Opera Theatre Company's new programme of engagement with a team of professional artists – entitled OTC OPERA HUB

This new team consists of four singers, an opera director and a composer. Each artist will work with the company in an on-going way through the coming seasons realising a diverse range of work. The programme not only champions and showcases new operatic talent, but it also gives welcome professional opportunities to established artists to realise projects of their own design in conjunction with OTC.

The six OTC OPERA HUB artists are

Opera Hub Artists

Tom Creed (Director)

Tom is one of Ireland’s most exciting new generation of theatre and opera directors.

Based in Dublin, Tom recently he directed Private View, a new opera by Annelies van Parys, produced by Muziektheater Transparant (Vlaamse Opera Antwerp, Operadagen Rotterdam, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg and European tour). He has directed Suor Angelica, Mavra and Renard for the Royal Irish Academy of Music and will direct Die Zauberflöte in January 2016. Tom has been a staff director at Welsh National Opera and completed a Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowship at Aldeburgh Music. He is currently developing new music theatre projects in the USA and Canada with Irish composers Donnacha Dennehy and Jürgen Simpson.

His extensive work as a theatre director includes productions for the Abbey Theatre, Gate Theatre, Rough Magic, his own company Playgroup and a range of independent Irish companies. He was nominated for Best Director at the Irish Times Theatre Awards in 2007. His production of Watt by Samuel Beckett with acclaimed Irish actor Barry McGovern has been presented at the Dublin Theatre Festival, Galway Arts Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Perth International Festival, the Barbican Centre in London, the Public Theatre in New York and on tour in the USA.

Tom was Festival Director of Cork Midsummer Festival from 2011 to 2013, and was nominated for an Irish Times Irish Theatre Award in 2012 "for original and dynamic use of local spaces at Cork Midsummer Festival". He has previously been Theatre and Dance Curator of Kilkenny Arts Festival and Associate Director of Rough Magic Theatre Company, he has recently worked as a guest curator for Dublin City Council and the British Council, and is a member of the EFFE International Jury for the European Festivals Association.

Andrew Synnott (Composer)

Andrew is well known to opera audiences as a conductor of previous OTC productions such as Carmen, Orfeo, Diary of Anne Frank, Xerxes, Bastien and Bastienne, Così fan tutte, The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute.

Andrew was organ scholar in the Pro-cathedral and then Christ Church Cathedral while studying Music at Trinity College, Dublin. He has conducted for  Co-Opera (La traviata, Carmen, Die Fledermaus), Glasthule Opera (Die Zauberflöte), The Royal Irish Academy of Music (The Telephone, Hand of Bridge, Renard, For A Look Or A Touch, Sensational, Greed), and Galway Arts Festival (Bird, Julie Feeney). He has also conducted at the Buxton Opera Festival and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Andrew is the arranger and conductor for Callas, a show about the life and loves of Maria Callas that has been enormously popular in recent years. His arrangements of La bohème and The Magic Flute have toured extensively in Ireland and the UK, most recently with English Touring Opera’s UK tour of The Magic Flute. He conducted the premier of his first opera, Breakdown, written in collaboration with playwright John Breen in the National Concert Hall in January 2015. Andrew has also written music for theatre (including the Abbey Theatre), dance and radio, and his organ and choral music has been performed worldwide. He has conducted for many theatre productions and musicals, including several Derby Playhouse productions of Sondheim shows that he also arranged. In 2012 he conducted Kurt Weill's Street Scene for Zêzere Arts Festival, Portugal. In 2006 he made his Australian debut as conductor for Brisbane Festival’s production of Johnno. Andrew is a former artistic director and conductor of the Crash Ensemble, a group he co-founded in 1997. He is a member of the vocal coaching staff at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. For ten years Andrew was a member of the WhistleBlast Quartet, and worked as a facilitator and occasionally as artistic director for the National Concert Hall’s outreach and education team. He plays in the tango quartet Le Grand Tango.

Kim Sheehan (Soprano)

Kim is one of Ireland’s leading sopranos, specialising in coloratura roles such as Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) and Gretel (Hansel and Gretal) amongst many others.

She has appeared at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Garsington Opera, Zürich Opera House, Opera North and many other companies internationally. Read Kim's full biog HERE

Rory Musgrave (Baritone)

Rory Musgrave is a recent graduate with a masters degree in performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Rory is a baritone from Cleggan, Connemara. In addition to becoming an OTC OPERA HUB artist, 2014 saw Rory awarded the Arnhold Bursary in Wexford Festival Opera, singing the role of Junius in Irish Youth Opera’s inaugural production of The Rape of Lucretia, singing in the chorus for Macbeth (NI Opera), Nixon in China (Wide Open Opera) in which he also understudied Richard Nixon, The Rise and fall of the City of Mahagonny (Rough Magic/OTC), and  L’elisir d’amore (OTC/NI Opera) in which he understudied Belcore.  2015 has seen him perform the roles of Second Soldier and Naaman in Salome (NI Opera), chorus in Rigoletto (OTC), and reprising the role of Ben in The Telephone by Menotti. He has recently been made the co-recipient of the PWC/ Wexford Festival Opera Emerging Artist Bursary with soprano Rachel Croash. He graduated from the Royal Irish Academy of Music with a Masters in Vocal Performance in 2013, where he studied with Philip O’Reilly. His roles for the RIAM included Harasta  The Cunning Little Vixen, Sid Albert Herring, Ben The Telephone, Priest Semele and Marco Gianni Schicchi. Engagements elsewhere during this period included Roommate Flatpack (Ulysses Opera Company), Luka in Walton’s The Bear (Good Works Opera), and Uberto The Maid as Mistress (Opera Antiqua). He is presently studying with Owen Gilhooly and Andrew Watts. Upcoming engagements include the role of Bell in Wexford Festival Opera’s Guglielmo Ratcliff, and a national tour of Susanna’s Secret (OTC). Rory is delighted to be making his OTC role debut through the OTC OPERA HUB Project.

Rachel Croash (Soprano)

Rachel is an exciting emerging soprano from Dublin, recently graduated with a masters degree in performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music where she has taken roles in a number of student productions.

Oratorio engagements include Mozart’s Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ A Serenade to Music at The National Concert Hall, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle with The Culwick Choral Society and Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore and Bach Cantata BWV 41 Jesu, nun sei gepreiset at St.Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh.

She has performed in recital for Lismore Opera Festival, Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, Wexford Festival Opera, The Contemporary Music Centre and the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition.

She has sung in concert for The Drogheda International Classical Music Series, The Glasnevin Musical Society, conducted by Colman Pearce, Lyric Opera in Puccini by Candlelight, conducted by John Gibbons and recently made her debut with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in a lunchtime concert conducted by Christopher Bell. Rachel has also had the privilege of performing at the Metropolitan Club, New York, where An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish-US Council.  

Roles include Miss.Wordsworth Albert Herring, Fox The Cunning Little Vixen, Parasha Mavra, Woman Greed (RIAM), Gorm Flatpack (Ulysess Theatre Company), Narrator The Oldest Woman in Limerick, Banana 2 Things We Throw Away (Wide Open Opera), Ein Frau/Jenny’s girl The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Rough Magic/Opera Theatre Company) Annina La Traviata, Bridesmaid 1 Trial by Jury (Wexford Festival Opera), Frasquita Carmen (RTÉ Concert Orchestra) and Valencienne The Merry Widow (Lyric Opera).

At the Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil, Rachel won the Lieder Prize, Nancy Calthorpe Cup, The Mrs.P.J. Geoghan Memorial Cup and Gus Smith Award and was the winner of the inaugural Mollie Murray Award for most Promising Singer. She was a recipient of the John McCormack Society Bursary and has also been a finalist in the NCH Bernadette Greevy Vocal Bursary. She was recently awarded a Young Emerging Artist Award by Wexford Festival Opera and PwC.

In the Autumn Rachel will return to Wexford to sing the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel and make her main stage debut as Renee in Koanga.

Sharon Carty (Mezzo)

Sharon is highly in demand in particular in Germany where she has a strong relationship with Oper Frankfurt and Oper Freiburg, as well as home in Ireland where she regularly performs in concert and in opera.

Upcoming concerts include RTE National Symphony Orchestra in NCH details HERE. Recent work inlcudes Aggripina for Irish Youth Opera which won Best Production at the Fringe Festival Awards..  She recently issued a CD of songs and duets with Alison Browner. Earlier this year Sharon performed in Handel's Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno with the Irish Baroque Orchestra in April in Christchurch Cathedral. Read Sharon's full biog HERE 

The first OTC OPERA HUB production was Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno which took place in Arpil 2015 as part of the Music Town Festival. The concert performance of  George Frederick Handel’s music drama was performed in the dramatic setting of Christchurch Cathedral, right beside Fishamble Street where Handel premiered his magnum opus ‘Messiah’ in 1742.  

Award winning Early Music specialist John Butt directed the concert which featured Kim Sheehan (soprano) and Sharon Carty (mezzo-soprano), and internationally renowned Irish mezzo Alison Browner and up-and-coming german tenor Simon Bode, and was accompanied by the renowned Irish Baroque Orchestra.

The story revolves around Beauty whose soul is battled over by Pleasure, who secures her fidelity in return for eternal beauty, and Time and Disillusionment, who tell her that her beauty must fade. In 1707 when it was written, the Vatican was opposed to secular work leaving composers turning to oratorios, or sacred musical dramas.  This is Handel’s seminal work in the form, which he later went on to master.