Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier (2023)

The lively INO Orchestra under Fergus Sheil delivers all the swelling romanticism and range of tone and colour you could ask for, while staying alive to the moments of dissonance that remind us we’re in the 20th century here, for all Strauss’s nostalgia. There is a stillness to the final trio that, fittingly, lets the voices of the three sopranos shine. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, and it’s one that will live long in the memory – Irish Examiner

Sheil clearly has the measure of Strauss’s complex, virtuosic score and the big scenes, the Marschallin’s Act 1 monologue and duet with Octavian, the Presentation of the Rose, Ochs’s Waltz and the Final Trio and duet, worked their special magic – Operalogue (Hugh Canning)

INO Artistic Director Fergus Sheil has done wonders in assembling a quality ad hoc orchestra featuring every instrument Strauss writes for, though a smaller than stipulated body of strings; they still sound Viennese when the score calls for it – Artsdesk

Thrilling, toying, tugging at heart strings, music performed by the Irish National Opera Orchestra, under conductor Fergus Sheil, almost upstages singing at times. Yet when Byrne, Boyle and Murrihy sing, you understand why Der Rosenkavalier’s use of three women is prized so highly – The Arts Review

Brian Irvine & Netia Jones: Least Like The Other (2023)

★★★★★ Brian Irvine‘s score, played with tireless energy by 12 instrumentalists under versatile Fergus Sheil, INO’s music director, ebbs and flows between hysteria, satirical popular music and a calmer, more elegiac voice - The Arts Desk

★★★★★ The angular orchestral textures come to life under Fergus Sheil’s experienced baton. The playing is beyond reproach - Music OMH

★★★★★ The company’s founding artistic director and conductor, Fergus Sheil, negotiated Irvine’s kaleidoscopic score with ease; now madcap brassy toccata, now sinewy, strange meanderings, pairs of saxophones and clarinets adding expressive colours - The Observer

★★★★ Musical standards under conductor Fergus Sheil are high and the small cast of four, led by singer Amy Ní Fhearraigh is excellent. Everything drives the performance forward with concentration at peak level - The Financial Times

Rossini: William Tell (2022)

★★★★★ Thrilling musical energy – Opera Now

INO’s artistic director Fergus Sheil, who masterminded the whole project, was in the pit and achieved outstanding playing from the company’s orchestra - Opera Magazine

Fergus Sheil conducted the Irish National Opera Orchestra with wonderful energy and musical vision. He made the final chorus “Liberté, redescends des cieux” a spine-tingling moment bringing this opera to a fitting conclusion –

The orchestra conducted by INO artistic director Fergus Sheil delivered a tight, punchy performance with the difficult intricacies of Rossini’s virtuosic writing for the woodwind and brass well executed. The famed overture was given a rousing rendition and Sheil’s pacing of the music and coördination of the big ensemble numbers was exemplary  – Journal of Music

The musical highlights abounded. The INO Orchestra under Fergus Sheil had a rich, warm sound in the Gaiety’s welcoming acoustic. Special praise must go to the chorus. Of course, they belted out the crescendos with stunning gusto, but their movement, expressiveness, and the sheer joy they exuded were irresistible – Irish Examiner 

Donizetti: Maria Stuarda (2022)

All these voices, and the orchestra, sound big in Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre – the size of an intimate Italian regional theatre – but brashness doesn’t go amiss, least of all in the rollicking but slightly comic Overture, which Fergus Sheil conducts, like all else, with tremendous panache… I certainly don’t remember the chorus before Mary’s execution having such an impact either –

Irish National Opera Orchestra under the baton of its artistic director Fergus Sheil produced a free-flowing rendition, full of life and rhythmic vitality – Operawire

The company’s artistic director, Fergus Sheil, was in the pit and drew splendid sounds from his excellent orchestra and his six singers – Opera Magazine

Under conductor Sheil, the Irish National Opera Orchestra provided a nimble and well-balanced support for the singers, and the sound of the chorus was full and solid – Journal of Music

Beethoven: Fidelio (2021)

With first rate solo contributions, a perfectly tuned orchestra virtuosically guided by Fergus Sheil makes this an overwhelming experience. A world class production – The Times

The Irish National Opera Orchestra, under the baton of Fergus Sheil, sounded fresh, crisp and vibrant. Sheil did a tremendous job of balancing the forces of the orchestra with the singers. He brought a vitality and energy that was particularly noticeable in the rousing closing chorus –

Under the conductor Fergus Sheil, the Irish National Opera Orchestra captures the composer’s familiar musical language, which here beautifully underscores the story’s triumphs for love and for freedom and sends us home exhilarated – The Irish Times

The INO Orchestra, conducted by Fergus Sheil, plays beautifully, rising to an exhilarating pulse for the final triumph – 

Mezzo Masterpieces Concert (2020)

Fergus Sheil conducts the Irish National Opera Orchestra in a rousing performance of Bellini’s sweeping overture from I Capuleti e i Montecchi, (Romeo and Juliet) to get the evening underway. Bold, brash, and deliciously bombastic, hearts are set to racing and expectations raised. As if a gauntlet is being thrown to Erraught, daring her to follow.” – The Arts Review.

[The orchestra] got a moment to shine in the opening piece, the overture from I Capuleti e i Montecchi – a good choice for the agile ensemble, allowing each section a moment in the spotlight, from the robust brass and percussion in the marchlike sections to the graceful woodwind, with the strings dancing over it allJournal of Music.

Rossini: La Cenerentola (2019)

Conductor and artistic director Fergus Sheil was holding it all together in the pit. The orchestra of Irish National Opera made the music fizz with energy and excitement throughout bringing this opera to a triumphant close –

Fergus Sheil kept the energy levels high in the pit with the luxury of a 46 strong orchestra. At the final cadence, the audience rose to their feet in a standing ovation – The Irish Examiner

Fergus Sheil conducts the Irish National Opera Orchestra, harnessing the tumbling energy of Rossini’s playful score, perfectly building the energy of the scurrying refrains – The Irish Independent

It’s a total triumph for Fergus Sheil and Irish National Opera – The Sunday Independent

Fergus Sheil ensured cast chorus and orchestra remained on course throughout the performance.  He brought out the sparkle and sense of fun in the overture and his choice of tempi seemed spot on.  There was an excellent balance between the singers and the orchestra and I was particularly impressed with some of the exchanges between the singers and the woodwind.  There was a sense of winning exhilaration in the ensemble numbers – Seen and Heard International

Music impressively realised by the Irish National Opera Orchestra, superbly conducted by INO artistic director, Fergus Sheil, beautifully releasing the boisterousness and tenderness of Rossini’s lush score – The Arts Review

Brian Irvine & Netia Jones: Least Like The Other (2019)

Conductor Fergus Sheil steers the dramatic pitch of the evening to perfection – The Irish Independent

Verdi: Aida (2018)

Conductor Fergus Sheil extracts a dramatic and sensitive musical partnership from the RTÉ Concert Orchestra – The Irish Times

A score that is a technical marvel with orchestration that never wavers in its precise balance. This was splendidly achieved by the RTECO under conductor Fergus Sheil – Sunday Business Post

The direction of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra by Fergus Sheil was impeccable. The Triumphal March was a very satisfying musical moment, from the blaze of the trumpets to the delicacy of the strings – Bachtrack

Overall, the musicianship was of a very high standard. The large choir and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, under Fergus Sheil, were quite capable of creating the necessary walls of sound – Journal of Music

Robert O’Dwyer: Eithne (2017)

Conductor Fergus Sheil had the sweep and trajectory of the music ever in mind as he conducted with great passion and energy throughout. The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra responded in like style providing a fine romantic sound throughout coupled with sensitive accompanying of the soloists – Bachtrack

Sheil directed the orchestra with great expressiveness and drew superb performances from his singers - Opera

Robert O’Dwyer’s Eithne, the first opera ever performed in Irish, was given in concert performance on 14 October by Opera Theatre Company and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fergus Sheil. It was not a première, but it might as well have been. The work had not been performed since its second outing at the Gaiety Theatre in 1910, and Saturday’s audience – erupting into applause even as the last chord sounded – seemed to think they had just heard something special – Journal of Music

Mozart: Don Giovanni (2016)

There was no doubting the appeal of Máire Flavin’s Donna Anna and Tara Erraught’s Donna Elvira, singers who flourish in the Mozartean balances and textures that conductor Fergus Sheil secures from the RTÉ Concert Orchestra – The Irish Times

Fergus Sheil, the company’s artistic director, conducted the RTÉ Concert Orchestra with style – Opera

Above all raised the sublime Mozart’s music: conductor Fergus Sheil and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra did it again in what turned out to be a great evening of entertainment – Bachtrack

The RTÉ Concert Orchestra delivers Mozart’s fabulous music with conductor Fergus Sheil a dramatic maestro – Irish Independent

Fergus Sheil, the OTC artistic director, conducts the RTÉ Concert Orchestra which responds with real Mozartean flourish to his baton – Sunday Independent

Rossini: The Barber of Seville (2016)

Characters are given space to sing and shine in impressive updating of a comic classic … It’s a night to remember – The Irish Times

plenty of hearty chuckles and the odd belly laugh at a sold-out house in Wexford… Aside from the excellent solo performances, the quality of nicely shaped crescendos in the ensemble numbers was among the many pleasures of the evening. Superb – The Irish Examiner

John Adams: Nixon in China (2014)

Fergus Sheil conducted a terrific performance by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra with real pace and energy, while the large chorus was outstanding…I don’t know if Nixon in China in Ireland (if you follow) will provide a Mao-like great leap forward for Wide Open Opera. But it certainly made a big statement – The Sunday Business Post

No one could blame Fergus Sheil for playing it safe. In its short two years, the conductor’s Wide Open Opera (WOO) company has taken on hugely ambitious projects from modern hits like Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest, in a cross-border tour last autumn, to an authentically imposing five-hour Tristan und Isolde in the 2012 Dublin Theatre Festival. WOO’s latest output is John Adams’ 1987 minimalist classic, and similarly intends to introduce new audiences to modern opera, stage a contemporary classic in Ireland for the first time, and showcase Irish talent – Phoenix Magazine.

Raymond Deane: The Alma Fetish (2013)

Deane’s music was forceful and dynamic in the hands of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. I suspect nothing on Ireland’s opera stage, north or south, this year will equal this remarkable achievement – The Sunday Business Post

Conductor Fergus Sheil draws out Deane’s rich Viennese flavours and references in a full-bodied performance form the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra – The Irish Times

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (2012)

Fergus Sheil conducted as to the manor born, paced the music with sensitive care, secured near-perfect balances between voices and orchestra, and coaxed from the RTÉ NSO some of the finest playing I’ve ever heard from them in the opera pit. A Tristan und Isolde to cherish – The Irish Times

Sheil himself conducted the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra superbly, and its resolve was palpable during the ebb and flow of musical emotion, while tension levels were also maintained throughout – The Sunday Business Post