'The energy in the room was phenomenal': Cork Opera House holds first live performance in 466 days

'The energy in the room was phenomenal': Cork Opera House holds first live performance in 466 days

Soprano Majella Cullagh and baritone Brendan Collins perform at the Opera House Cork for a live performance after 466 days in Casta Diva - An Evening with Majella Cullagh & Guests. Picture. John Allen

250 people attended a live performance in Cork Opera House on Saturday evening which took place as part of a series of pilot events to bring live music and culture back to Irish audiences.

It was the first live performance in Cork Opera House in 466 days after the theatre's team joined forces with the Irish National Opera to produce and present Casta Diva, An Evening with Majella Cullagh and Guests.

Spontaneous applause erupts as the curtain rises in the Opera House Cork for a live performance after 466 days of Casta Diva - An Evening with Majella Cullagh & Guests. 
Spontaneous applause erupts as the curtain rises in the Opera House Cork for a live performance after 466 days of Casta Diva - An Evening with Majella Cullagh & Guests. 

Eibhlin Gleeson, Cork Opera House CEO, said the event proved a very successful night. 

“We were invited to participate in a pilot event. It was organised in collaboration with the Arts Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. We had a stellar line-up of artists. It was a very successful night. The energy in the room was phenomenal,” she said.

The CEO said the live musical entertainment on offer last Saturday evening in the Opera House ‘felt like old times’. 

“It is important for people to escape from life and enjoy a show. We wanted to provide an experience for people to enjoy in comfort and safety.

“The feedback was amazing. When the curtain came up there was an explosion of applause that lasted about five minutes. People were stomping their feet and cheering. People were so excited to be back. It felt like old times,” she added.

Baritone Brendan Collins and pianist Gary Beecher perform at the Opera House Cork. 
Baritone Brendan Collins and pianist Gary Beecher perform at the Opera House Cork. 

Ms Gleeson said Cork Opera House ‘rigidly’ adhered to their safety precautions to ensure the live event went to perfection. 

“We had all our restrictions in place and we followed all the guidelines. We were very rigid with the safety precautions.

“It was all based on strict social distancing measures. We sold them in pods of two. We had a metre between people.”

Ms Gleeson was full of praise for the audience who also played their part in the successful pilot event.

“The results of this are going to inform how we are going to reopen our industry. It was up to them to help us out. It was important they played their part and they really did.” 

The results from this pilot event will now be analysed by the relevant officials. 

Amongst those in attendance was Elmarie Mawe, Presenter of the Arts House on Cork's 96FM who said that there was electricity in the air at the event.

"You could feel everyone smiling behind their masks last night," she said. 

The CEO said Cork Opera House will continue to be ‘flexible’ going forward. 

“We will be giving feedback to the Department and they will be taking it from there. We are just trying to be as flexible as possible and make sure we are ready when the time comes. The ambition and objective is to get us back to full capacity. Last night was the first step towards that.”

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