Arts Council Announces €1.8m for New Annual Opera Programme

Olga Busuioc and Andrew Haji in rehearsal for Wexford Festival Opera 2016. (Photo: Patrick Browne)

Arts Council Announces €1.8m for New Annual Opera Programme

Further investment in opera artist bursaries, opera commissions, and smaller-scale touring across Ireland also included in announcement.

The Arts Council has announced it is seeking proposals from production companies for an annual programme of 3–4 main-scale, predominantly core repertoire, fully professional operas in Dublin, with additional touring of the productions to Cork and Wexford.

The scheme is open to existing production companies, and new entities that are led by experienced opera professionals, or formed by existing production companies.

The level of funding available for the opera programme, for the initial period from the second half of 2017 to the end of 2018, is approximately €1.8m.

The investment is being made following a consultative process with the sector in 2016 and in the context of a new opera policy and strategy.

In addition to the main-scale opera initiative, the Arts Council has also committed to introducing:

  • a new opera commissions award; 
  • bursaries for opera artists; 
  • a travel and training scheme for opera artists; 
  • new three-stranded Opera Production and Projects award that will integrate support for independent producers and artists; and 
  • continued support for the further development of Wexford Festival Opera and smaller-scale touring of opera across Ireland.

Commenting on the announcement, Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council, said:

I am delighted that the Arts Council has committed to increasing significantly its investment in opera in Ireland over the coming years. This additional investment will provide enhanced opportunities for opera artists to develop their professional careers as well as creating more opportunities for people across Ireland to experience high-quality opera productions. 

The Council’s new strategy provides for the regular presentation of Irish-produced main-scale core repertoire opera in Dublin with additional touring to other cities, the growth in smaller scale touring opera to all parts of the country, a continuation of new Irish operas from ‘independent’ producers and emerging artists as well as the continued support for our major international festival of rare repertoire opera in Wexford.

We look forward to working with Government over the coming years to build a sustainable, well-resourced and ambitious opera sector in Ireland.

The total budget for opera in 2017 will be €3.81m and in 2018 it will be €4.85m. In 2016, it was €3.26m.

An information workshop for the new annual opera programme scheme will take place on 1 March and the deadline for initial proposals is 3 April. 

For further details on the application process, visit

Published on 17 February 2017


Be Part of the Future of the Journal of Music

Sign up for our newsletters to receive our latest news, UK newsreviews, articles, jobs and events.

To add a concert listing see here. For advertising visit this link.