Following an open proposal
process and receipt of the recommendation of its international advisory panel,
the Arts Council has selected Opera Theatre Company and Wide Open Opera as the
preferred provider of main-scale opera in Dublin from 2018. The two
organisations will merge in the months ahead to form a single company.
Discussions will take
place during the summer with the aim of reaching a funding agreement with the
merged company, aiming to complete the process by the autumn. The completion of
this agreement will result in the return to the Dublin stage, after a gap of
some eight years, of regular Irish productions of the great operatic
repertoire. These productions will also tour to Cork and Wexford.
“This decision is a key
element of the Arts Council’s new opera policy and strategy,” said Arts Council
Chair Sheila Pratschke. “Along with the growth of smaller-scale touring opera
and our ongoing support of independent and emerging opera artists and
producers, it will improve significantly the opera offering for audiences, and
open up greater opportunity for artists.’’
In addition to main-scale
opera for Irish audiences in Dublin and other cities, the Arts Council has also
committed to introducing a new opera commissions award; bursaries for opera
artists; a travel and training scheme for opera artists; a new three-stranded
Opera Production and Projects award which will integrate support for
independent producers and artists; continued support for the further
development of Festival Opera; and smaller-scale touring opera across Ireland.
Ms Pratschke said today’s
announcement came after a dialogue process with the sector and a detailed
review of opera policy and provision in Ireland.
“Our 10-year strategy, Making
Great Art Work, prioritises support to both the individual artist and
public engagement, and our approach to opera forms a significant part of that,”
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