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O'Reilly Theatre, National Opera House


€35 – €160

Priority booking for Friends opens from
24 April 2024. Become a Friend


Approx. running time: 150 minutes

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Opera in two acts by Charles Villiers Stanford
Libretto by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Fully-staged production
Sung in English with English surtitles

First performance
Shaftesbury Theatre, London, 1916


Both Stanford and Sheridan were born in Dublin but pursued their careers in England; Sheridan as a prominent playwright and one-time owner of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Stanford as Professor of Music at the Royal College of Music and the University of Cambridge as well as a composer best remembered for his choral works.
The Critic
was the penultimate of nine operas by Stanford and considered one of his best, having been well received initially and later revived by Thomas Beecham.


Carolyn Holt
Justice's Lady - Second Niece
Carolyn Holt
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Mr. Sneer
Arthur Riordan

Creative Team

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Ciarán McAuley
John Comiskey
Set Designer
John Comiskey

The Plot

The Critic takes place on the stage of a theatre, where a new opera, The Spanish Armada, is in rehearsal. The composer, Mr. Dangle and the librettist and impresario, Mr. Puff, have invited the eponymous critic, Mr. Sneer, to attend. Mr. Puff launches into a discussion of his profession, the theatre and the many merits of his new piece.

The rehearsal begins, and we are transported to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

At Tilbury Fort, Sir Walter Raleigh and the Governor of the fort, Sir Christopher Hatton, discuss the threat of a Spanish invasion. They have captured the extravagant Don Ferolo Whiskerandos, son of the enemy admiral, and imprisoned him. (Throughout the rehearsal, Puff, Sneer and Dangle interrupt proceedings to comment on the work.) The governor’s daughter Tilburina enters and we discover that she has fallen in love with Don Ferolo.

Hatton’s and Raleigh’s nieces, both also in love with Whiskerandos, intent on avenging his faithlessness. They are prevented by an English sea captain. He kills Whiskerandos (in a scene that requires a lot of rehearsal) and the bereft Tilburina loses her mind.

An incongruous masque celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s famous victory over the Spanish Armada concludes the opera, before Mr. Puff has to decide if they’ll need more rehearsal tomorrow...

Dates and times

Saturday 19 Oct7:30pm 7:30pm Book
Thursday 24 Oct7:30pm 7:30pm Book
Sunday 27 Oct5pm 5pm Book
Friday 1 Nov7:30pm 7:30pm Book

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