World premiere of new opera by Brian Irvine, directed, designed and video by Netia Jones at the 2019 Galway International Arts Festival.
Irish National Opera
An explosive and thought-provoking work of experimental music theatre. It traces events in the life of Rosemary, eldest daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy, sister of JFK, using heavily redacted materials from the archives, and only recently pieced together by biographers and academic.
The events in Rosemary’s difficult life leading up to her disastrous lobotomy at the age of 23 by the “kings of lobotomy,” Walter Freeman and James Watts, create an exploration of definitions of intelligence, expectations of gender, medical showmanship, patriarchy, the impact of the media and the demands of this extraordinary family. Rosemary’s tragic life constitutes a portrait of America in the 1940s and 1950s. It is a picture that is as relevant today as it was then.
Black Box Theatre, Galway 15, 16, 18, 19, 20 July 2019
Composer: Brian Irvine
Director, Designer, Video Designer: Netia Jones
Lighting Designer: Sinéad Wallace
Choreographer: Muirne Bloomer
Sound Designer: David Sheppard
Mezzo soprano: Naomi Louisa O'Connell
Actor: Stephanie Dufresne
Actor: Ronan Leahy
Voiceover: Aoife Spillane-Hinks
Orchestra of Irish National Opera
Conductors: Fergus Sheil & Brian Irvine
★★★★★ “With Fergus Sheil’s masterful direction of his 15-piece orchestra, the trajectory of what led up to Rosemary’s barbaric lobotomy at the age of 23 both grips and horrifies." - The Times
★★★★★ "This is deeply disturbing art, and deeply moving and humbling. The way it hits you goes well beyond the gut-wrenching details of its now long-ago true story. Instead, it does that thing that good art so fluently does: make us reflect critically on ourselves. And it’s good art in the form of opera, but with no opera pedigree required: anyone could be left breathless by this" - The Irish Times
“Conductor Fergus Sheil steers the dramatic pitch of the evening to perfection" – The Irish Independent
“It’s a tour de force with the harsh and plaintive score crashing out a soul in bewildered torment…. Extraordinarily powerful.” - The Sunday Independent