Sunday 22 September 2019

Exciting opera production for An Tain

Opera Collective Ireland return to Dundalk next Tuesday, September 10, with a new opera about an Irish witch trial, based on a play by award-winning writer Emma Donoghue.

'Vagabones' is a specially commissioned work by the opera company, whose artistic director is Colette McGahon.

The Dundalk native who now lives in Carlingford is passionate about the role which the company plays in helping emerging singers at an important stage of their careers.

The company last visited Dundalk in 2014 with their production of 'The Rape of Lucia' and Colette is looking forward to them bringing this exciting new work to her hometown.

'We were very lucky that Emma Donoghue was happy for us to have the rights of her play to turn it into an opera,' says Colette.

The company received funding from the Arts Council to workshop it and then got further funding to do a full production.

'Vagabones' by Raymond Deane is based on Emma Donoghue's stage adaptation of her 1996 radio play Trespasses. The opera, with a libretto by Renate Debrun, is a fictionalisation of the judge's own account of the case of Florence Newton in Youghal - one of only a handful of witch trials that ever took place in Ireland. Set in the small Co. Cork town over three days in 1661, the opera features a stellar cast of Irish talent and the musicians of Crash Ensemble, directed by Ben Barnes.

The company, which features young Irish singers, have been rehearsing for the production during the month of August and are now bringing it on tour, with performances in Dublin, Cork and Waterford as well as Dundalk.

'Opera Collective Ireland helps young singers who are developing their career by helping them forge new contacts with directors and conductors which hopefully will lead to them getting more work and advancing a few rungs further up the career ladder,' says Colette.

Tickets cost €19.50 and €17.50 concession, from the box office at An Táin Arts Centre, Crowe Street, , phone 042 9332332 or online at

The Argus