Opera Theatre Company announces its final tour
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The Coronation of Poppea by Monteverdi (OTC production, 2005). With Allison Cook and Stephen Wallace.

Photo: Patrick Redmond




Opera Theatre Company announces its final tour

For supporters of the work of Opera Theatre Company who gathered on Tuesday evening in Dublin for the launch of its latest production, the announcement that the company is to close down at the end of the year marked the end of an era. The final production, The Diary of Anne Frank by Russian composer Grigory Frid, will open next month on the Abbey’s Peacock stage, before touring to twelve venues around the country, following a pattern established by Opera Theatre Company (OTC) over many years. It will be the closing chapter of a twenty-four-year performance history, and the choice of this opera by the 95-year-old composer reflects OTC’s record of touring operas often unfamiliar to Irish audiences - whether from the twentieth-century repertoire, or lesser known works by Handel and Monteverdi (pictured) – in venues from Kilmainham Gaol to a cave on Valentia Island.

For the staff of OTC the news was less of a surprise, since the company has been aware for some time that, along with Opera Ireland, it would cease to receive Arts Council funding beyond December 31st, 2010. The two companies will close to make way for the new Irish National Opera company, to be funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport, with the intention that it will combine the remit of both companies. The advertisement for the new organisation’s General Director, which appeared in a number of publications last week, was a clue that movement towards the establishment of the new opera company was underway, after many months when it seemed as if little progress was being made. The announcement about the formation of the new company was made by the former Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen, in March.

Chairperson of OTC’s board, Virginia Kerr, who made the announcement on Tuesday, is also a member of the interim board that is managing the transition to the national company. “It is a matter of sadness to me that OTC did not reach its twenty-fifth year,” she told ITM. “But the company has a great legacy. We have demonstrated that there is a hunger and need for opera outside of Dublin, and in tiny venues too, and the continuation of touring opera is very dear to my heart.”

She added that the planning process for the new company is at a very early stage, and that many of the specifics to do with structure, location and staffing “are still at board level”. They are awaiting the publication of a specialist opera consultants’ report in early September, after which things should begin to move more rapidly. “When the new General Director is appointed, he or she will start putting the new team together.”

“I do want to stress that this not a merger of the two companies, OTC and Opera Ireland, but the creation of a completely new entity. This is a very exciting time for opera, and I hope that we can build on what has already been achieved by both companies.”

The Diary of Anne Frank, co-directed by Annilese Miskimmon and Ingrid Craigie, opens at the Peacock, Dublin, on 11 September before touring. Read John White's review. 




1 Comment

Marcella Lyons says Sun, 05 September 2010 9:45
Great photo. Wish I'd seen that production. Does this mean that lots of people in the two opera companies will lose their jobs or will there be enough to go around? It's not exactly a good time to be starting a new opera company. Good luck to it, and I hope it will be as good as Opera Theatre Co. RIP.

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