Andrew Synnott (1970-)

20, 26, 29 October |  1 November

WARNING: This performance contains strobe lighting effects 

World premiere of two one-act operas Counterparts & The Boarding House from Joyce’s Dubliners

Adaptation and text by Arthur Riordan

Sung in English with English Surtitles

Co-production of Opera Theatre Company and Wexford Festival Opera

This double-bill is scored for piano, string quartet and a cast of six singers


In this dark tale, we follow the growing frustration of Farrington, a lumbering alcoholic copyist, over the course of one afternoon and evening. His mind-numbing work is made intolerable by an overbearing boss who demeans him in front of colleagues. Washing away his misery in several of Dublin’s pubs Farrington is humiliated once more when he physically tries to measure up to a visiting English acrobat. Worse still, an actress that Farrington eyes up is uninterested in him. Frustrated, he returns home where his mood worsens, and he violently takes out his anger on his son Tom. The music and libretto are infused with this growing sense of frustration and dread. The tragedy of Tom’s plight is central to the opera’s heart-breaking conclusion.

The Boarding House

Jack Mooney introduces The Boarding House, run by his mother. It caters both for clerks and visiting music-hall entertainers. The scheming proprietor, Mrs Mooney, allows her daughter Polly to spend time with the men who stay there. She knows that young men like it when a pretty girl is not too far away. A relationship blossoms between Polly and the successful clerk Bob Doran. Mrs Mooney carefully observes and tracks it until the most profitable moment. When she is sure the relationship has been observed by others, she knows that Mr Doran has no choice but to propose to Polly out of social propriety. The music and libretto poke fun at all of the characters as this entertaining drama unfolds.

The Festival ShortWorks are made possible by the generous support of The Lord Magan of Castletown.

20 Oct - 3.30 p.m.
26 Oct - 3.30 p.m.
29 Oct - 11 a.m.
1 Nov - 3.30 p.m.

Tickets €30

Run Time

Counterparts 28 ½ mins
Pause 6 mins
Boarding House 30 mins

Creative Team

Music Director
Andrew Synnott


Previous Engagements: Composer (Breakdown, National Concert Hall – Dublin), Conductor (Vampirella, Siobhan Cleary, RIAM Opera), Conductor (Carmen, Bizet, Opera Theatre Company).

Forthcoming Engagements: Conductor (La finta giardiniera, Mozart, RIAM Opera; Symphony No. 6, The Pathétique/Triple Concerto, Tchaikovsky/Beethoven, Wexford Sinfonia; Maria Callas 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert, National Concert Hall – Dublin).

Stage Director
Annabelle Comyn


Previous Engagements: Director (Crestfall, Mark O’Rowe, Druid Theatre Company; The Wake and The House, Tom Murphy, The Abbey Theatre; The Talk of The Town, Emma Donoghue, Hatch Theatre Co., Landmark Productions and DTF).

Forthcoming Engagements: Director (Look Back in Anger, John Osborne, The Gate Theatre; Asking For It, adapted by Meadhbh McHugh and Annabelle Comyn, Landmark Productions and The Everyman, Cork).

Set Designer
Paul O'Mahony


Previous Engagements: Set & Costume Designer (Un Ballo in maschera, Verdi, State Theatre Saarbrücken), Set & Costume Designer (Jesus Christ Superstar, Webber, Theatre Basel), Set & Costume Designer (I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Bellini, Theatre Lübeck).

Forthcoming Engagements: Set & Costume Designer (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Wagner, Theatre Wielki Poznan), Set & Costume Designer (Carmen, Bizet, State Theatre Oldenburg), Set & Costume Designer (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart, Theatre Lübeck).

Costume Designer
Joan O'Clery


Previous Engagements: Costume Designer (The Second Violinist, Donacha Dinghy and Enda Walsh, Wide Open Opera / Galway Arts Fest / Landmark; Woyzeck In Winter, Adapted by Conall Morrison, Lanmark / Barbican / Galway Arts Festival; Macbeth, Shakespeare, The Globe, London).

Lighting Designer
Rory Beaton

United Kingdom

Previously at WFO: Lighting Designer (Il Campanello, The Bear, Riders to the Sea, 2016).

Previous Engagements: Lighting Designer (70 Års Opera, Danish National Opera; L'incoronazione di Poppea, Monteverdi, Trinity Laban Conservatoire; Der Freishütz, Weber, Blackheath Halls Opera).

Forthcoming Engagements: Lighting Designer (Dubliners, Andrew Synnott, Opera Touring Company, Ireland; Beauty and the Beast, Gordon Barr, Bard in the Botanics; Peter Pan, Alan McHugh, QDOS Entertainment).


Polly/Mrs Delacour/Barmaid/Tom
Emma Nash

Soprano, Ireland

Previously at WFO: Gretel (Hansel and Gretel, Humperdinck, 2015 ShortWork).

Previous Engagements: Valencienne (The Merry Widow, Lehár, Cork Opera House), Gilda cover (Rigoletto, Verdi, Longborough Festival Opera), Gilda (Rigoletto, Verdi, Opera Theatre Company).

Forthcoming Engagements: Su (Front of House, Tom Lane, Ulysses Opera Theatre & Cork Opera House), Baroque to Broadway, Castletown House).

Anna Jeffers

Mezzo-soprano, United Kingdom

Previously at WFO: Hansel (Hansel and Gretel, Humperdinck, 2015 ShortWork), Third Spirit (The Magic Flute, Mozart, 2012 ShortWork).

Previous Engagements: Adronico cover (Tamerlano, Handel, Buxton Festival Opera), Eduige cover (Rodelinda, Handel, Scottish Opera), Claire Morgan (Nine Stories High, Blythe, Welsh National Opear Max).

Forthcoming Engagements: Mrs Herring (Albert Herring, Britten, Buxton Festival Opera).

Andrew Gavin

Tenor, Ireland

Previous Engagements: Tamino (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart, RIAM), Arbace (Idomeneo, Mozart, Kilkenny Arts Festival), Damon (Acis & Galatea, Handel, Opera Theatre Company).

David Howes

Baritone, Ireland

Previously at WFO: Archer 1 (Le Pré aux clercs, Hérold, 2015); Sciarrone (Tosca, Puccini, Shortwork, 2015); French Soldier 1 (Silent Night, Puts, 2014).

Previous Engagements: Don Giovanni/Masetto Cover (Don Giovanni, Mozart, Northern Ireland Opera), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte, Mozart, Northern Ireland Opera), Prince Yamadori (Madame Butterfly, Puccini, Lyric Opera Productions – Dublin).

Forthcoming Engagements: Soloist (Messiah, Handel, Limerick Choral Union), Soloist (First Nowell, Vaughan Williams, Culwick Choral Society).

Peter O' Donohue

Tenor, Ireland

Previous Engagements: Tamino (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart, Dublin Institute of Technology), Yamadori (Madama Butterfly, Puccini, RTÉ Concert Orchestra), Parpignol (La Bohème, Puccini, RTÉ Concert Orchestra).

Cormac Lawlor

Bass-baritone, Ireland

Previous Engagements: The Bonze (Madama Butterfly, Puccini, Lyric Opera Productions), Bartolo cover (Barber of Seville, Rossini, Wide Open Opera), Colline (La Bohème, Puccini, Lyric Opera Productions).