Rousing applause for A Night at the Opera

Dublin 28 February 2007: Last night students at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama took to the stage of the National Concert Hall to perform excerpts from Bizet's Carmen, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Bellini's Norma. The conductor on the night was Fergus Sheil and the production was directed by Vivian Coates.

Head of the Conservatory, Brid Grant said she was delighted with the success of the evening. 'An enormous amount of work goes into a production on this scale - and when it goes as well as this, it's all worthwhile! We had a full house this evening, with people continuing to arrive at the box office right up until 8pm. The orchestra and performers gave their all and the reaction from the audience was very positive - Phil Coulter took the time to come back stage to congratulate the cast and they really appreciated that!'

DIT student Claudia Boyle performing in Norma in the National Concert Hall

The role of Carmen was played by Naomi O'Connell, a full-time student of music who is now in the third year of her degree programme at DIT. Speaking before the performance, Naomi said the cast had been working day and night but were enjoying the experience enormously. 'It is a great experience for us as students to have the opportunity to perform music like this in what is a professional setting and with these gorgeous costumes! We are really getting into the soul of the music now and enjoying every minute.'

Conductor Fergus Sheil was full of praise for the orchestra and singers, some of whom are full-time music students while others are attending school or are working and taking classes part-time at the Conservatory. 'Our programme includes three quite diverse pieces, each of which places very different demands on both orchestra and singers - you have the bright, sunny, melodic material of Southern Spain in Carmen, the dark brooding Russian soul in Onegin, and then you have a classic example of bel canto in the Italian opera, Norma. It's a big undertaking to tackle such diversity but the singers and players have responded very well to the challenges.'

DIT students Aoife O'Sullivan, Andrew Boushell and Raphaele Mangan from the cast of Eugene Onegin at DIT's 'Night at the Opera'

This was the fifth successive performance of A Night at the Opera which is a highlight in the musical calendar of the Conservatory of Music and Drama. The production gives students an opportunity to showcase their range and depth of talent on a national stage. For the capacity audience it was a chance to hear some of Ireland's exciting new performers who, like many graduates before them, may go on to national and international success.

The DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama currently has 1,900 students, from preparatory to professional levels, on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Students participate in a variety of ensembles including the Opera Studio, Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band and Chamber Choir, all of which give regular public concerts. The Conservatory has pioneered many new courses and offered the first third-level undergraduate programme and the first MMus in Music Performance.

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