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SYLVIA O'BRIEN
Soprano

SYLVIA O'BRIEN SOPRANO

One of Ireland’s leading sopranos, Sylvia O’Brien possesses a voice of great quality and has established herself internationally as a performer of renown in many genres of vocal repertoire.  

 

OPERA: Ms. O'Brien debuted as the Governess in "The Turn of the Screw" with the Opera Theatre Company in 2004 and at the Buxton Festival under Michael Rosewell's direction. She spent two years in England, touring with the English Touring Opera. In 2005, she premiered and recorded the role of Gabriel in Gerald Barry's "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, conducted by Gerhard Markson, and in 2006, she performed Morton Feldman's "Neither" under the baton of Stefan Ashbury. Her roles with the English Touring Opera include Konstanze in "Die Entführung," Grafin in "Der Wiener Bluthe," and Jenufa. With the Opera Theatre Company, she sang the Countess in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Zerlina in "Don Giovanni" (Opera2005), Aspasia in "Mitridate" (Opera in the Open), and Despina in "Cosi Fan Tutte" with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, conducted by Kenneth Montgomery in Dublin. Ms. O'Brien has portrayed several Gilbert and Sullivan characters, such as Mabel in "Pirates of Penzance," with both the Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society and members of the D'oyly Carte company. She recorded the title role in Martinu's "Mirandolina" for the Wexford Opera Festival. In 2012, she performed the title role of "Turandot" in  concert. With Irish National Opera she premiered the operas "The Things We Throw Away" (2015) and "The Oldest Woman in Limerick" (2016), both by Brian Irvine. Recently, Ms. O'Brien has taken on the roles of Anne Truelove in "A Rake's Progress" (2018), Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" (2019), Lucia in "Lucia di Lammermor" (2019), Fiordiligi in "Cosi Fan Tutte" (2021), and the title roles in Lucia in "Lucia di Lammermor" (2019), Turandot (2020), "Tosca" (2022) and "La Rondine" (2023).

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CONTEMPORARY: Sylvia O’Brien’s specialist vocal and interpretative skills have established her as a leading interpreter of contemporary music having performed numerous prestigious international premieres as well as works by many composers who have written specifically for her voice. She has collaborated with many composers most notably the Irish composer's  Seóirse Bodley (www.seoirsebodley.com) and Raymond Deane, Siobhán Cleary and Sean Doherty. She is a founding member of the Irish ensemble Evlana www.evlana.com. She has performed works by Morton Feldman, Luigi Nono, Tristan Keuris, Gerald Barry, Louis Andriessen, Brian Irvine, Manos Tsangaris, Seóirse Bodley, Ian Wilson, Kevin O’Connell, Raymond Deane, Siobhain Cleary and Benjamin Dwyer. She was a resident performer at the Malkovich International Composers Competition in 2002 and since then has performed with many leading contemporary ensembles. She sang the Irish premiere of Here (in circles) by Michel van der Aa with the Crash Ensemble conducted by Alan Pierson and Porat songs with the Nieuw European Ensemble in the Netherlands. In 2014, she performed the Irish premiere of Claude Vivier’s Lonely Child with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Nicolas Cleobury. She has performed Irish and Finnish premiere of the one act opera Neither by Morton Feldman with the Helsinki Philhamonic (conducted by Stefan Asbury and Dmitry Slobodeniuk) and the National Symphony of Ireland premiere under conductor Stefan Asbury. In September 2008 she premiered a new work by Joseph Phibbs Silence at the Song’s End for soprano and string quartet, at the Jubilee Hall Aldeburgh and the premiere and recording of Gerard Barry’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Gabriel). 

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Recent performances include Sean Doherty’s work for Soprano and ensemble 2024*, George Crumb Apparitions (New Music Dublin 2023), Lament for the Poets (Doherty/Sonoro String Quartet/2023), Cleary's Dole of the Kings's Daughter and Liandáin (Carducci Quartet/Great Irsh Houses/2022), Cleary/Perry/Saariaho (Evlana Ensemble Tour 2022), Raymond Deane's Tristia (Evlana Ensemble/New Music Dublin/2021), Kevin O'Connell's Aves de Paso (Hard Rain Ensemble/New Music Dublin/2020), Cleary's Ondine and Her kind* (Evlana Ensemble 2015), Brian Irvine's, The Oldest Woman in Limerick (Wide Open Opera 2015) and Things We Throw Away* (Wide Open Opera 2014)

*World Premiere 

**Irish Premiere 

CONCERT: As an established recitalist, her chamber collaborations include the Carducci Quartet, Solstice Quartet, Vogler Ensemble, Clara Schumann Trio, Grieg Piano Trio, and Triocca Ensemble. Her performances have graced the West Cork Music Festival at Bantry House, St. Barrahane's Music Festival in Castletownsend, the Vogler Festival alongside the Grieg Piano Trio and Vogler Ensemble, and the White Crow Music Festival in Leiden, The Netherlands with the Nieuw European Ensemble. She embarked on a tour with John Tavener's "To a Dancing Child in the Wind" performed by the Triocca ensemble and presented Shostakovich's "Seven Romances on Verses by A. Blok" with the Syrius Trio at Carnegie Hall, New York. She regularly shares the stage in recital with pianist Hanna Shybayeva.

Her concert repertoire includes Mozart's "Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots" with the NDR Radio Philharmonie, Rossini's "Petite Messe Solennelle" under the baton of Celso Antunes, Dvorak's "Stabat Mater," and Mozart's "Exsultate, Jubilate" with the Orchestra of St. Cecilia led by David Agler. She has interpreted Bach's "St. John Passion" with the Irish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Stephen Layton, Mozart's "C minor Mass" and "Requiem" at the Mozart Festival with the Orchestra of St. Cecilia directed by Kenneth Montgomery, and Verdi's "Requiem" with the Ulster Orchestra under David Milne. Her performances with the Evlana Chamber Ensemble include Britten's "Les Illuminations," and she has sung Berlioz's "Les Nuits d'Été" with both the Goois Symfonie Orkest and Zuid Hollands Symfonie Orkest, as well as Chausson's "Poème de l'Amour et de la Mer" in Hilversum. In 2013, she made her Concertgebouw Amsterdam debut with "Bachianas Brasileiras No.5" and the "Liebestod" from Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde." She has also performed Shostakovich's "Symphony No. 14" with the Magogo Kamerorkest in Tilburg Stadsgehoorzaal and Luigi Nono's "Il Canto Sospeso" in Milan with Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro Sinfonico di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, conducted by Francesco Maria Colombo.

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