This Sunday Northern Ireland Opera will be back at the Grand Opera House with a brand new production of Johann Strauss’ comedy Die Fledermaus (The Bat), accompanied by the Ulster Orchestra.

Die Fledermaus is a real masterpiece of Viennese light opera, sung in English and beautifully adapted for a modern audience. It guarantees to entertain and is a hilarious, uplifting opera with instsantly recognisable music.   PLUS it stars the living legend that is May McFettridge in the comedy role of Frosch the Jailer!

Die Fledermaus is the jewel in the crown of the real King of the Waltz, Johann Strauss. The tunes stay with you forever. The humour is wicked. The atmosphere indulgent. It is a hilarious farce about men taking liberties, women taking control, and the dangers of dressing up as a bat!

Artistic Director Walter Sutcliffe commented:

“The Bat, in German Die Fledermaus, is the world’s best and most popular operetta. If you love pure luxurious feel good music there is little more uplifting and indulgent than its incredible array of Viennese waltzes that sparkle even more than the champagne its characters are powered by. And, there’s so much more. It’s a brilliant comedy of male paranoia, bringing out the absurdity of man’s egomania and obsessions with sexual potency, conquests and status.  In a masterclass of irony, it simultaneously seduces and ridicules us. It may be 145 years old, but its relevance today is probably even clearer than when it was written. Or perhaps it just shows us how little has changed. And if you can’t laugh at yourself then what can you laugh at?”

May McFettridge will be joined by Northern Irish baritone Ben McAteer (Eisenstein), who trained at the National Opera Studio in London and on the Guildhall School of Music & Drama opera course. He is a former winner of Les Azuriales Opera prize, the Guildhall School’s English song prize, NI Opera’s inaugural Festival of Voice. In 2018 he sang Marullo in Rigoletto for the company.  County Down soprano Maria McGrann (Adele) is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. Her most recent operatic engagements include the roles of Countess Ceprano Rigoletto (NIO), Madame Herz Der Schauspieldirektor (INO), Cunegonde Candide (Opera in the Open), Musetta La Boheme, Zerlina Don Giovanni and Sandman & Dewfairy Hänsel and Gretel (OITO). Dresden-born Stephan Loges, who will perform the role of Falke, has given recitals throughout the world, including regular appearances at Wigmore Hall, London as well as Carnegie Hall, New York, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Klavierfestival Ruhr, La Monnaie Brussels, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Santiago de Compostela, BBC Radio 3 and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.


John Linehan is best known as the man behind superstar May McFettridge.  A star in his own right, John is one of the most recognisable comedians in Northern Ireland.  His quick wit, sharp observational comedic mind and infectious personality have led to a host of awards, biographical television documentaries and appearances on television and radio. John received his MBE in 2006 for Charitable Services and 2019 is his 30th anniversary with the Grand Opera House.


Northern Ireland Opera’s two most recent productions – Rigoletto at the Grand Opera House and Sweeney Todd at the Lyric Theatre – resulted in sell-out performances and a season that has seen a further staggering 70% rise in their audience numbers. Founded in only 2010, Northern Ireland Opera has won international acclaim and awards for the quality of its work and been seen in the UK, Ireland and internationally.  From its inception, the company was determined to produce strongly imaginative, bold, risk-taking work and to broaden the audience for opera in Northern Ireland.  Its new Artistic Director, Walter Sutcliffe, has already seen sold-out shows and an increase in audiences of over 400% since his arrival. A graduate of the University of Cambridge and the Royal College of Music, London, Walter has directed over 35 critically-acclaimed productions which have been seen in the UK, United States, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Estonia, and most recently Chile. 

A key priority of Northern Ireland Opera is to broaden the company’s work in outreach and education through extending the company’s engagements and its reach, lifting the curtain on opera by demystifying it through increased community participation and making the art form more accessible. They’ve provided an unprecedented level of access to stage and orchestral rehearsals to primary schools, post primary schools, young people with disabilities and learning difficulties, young people in care, diversity charities, LGBT charities, health charities, carers, choirs, cross-community groups and homeless shelter user groups. Their most recent dynamic outreach week involving over 40 organisations and 2000 attendees, proved NI Opera are out to show that opera is for everybody. 


TIMES: Sun 6pm, Tues, Thurs, Sat 7.30pm


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