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Home Events 2007

Opera and Dinner in Dublin

Council Hosts a Night at The Opera
& Stages a MidSummer Night Dinner in Dublin

Proinnsias Ó Duinn
Maestro Proinnsias Ó Duinn, the conductor of the concert, produced a magnificent performance from the talented ensemble.

This year's Council visit to Ireland featured a double-bill evening that was spectacular from start to finish. First, the Council hosted a concert performance of Julius Benedict's Opera The Lily of Killarney, presented in conjunction with the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) at its Ballsbridge Concert Hall. Following this, a Gala MidSummer Council Dinner was held next door at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The opera performance was the second part of a trilogy celebrating the founding of the RDS 275 years ago.

Council President Michael J. Gibbons, in his welcoming remarks, said "We are pleased to participate in this wonderful occasion as we celebrate the bonds of friendship between America and Ireland. Indeed, the opera itself shares many American connections. In March, 1860 an Irish playwright living in New York, Dion Boucicault, was delighted with the success of his new play "The Colleen Bawn", which told a harrowing tale of love gone bad and murder most foul."

Mr. Gibbons noted that "It was first performed in America, shortly after its London debut, at Miss Laura Keene's Theater in Manhattan. The work enjoyed such immense popularity that it attracted the attention of composer Julius Benedict who used the story as the basis for the compelling lyric opera, "The Lily of Killarney". Dublin-born Boucicault, who is buried in New York and played an important role in securing legal protections for intellectual property rights in the performing arts business, wrote the excellent libretto for the opera."

Julius Benedict lived most of his professional career in London. An accomplished composer, he penned several successful operas - from his first in 1838, "The Gipsy's Warning". However, only "The Lily of Killarney" has retained a place on the repertory stage. It was produced at Covent Garden in 1862, not long after the success of "The Colleen Bawn".

Proinnsias Ó Duinn
The Council Banner over the stage announcing the celebration of the 275th Anniversary of the RDS as the evening kicked off with an announcement by the RDS Opera Director, Gavin O’Sullivan.
Benedict had earlier toured America with Jenny Lind, and shared in her triumphs in a series of 122 concerts. He was an excellent pianist, and his annual concert was looked upon for fifty years as one of the great festivals of the London music season.

Boucicault, for his part, was one of the most beloved playwrights in America in the latter half of the nineteenth century. His other successful works included The Octoroon (an anti-slavery abolitionist drama); The Shaugraun (a comedy with pointed Irish nationalist undertones), which had its world premiere at Wallack's Theatre in New York in 1874 -the play was a huge success, making half a million dollars for Boucicault, which he squandered; Arrah-na-Pogue (set during the Irish rebellion of 1798, the play tells a story of love and loyalty under pressure).

There is much dramatic attractiveness about the music in The Lily of Killarney, with an abundance of tender melody, refined harmony, effective instrumental scoring and a delicious vein of plaintive melancholy throughout. The score is quite elaborate and is interspersed with Irish melodies, which accounts for its distinctive character. Mr. Gibbons thanked Dr. Austin Mescal and his many colleagues at the RDS, the conductor for the concert, Proinsias î Duinn, the talented and celebrated performers, singers, musicians and narrator. A special acknowledgment was made of Our Lady's Choral Society for its notable participation.

Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Tony Brazil from Limerick visited with Council President Emeritus Michael J. Roarty, his wife Lee Roarty and the Executive Director of the Council in Ireland, Roddy Feely
Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Mary & Maurice Wolridge, Ann Cogan with Pfizer’s MacDara Lynch.

Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Council Board Member Tom Ryan, of Ryan International Corporation (right) who was a principal sponsor of the evening with guests Dr. Nicholas Walsh, Blackrock Clinic and his wife Catherine.
Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Andy Ruane of the Irish Channel America, Cynthia Gibbons and RDS President Dr. Austin Mescal.

Opera and Dinner in Dublin
David Cullen with Continental Airlines’ Yvonne Muldoon.
Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Jack McCarthy with John Healy.

Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Noel McSweeney with Joe O’Sullivan and son Ruairí.
Opera and Dinner in Dublin
The IDA’s Ruth Croke with her sister Triona.

Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Dennis & Kathy Swanson.
Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Enjoying the pre-Opera reception were (from left) Meghan McCarthy, Yvonne Healy and Kate McCarthy.

Opera and Dinner in Dublin
12Travel’s Conor B. Buckley with his wife Celine.
Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Eamonn Ryan, formerly of the IDA and now Chairman of Ireland’s Food Safety Authority, was there with his wife, Mary.

Opera and Dinner in Dublin
Olive & Barry Herriott seen with Barbara Freehill.

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