Emma O’Halloran.

Athlone woman’s opera to open in New York

An opera by an Athlone composer is to open in New York on Saturday.

'Trade' by Emma O’Halloran is being performed at the Playhouse Theater at the Abrons Art Centre in New York as part of the Prototype Festival.

There will be six performances of the 65-minute opera running up to January 15. Emma is the daughter of retired Brigadier General Peter and Linda O'Halloran from Clonbrock Court, Retreat Park, Athlone.

She has been living in the United States for almost ten years.

Emma holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from Princeton University and is a graduate of Athlone Community College, NUI Maynooth and the Royal Irish Acadmey of Music.

She is the composer of 'Trade', which is based on an award-winning play at the Dublin Theatre Festival written by her uncle Mark O’Halloran, who is the librettist for the opera. Mark is well known as the scriptwriter of popular films Adam and Paul' and 'Garage'.

'Trade' has its origins in Emma’s selection in 2019 as the overall winner of the Beth Morrison Foundation Next Generation music composition award, which entitled her to funding to write an evening-length operatic work to be developed, premiered and toured by the Beth Morrison Projects.

'Trade' tells the story of two men in working-class Dublin, both trapped within their own lives. Set in a cheap hotel room, Older Man has solicited Young Man for a sexual encounter, a ritual that has happened many times before. Older Man is trapped by his marriage, his sexuality, and his deepening feelings for Young Man. Young Man is trapped by his need for money to support a young baby. In this dingy hotel room, they wrestle with their own inner demons and their need for each other.

Co-commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, Irish National Opera, Trinity Wall Street, and Nancy & Barry Sanders. Additional production support is provided by Virginia B. Toulmin Charitable Foundation, Antonia & Vladimer Kulaev Cultural Heritage Fund,Inc, Elizabeth Greenberg, and Culture Ireland.

'Trade' is directed by Tom Creed with Julian Wachner as musical director.

Emma along with Amanda Feery is also currently working with ten young people from around Ireland, selected to participate in the National Concert Hall’s inaugural music programme for composition - Creative Lab.

Supported by The Community Foundation for Ireland/ RTÉ Toy Show Appeal and Accenture, and in partnership with New Music Dublin, the programme is aimed at those (aged 14-18) from diverse communities and traditionally underrepresented groups within the island of Ireland, as well as women, transgender, non-binary, people with disabilities and gender-nonconforming people – and is designed to highlight diversity in music and address the imbalance of composers from traditionally underrepresented groups who are commissioned, performed and championed.

Creative Lab culminates when the participants’ finished works will be heard live at Ireland’s foremost contemporary music festivals - New Music Dublin, in Spring 2022.