Opera in Ireland and this website

You’ve found us! … do stay for a while and have a browse around! You can explore using the pull-down menus (above) or the search box (below).

For many, opera performances are ephemeral and transitory: the curtain rises, the performance takes place, the curtain falls there is applause and there it ends. But the aim of this web archive is to compile and preserve all there is of the rich performance history of live opera in Ireland.

During 2021 we’re continuing to add large amounts of archival material to this site (programmes, photographs and press cuttings will be added chronologically* – along with recordings where these exist) – so what you will see unfolding is a “work in progress” – and it will undoubtedly remain so. YOUR contributions and corrections are both welcomed and encouraged to help ensure that this tale is told as accurately as it can be...if you can’t see it then the chances are that we don’t yet have it but would love to add it.

So browse – download – listen – read … but above all, contribute if you can! We’d love to give a permanent home to all memories, photos (formal or informal – onstage, backstage or front-of-house), recordings, press clippings, reviews, anecdotes and recollections – yours, your parents’ or your grandparents’….

Oh, and do write to us – we’d love to hear from you!

A short history of DGOS/Opera Ireland 1941-2010

the traviata photo 83.jpg
La Traviata, DGOS, 1983

WEBSITE PROGRESS REPORT (updated when changes or additions are made):

  • * – as of 14th September 2021:
  • all of the surviving Dublin Operatic Society (DOS) archival material has been uploaded.
  • Extracts from “Love and Music: The Glorious History of the Dublin Grand Opera Society” by Gus Smith (1998) have been added where appropriate.
  • Pages listing Dublin Grand Opera Society (DGOS) seasons have been populated – chronologically – with all of their surviving archival content (press cuttings, programmes, etc.) up to and including the Winter 1980 season. Work on populating pages relating to the 1980s and later seasons continues as time permits.
  • Many additional production photographs and backstage photographs and recordings from the 1980s and beyond continue to be sprinkled in, as and when time permits where appropriate, throughout the years covered by the DGOS.
  • Comprehensive uploading continues as time permits – much material still remains to be uploaded from the archive.

EXCITING NEWS – 23rd August 2021

We have acquired a significant collection of operatic ephemera from the family of the late Maureen Lemass. In addition to her Dublin operatic connections dating back to the 1960s and her enduring close friendship with soprano Magda Olivero, the archive includes a substantial collection of material relating to Maureen’s father (the noted baritone William Lemass) and mother Lucy Leenane, the foremost concert pianist of her time (and, on occasion, accompanist – she played for Lauritz Melchior’s recital at the old Dublin Theatre Royal); the collection dates back to the very earliest years of the Twentieth Century and even includes a 78rpm recording of William J. Lemass (which we hope to share on this website in due course); our aim is to populate pages on the website with this new material over the coming months. A small selection from the new material may be viewed below:

Do you – or your parents – or grandparents – have any “stuff” which might be of interest to the story of opera in Ireland? If so, please do make contact!