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Rare Opportunity to experience Balfe’s The Sleeping Queen Operetta in Lismore Town

The Sleeping Queen, an Operetta in one act by Michael William Balfe is a rare opportunity to experience a delightful chamber opera composed by Ireland’s leading nineteenth-century opera composer to a libretto by Henry Brougham Farnie (1836-1889). The Sleeping Queen occupies a unique position as Balfe’s only operetta and was recently revived by Irish-international pianist and producer, Una Hunt, who was sent the score by Balfe’s biographer, the late Basil Walsh. Reviving this comic operetta proved an illuminating experience as much of the symbolism represented within implies that the libretto was written in homage to the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.

This specially staged performance will take place in the unique setting of a historic cobbled stone courtyard off Lismore Main Street at 3pm on Saturday 1st June. This will be preceded by the RDS Collins Award Recital by cellist Killian White at St Carthages Cathedral from 12 noon so much to enjoy around the town of Lismore with lunch available in several hostelries. Tickets for The Sleeping Queen are available here or by calling our ticket office +353 (0)85 207 8944

Balfe was considered the most significant operatic composer of the Victorian period and, for more than fifty years, his Bohemian Girl maintained a position at the vanguard of popular English-language repertory on both sides of the Atlantic. With its translation into many languages, it also gained widespread international success. There was a succession of other successful operas, 28 in total, but nonetheless, Balfe’s music is now largely forgotten. The Sleeping Queen has a cast of four characters with original scoring for piano accompaniment rather than orchestra. It was first presented in 1864 at Thomas German Reed’s Gallery of Illustration in London, a fashionable venue specializing in plays and small-scale operatic productions.

A short pre-opera talk will be given by Una Hunt.


Maria Dolores, Queen of Leon – Susie Gibbons

Donna Agnes, a Maid of Honour – Sarah Kilcoyne

Philippe D’Aguilar, a Young Exile – Oisín Ó Dálaigh

His Excellency, the Regent – Kevin Neville

Stage Director – Peter McDermott

Musical Director and Producer – Una Hunt