The Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught has announced last night on Twitter that she got an engagement with the Metropolitan in New York to sing in Les contes d’Hoffmann in the role of
Nicklausse. Anybody who has had the chance to hear her luscious voice will not be too surprised by this
news. Her performance as Rosina last year in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Dublin for Opera Theatre Company at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre was a real highlight of the opera scene inIreland.
As much as we are delighted at the news that a local young talent will appear on one of the world’s most famous stages for opera, we can’t help but regret the lack of opportunities in Ireland for the many talented Irish classical singers. Another name that comes to mind is that of Jennifer Davis, the young soprano currently in the Jette Parker Young Artist program at Covent Garden: if you ever heard her singing Un bel dì vedremo you’d know what we mean; she too will be singing at the Met one day (you’ve read it here first!). Each of these singers could fill a theatre in no time.
We truly wish that somebody in the high spheres of politics is listening to the outcry of the many opera lovers in this country. Now that m
oney is back in the economy, what’s the excuse for not having a national opera company, like the long standing one that was shamefully shut down in 2011, Opera Ireland? Does Ireland really want to remain the only country in Europe without a national opera company, and Dublin the only European capital without a dedicated opera house? Because, as wonderful as Wexford Festival Opera is, a “National Opera House” should be where the people are, and 33% of the Irish population lives in Dublin, not Wexford. If we want culture to be really democratic and not elitist, as opera is often unjustly accused to be, we should bring culture to the people, and that involves physically bringing it to the people: not everyone who loves opera in Dublin can afford the luxury to travel two hours and back (or less staying overnight…) to attend a performance in Wexford. And anyway the problem remains of the shortage of opportunities to hear the ‘classics’ of opera, as repeatedly pointed out by Michael Dervan in the pages of The Irish Times. Ireland needs to make opera available and affordable, and to do so where the majority of Irish people live. Is anybody listening?
Feel free to add your comments below, we’d really love to hear the readers thoughts on this.