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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020
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Thought opera was elitist? These shows could change your mind

A series of pop-up operas in the capital are for everybody, the organisers say.

IF YOU HEARD some rather unusual music coming from the streets of Dublin city centre yesterday, or saw a woman with a pram full of bananas, you were witness to Wide Open Opera’s latest show.

It put on a series of pop-up mini operas around the city centre, supported by Dublin City Council and featuring recorded music from the National Symphony Orchestra.

Composer Brian Irvine and writer John McIlduff wrote about a range of Dublin people’s experiences for the piece – from a banana seller on the street corner to a group of smokers taking a five-minute break.

The final shows take place today, with all five operas being performed at 7pm at Dame Court.

Fergus Sheil is artistic director of Wide Open Opera, a new company that started in 2012. “My whole philosophy of performance is it can be of all sorts of scales and all sorts of levels,” said Sheil, who said he got into opera “by accident – and just fell in love with it”.

Sheil said that McIlduff and Irvine “take something which could be completely ordinary or that you pass by, or you might not even notice, and they find the poetry in it”.

Elitism and opera in Ireland

Sheils said that in Ireland “we’ve such a poor tradition of opera, we’ve very little of it and if only people knew about it, they’d love it.”

Here’s more on what Sheils thinks about opera and elitism – and a little clip of what we can expect musically from the shows:


Source: thejournal_ie/SoundCloud

This is his way of bringing opera for people who don’t think they like opera. “It takes opera to where people are,” he said.

Opera singer Sylvia O’Brien also spoke to us about her roles and how the live street performances are raw, and without a safety net:


Source: thejournal_ie/SoundCloud

What do you think about opera? Tell us in the comments

Read: You never know what you’ll hear on Dublin’s streets today…>

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