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DIT Conservatory present concert performance of New Opera Breakdown Jan 20

Posted: 19 January, 2015

A New Year New Opera to celebrate 125 years of DIT Conservatory

DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama presents the concert performance premiere of Breakdown, a new opera by Andrew Synnott and John Breen, at 8.00pm on Tuesday 20 January 2015. As a prelude to the opera, the DIT Symphony Orchestra perform Paul Alday’s Grand Symphony for a Full Orchestra, the first known symphony composed in Ireland.

Breakdown is a fascinating portrait of the lives of three performance artists attempting to perform ground-breaking work, vividly brought to life in Breen's libretto and Synnott’s emotionally-charged music. The narrative is inspired by three iconic moments in performance art history: Marina Abramovic’s Rhythm 0, Michael Landy’s Break Down, Barry Le Va’s Velocity Piece. The artists are forced to battle the societal, physical and emotional breakdown of their worlds and the world around them in order to triumph. 


Breakdown is composed and conducted by Andrew Synnott, who brings a fresh voice to Irish opera composition. A Dublin-based composer, arranger and conductor, and PhD student at DIT Conservatory, Synnott has written music for The Abbey Theatre, Pan-Pan Theatre Company, Finghin Collins and the Whistleblast Quartet and Music Generation. He has conducted for Opera Theatre Company, Glasthule Opera and the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM). The idea for Breakdown was conceived by well-known playwright John Breen, author of Alone it Stands and Charlie, who reached out to Synnott about collaborating in 2007.

The opera features vocal students and graduates of DIT Conservatory and is accompanied by the DIT Symphony Orchestra. This concert version offers the listener the opportunity to focus on the music.  Synnott says, “The music in Breakdown responds to the many twists and turns of John Breen’s text. Beauty, pain, anger, joy, passion and eventual triumph are all carried powerfully by the score in a way that can only happen in opera. Instead of rejecting the past, Breakdown connects with the sound world and compositional techniques of the great Italian romantic composers such as Verdi and Puccini.”

As a prelude to the opera, the DIT Symphony Orchestra will perform French composer Paul Alday’s Grand Symphony for a Full Orchestra, the first known symphony composed in Ireland (c. 1816). Alday lived in Dublin at the beginning of the nineteenth century. While some parts of the symphony were held at the RIAM, the remaining parts were unearthed in the National Library of Ireland by researchers led by DIT Librarian Dr. Catherine Ferris during a RISM Ireland/ Research Foundation for Music in Ireland (RFMI) study. The parts were digitally transcribed by undergraduate students of the Conservatory. The symphony received its first performance in modern times by Conservatory students last year.

DIT is delighted to have the concert performance premiere of Breakdown as its inaugural event in a calendar of events organised to mark the 125thanniversary of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama.

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