Gerald Barry’s opera The Intelligence Park at IMMA

Gerald Barry’s opera, The Intelligence Park, widely regarded as one of the most innovative and compelling operas of recent times, will be presented in a concert performance at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 18 May 2011. Described by The Irish Times in 1990 as “the most original piece of music to come out of Ireland this century”, the opera is set in Dublin in 1753 and embraces love, power, prison and an eclipse of the sun. Presented in collaboration with Crash Ensemble, the production forms part of an exciting season of performances being staged at IMMA in May to mark the 20th anniversary of the Museum’s foundation in 1991.

The Intelligence Park, to a libretto by Vincent Deane, tells of a composer, Robert Paradies, who has lost the power to write but rediscovers it through his obsession with an Italian singer, the castrato Serafino. However, a triangular love affair involving Paradies, Serafino and Jerusha – the daughter of a wealthy merchant whom Paradies has been advised to marry but who is also the object of Serafino’s affections – complicates matters, bringing with it anger, betrayal and a conflict between private love and public duty.

When first produced in London for the Institute of Contemporary Arts/Almeida Festival in 1990, it met with an extraordinary critical response. For The London Evening Standard it was “a clenched fist of an opera.” The Independent said that “the joy of the opera… is that it is driven by music of an energy and pace unheard of in most contemporary work.  Barry…one of the true originals.”

The Times said: “Never mind what the piece is about: it just quite shockingly is. It exists”.

A BBC recording of the opera is available on the NMC label.

The opera is conducted by Richard Baker and the singers are Sarah Gabriel, soprano, Loré Lixenberg, alto, Roderick Williams, baritone, Andrew Watts, countertenor, John Daszak, tenor, Stephen Richardson, bass and Gavin Jones, boy soprano.

The performance begins at 8.00pm. Tickets €20.00, concessions €15.00. Booking on

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Full press release available here: Gerald Barry’s The Intelligence Park

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