The Countess’ Salon, performed by new Limerick based group, The Opera Workshop, will take place in No 1 Pery Square Hotel on October 15, November 12 and December 10.
Founded, produced and directed by well known Limerick Lady, Shirley Keane, this premier performance has a cast of some of some of Limerick’s best known singers, including Sarah-Ellen Murphy, Jean Wallace, Eve Stafford, Kevin Neville and Catriona Walsh, with piano accompaniment by Irina Dernova.
Teacher at the MWVA, accompanist, pianist and organist Irina Dernova
The performances will comprise well-known songs and musical highlights, including those by Puccini, Bizet and Mozart and the December concert will also feature Christmas songs and carols.
‘It is a wonderful time to be trying something new in Limerick. I have come home to an energised city and county that is enthusiastic and excited by arts and culture. And though opera is not new, nor is Limerick’s love of opera new, I hope that the work of The Opera Workshop will be refreshing, challenging and entertaining for Limerick audiences and artists,’ said Shirley.
Having spent more than 20 years in the United Kingdom, Shirley, a professional actor, singer and teacher, believes that the possibilities for creating original cross-art and vocal work are endless. Her aim is to cultivate a company that develops high standard professional productions, while simultaneously encouraging younger, local musical talent.
“It was the room that actually inspired us with the idea of a grand opera salon, hosted by a charming, glamorous Countess. The audience should feel like her guests enjoying her party and are privy to the gossip and scandal that is brewing around them.
“We devised the story, characters emerged, we played with the relationships between the characters, and a script was devised and written which acts as a link for the songs but also creates a tangible story. There will be a mix of styles of songs and opera including light opera, folk, German lied, music theatre and opera performed in English, German, French and Italian,” added Shirley.
The cast have been rehearsing since early September and are hopeful for full houses as tickets are selling fast for this intimate venue which holds 50 people per performance.
Shirley’s hope for The Opera Workshop is to provide the focus for a collective of like-minded artists interested in testing their skills, developing new productions, seeking opportunities to experiment, develop and share innovative ideas in opera performance as there are many musicians from across the Mid-west who work on a professional and semi-professional basis in Ireland and internationally.
Shirley intends that The Opera Workshop will have a strong community and outreach ethos and welcomes opportunities to work with schools and community groups interested in developing projects that serve their needs while exploring a vibrant, joyous and beautiful art form
Having begun her vocal training with Olive Cowpar in Limerick and worked for a couple of seasons at Bunratty Castle as an entertainer, Shirley then went on to study a Bachelor of Arts degree in acting at the Rose Bruford College of Drama, London, and voice and opera at both The Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music London.
Her successful career saw her including Opera Theatre Company, Basingstoke Haymarket, Opera Holland Park, with concert and oratorio performances across Europe and in venues such as The Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Old Trafford football stadium and Dublin’s National Concert Hall.
And teaching through community and outreach work in particular, through her own community opera company in East London, East End Opera and with companies such as Live Music Now, Glyndbourne Opera, The Half Moon Young People’s Theatre and more lately as a director and acting teacher at The Guildhall School of Music, London where she is a member of the vocal faculty.
The No 1 Pery Square Hotel are offering a pre-opera 3 course special menu at €35 pp. Dinner reservations can be booked directly with the hotel – 061 402402/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The show tickets are booked via email@example.com. We take bookings, reserve tickets which must be paid for on the night. Box office available from 7.30
“The dinner is a separate offer made by the hotel and not part of the performance. If people want to avail of this special rate for a meal at No 1 Pery Square they book directly with the hotel and would probably need to consider an earlier booking as the show must start at 8pm. But guests can bring drinks into the performance. Tickets for the show can be booked independently without having to book for the dinner,” added Shirley.
Tickets for performances of The Countess’ Salon must be pre-booked on firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets cost €20 and €15 concession.