Cork Opera House gears up for first live performance

In just a few short weeks, Cork Opera House will officially welcome live music – and a small audience – back to its historic stage, with a Government-backed pilot event scheduled for July 10.

The theatre’s team has joined forces with the Irish National Opera to produce and present Casta Diva, An Evening with Majella Cullagh and Guests.

During the programme, Cork’s beloved soprano will be joined by some of the country’s finest operatic talent in a performance of favourite arias and duets, including Bellini’s magical aria Casta Diva from Norma and the famous quartet from Verdi’s Rigoletto. 

Ticketholders can expect to see guests such as soprano Emma Nash, mezzo soprano Niamh O’ Sullivan, tenor Gavan Ring and baritone Brendan Collins join Cullagh on stage.

“My colleagues and I are very excited at the thought of singing in front of a live audience once again,” says the Blackpool native, who saw her first-ever opera in Cork Opera House. 

“We have missed the energy and atmosphere of live concerts and we have missed singing together. We cannot wait to share our favourite arias and duets with the audience and we are looking forward to getting back on the stage of Cork Opera House.”

The performance will mark the first time an audience will sit in Cork Opera House since March 2020.

The pilot event is being organised in collaboration with the Arts Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and all Covid-19 guidelines will be followed, including strict social distancing measures. Audience capacity hasn’t yet been confirmed, but patrons are advised to book tickets early, with sales starting on Monday, June 28.

“This is a great moment for Cork Opera House. It symbolises the beginning of our journey back to live performance and is a significant step towards the end of this very difficult time for artists, audiences and staff,”  says Cork Opera House CEO Eibhlin Gleeson.

“There is no better artist to welcome the people of Cork back to Cork Opera House than Majella. We know that this will be a special and poignant evening and we look forward to welcoming our patrons home to their opera house once again.”

Fergus Sheil, Artistic Director of Irish National Opera adds: “Since March 2020, our collective voices have been unable to connect to audiences in the same space at the same time. We have produced online concerts and productions, made films, planned site-specific projects and done everything we can to keep the operatic flame alive. 

“But, everybody longs for one thing above all – the chance to enjoy thrilling operatic performances with artists and audiences in the same space. July 10 will be an emotional and memorable experience.”

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