Aleksey Tatarintsev’s Rodolfo, both in acting and singing, who commands the stage and the air. Ekaterina Mironycheva as Musetta easily seduces both her former lover and the audience with her showgirly turn in the café scene. Only baritone Andrey Breus feels a little outclassed as the painter Marcello.

A super design job is done by Hartmut Schörghofer for director Georgy Isaakyan. A huge circle motif is put to brilliant use: as a clock; a view up the inside of the Eiffel Tower; a spiral staircase and a sky view. There is much play with perspective, and vertical surfaces are disconcertingly treated as horizontal.

Early scenes have a 1940s feel, but the art gallery of the final act has a Saatchi eighties aesthetic, with the pseudo elements cranked up, and the orchestra cued by a popping champagne cork.

See-through plastic sculptures litter the former bohemian space; a mock swordfight is conducted with dinner forks. Vitally Evanov as the philosopher Colline establishes the necessary tragic tone with his superb overcoat aria as he pushes the emotional range of his bass voice.

The minimalist emptiness of the gallery setting provides a highly effective canvas for the final tragic musical build-up. Bring hankies”.


“There is much to admire and a lot to enjoy in The Novaya Opera Theatre’s production of La Bohème: excellent singing, a fine orchestra, a set and costume design that are breathtakingly beautiful. One of opera’s “greatest hits” with beautiful aria heaped upon beautiful duet, the piece is set in the Latin Quarter of Paris, teeming with artists and would-be writers and philosophers, all striving for artistic expression or intellectual recognition, all struggling to survive. Into this exciting, if impoverished, world of warm hearts and louche communal living walks the poor seamstress, Mimi, unfortunately seeking love, stability and commitment. She is in the wrong place”.


“It needs to be emphasised, right from the outset, that both music and singing in The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow’s production of Puccini’s “La Boheme,” border on the sublime. Indeed, close your eyes and you are utterly transported….Isaakyan does an outstanding job. Chief conductor, Jan Latham-Koenig and his orchestra are utterly sensational, bringing warmth, depth and texture to Puccini’s sublime music. ….the night truly belonged to sopranos Ekaterina Mironycheva, who as the vixen Musetta was a scene stealing delight, and Celine Byrne, as the deeply lonely, deeply loving Mimi. Performatively and vocally, both delivered outstanding performances, with Byrne’s solo’s being absolutely superb…A musically moving production”.

Northern Ireland Opera

| April 26, 2017

Following on from another hugely successful year for the company, Northern Ireland Opera is delighted to announce its new 2016/17 season.

Highlights of the season include a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Belfast’s Grand Opera House, the Irish première of Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face with Opera Theatre Company, a concert performance of Puccini’s La bohème in partnership with the Ulster Orchestra, and the Irish première of Handel’s Radamisto with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, which will tour throughout Ireland.

Oliver Mears, Artistic Director, Northern Ireland Opera, said:

“We are very excited to announce Northern Ireland Opera’s new season, which will present two of the most celebrated works in the operatic repertoire alongside two Irish premieres. Now in its sixth year, Northern Ireland Opera has cemented its place as one of the UK’s most exciting and innovative opera companies, and we hope this new season will continue to put Northern Ireland on the map as a centre for operatic excellence. We are delighted to maintain our collaborations with arts organisations both north and south of the border to bring audiences across Ireland opera productions of the highest quality, showcasing the best in national and international talent, whilst maintaining our remit of affording real opportunities to aspiring young Irish singers.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added:

“Northern Ireland Opera is one of our best artistic companies whose work truly celebrates and champions the quality of the arts sector here regionally, nationally and internationally. The Arts Council is proud to support this innovative organisation who continue to provide high-quality programming, invaluable developmental opportunities for local singers and excellent outreach programmes. Congratulations to all in developing this terrific new season.”

For more information on Northern Ireland Opera’s new season please visit

Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Northern Ireland Opera present a thrilling new production of Mozart’s greatest opera in Belfast’s Grand Opera House. Featuring some of Mozart’s most glorious and ravishing music, this production has an outstanding international and Irish cast that includes leading Northern Irish soprano Aoife Miskelly, together with the Northern Ireland Opera chorus and the Ulster Orchestra in the pit. Directed by Oliver Mears, designed by Annemarie Woods and conducted by Nicholas Chalmers, the team behind Salome and Macbeth, this spectacular production of Mozart’s comic and dramatic masterpiece will be one of the highlights of 2016.

Sung in English.

Powder Her Face by Thomas Adès

Northern Ireland Opera and Opera Theatre Company present the Irish première of Thomas Adès’ extraordinary modern opera Powder Her Face. A worldwide hit since it was first performed, and now a modern classic, Powder Her Face is an acerbic black comedy recounting the sordid affairs and scandalous divorce of the infamous Margaret, Duchess of Argyll. Directed and designed by the award-winning Antony McDonald (The Importance of Being Earnest), Powder Her Face stars soprano Giselle Allen (Tosca, Salome) as the Duchess.
A co-production between Northern Ireland Opera and Opera Theatre Company.
Irish première.

Contains adult material. Suitable for ages 16+.

La bohème by Giacomo Puccini

Northern Ireland Opera, collaborating with regular partner the Ulster Orchestra, present a very special concert performance of Puccini’s iconic opera La bohème as part of the orchestra’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Conducted by the Ulster Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Rafael Payare and with the Belfast Philharmonic Choir, this performance will include a cast of soloists drawn from across Northern Ireland and Ireland, including Giselle Allen.
In partnership with the Ulster Orchestra.
Concert Performance. Sung in Italian.

Radamisto by George Frideric Handel

Following the success of Northern Ireland Opera and Irish Youth Opera’s Agrippina (winner of the ‘Best Production’ Award at the Tiger Dublin Fringe 2015), Northern Ireland Opera continues their outstanding partnership with the Irish Chamber Orchestra to present the Irish première of Handel’s masterpiece Radamisto, a story of lust, political intrigue, and the fight for power. This production will see Northern Ireland Opera reunited with one of Ireland’s leading opera conductors, David Brophy (Turandot), conducting the Irish Chamber Orchestra, alongside the award-winning creative team of Director Oliver Mears, Designer Annemarie Woods (recently nominated for the Designer Award at 2016’s prestigious International Opera Awards), and Lighting Designer Kevin Treacy.
A co-production between Northern Ireland Opera and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Irish première. Sung in English.

Festival of Voice

Northern Ireland Opera returns to the historic coastal village of Glenarm in Co. Antrim for the sixth annual Festival of Voice. This year’s festival, in partnership with BBC Radio 3, includes a recital with Belfast soprano Aoife Miskelly and Warrenpoint baritone Aaron O’Hare (winner of the 2015 Festival of Voice), the Glens of Antrim Singing Explorers, a week-long programme of activities for local school children introducing them to opera, and the Festival of Voice 2016 Gala Final, featuring five of the brightest young talents from across Ireland competing for the coveted title of Northern Ireland Opera’s Voice of 2016.

Sponsored by Worthingtons Solicitors.