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Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church

Sunday 4 August 2024

Cork Opera House (COH) and Gavan Ring, in association with The Cahersiveen Music and Arts Festival, will present COH’s much-loved production of Puccini’s La bohème on Sunday 4 August 2024 at the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry. The opera will star Irish and international operatic sensations soprano Rachel Croash as Mimì and tenor Gavan Ring as Rodolfo; Gavan is also executive producer of the project.

A revival of the COH 2022 production, the cast is drawn largely from the Cara O’Sullivan Associate Artist Programme – a collective of opera singers brought together by COH in memory of the late, great Cork soprano Cara O’Sullivan. With Emma Nash reviving her dazzling Musetta, Brendan Collins joins the inaugural cohort of the Cara O Sullivan Associate Artists as Marcello. The cast also includes Rory Dunne as Colline, Malachy Frame in the role of Schaunard and the dual role of Benoît/Alcindoro sung by John Molloy.

Ring – a proud Cahersiveen native – is not shy about exalting the significance of this event for opera in Ireland, in particular for remote parts of the country. ‘As an operatic artist, one of my biggest philosophies is that we must get the artform out of the urban centres and into the small towns, parishes and villages around rural Ireland. Why should full-scale operatic experiences only just exist in the big cities? The answer is, of course, it shouldn’t! What we’re doing here in my hometown of Cahersiveen is a milestone for the democratisation of opera in this country – and I’m so grateful to Cork Opera House for coming on board for this – linking up with our biggest provincial urban hub and transporting the same experience that audiences are accustomed to in Cork city centre to the heart of rural South Kerry. It’s a perfect urban/rural, cross-provincial partnership and I think it can absolutely be replicated around Ireland.’

Ring continues, ‘Obviously on a personal note, it’s hugely exciting. The first concert I produced and sang in for the Cahersiveen Music and Arts Festival was when I was 16 in 2004 – to think that 20 years later I’m producing and singing in a near full-scale production of La bohème is absolutely mind-blowing; a total pinch-me moment!’

Conducted by John O’Brien and directed by Conor Hanratty, the production itself is cleverly-conceived; tailored to suit non-traditional performance spaces (having first been delivered as an outdoor production during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021) and with a narrator – played by the wonderful Cork actor Éadaoin O’Donoghue – recounting the ill-fated love story of Mimì and Rodolfo in perfectly-timed interjections between some of the arias, ensembles and the acts themselves. This is a production where audience engagement is enhanced tenfold. It is at once an example of Irish operatic artistry at its highest level and a masterclass in operatic accessibility, attending to both the tastes of the most seasoned opera-goers and new audiences alike!

The Cahersiveen Music and Arts Festival over the past number of years has developed a growing track record in providing a rural platform for serious classical performances on the western seaboard, having played host to several recitals and concerts since 2004 and an historic, orchestral Irish National Opera Gala in 2018 which was attended by over 1000 people. In 2020, the festival cleverly brought the RTÉ Con Tempo Quartet together in a live-streamed, outdoor, midnight performance at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 This production of La bohème is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, The Skellig Six 18 Distillery and Howard Gatiss.

Tickets are on sale now at

Cast List

Mimí: Rachel Croash *

Musetta: Emma Nash *

Rodolfo: Gavan Ring *

Marcello: Brendan Collins

Schaunard: Malachy Frame

See Also

Colline: Rory Dunne **

Benoit/Alcindoro: John Molloy

Actor (Older Musetta): Éadaoin O’Donoghue

*2021-2022 COH Cara O’Sullivan Associate Artist

** Current COH Cara O’Sullivan Associate Artist

Conductor: John O’Brien

Director: Conor Hanratty

Producers: Aisling Fitzgerald & Gavan Ring

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