NI Opera and Wide Open Opera Present: The Importance of Being Earnest

NI Opera and Wide Open Opera are proud to present the Irish premiere and tour of Gerald Barry’s riotous new opera The Importance Of Being Earnest at the Millennium Forum, Derry (as part of the City of Culture celebrations) touring to the Grand Opera House, Belfast, Cork Opera House and The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin from October 26 – November 9.

Based on Oscar Wilde’s farcical comedy about sex and deceit, the opera has already been a huge hit in Los Angeles, Nancy and London. This hilarious work was first performed in Los Angeles in 2011 at the L.A. Philharmonic and subsequently at the Lindbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House, London last year. The Financial Times called it “A unique piece of music theatre that would surely have had Wilde smiling at its pure outrageousness”, while The Independent called it “a manic, renegade thrill…the most confident, volatile comic opera for a decade”, whilst The Guardian praised the score’s “sheer uninhibited exuberance”. Featuring orchestral parts for pistols, a duet sung through megaphones and a climax of plate smashing, this is no ordinary opera! It is, however, a hilarious and astonishing contemporary work that perfectly captures the spirit of one of Ireland’s best-loved playwrights and Ireland’s greatest living composer.

Wide Open Opera’s Artistic Director Fergus Sheil said: “Only somebody as crazy and foolhardy as Gerald Barry would attempt to match Oscar Wilde’s perfection and wit in The Importance of Being Earnest. Only Gerald Barry’s genius could possibly have brought it off – not only measuring up to Wilde’s flawless precision, but adding unimagined contemporary dimensions to this much-loved work. Opera audiences throughout Ireland are in for an amazing treat with this hysterical score in a dazzling new production.

This brand new co-production from NI Opera and Wide Open Opera features a fantastic international cast led by Belfast-born Aoife Miskelly. Directed and designed by award-winning Antony McDonald, with Pierre-André Valade conducting Ireland’s Crash Ensemble, this is a unique chance to see the first Irish performances of an opera destined to become a modern classic.

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