The Lily of Killarney, the second of three operas often grouped together,
and performed under the title "The Irish Ring," is a light opera in three
acts, by Sir Julius Benedict, who actually was not Irish at all, but rather
German, and a very respected composer who lived around the time of
Beethoven. The opera has a rather involved plot, which may be
one reason why it's not performed that often.
The estate of Hardress Cregan, our tenor, is financially troubled,
and foreclosure is iminent. To save the family home, it's
proposed that Hardress marry Anna, a rich woman.
However, it's discovered that Hardress is in reality, married to Eily, (the
Lily of Killarney,soprano), who actually has a lover, herself! Hardress's
close friend Danny Mann (baritone) suggests that he find a way to "get
rid of" Eily. At first Hardress refuses such an evil deed, but he's desperate,
so he finally agrees that he will send Danny his glove as a sign to "make
her disappear." Meanwhile, to insure that the deed is done, Danny takes
matters into his own hands, and tells Hardress's mother that if she sends
the glove, it will help matters, and they can save the estate. Being totally
innocent, she does this. Danny takes the glove to Eily, and tells her her
husband wants to see her. He rows Eily to a cave, and demands to see the
marriage certificate. When she refuses, he pushes her into the water.
Eily's lover happens to be nearby (!), shoots Danny, and saves Eily. Hardress
is arrested for murder, but on his deathbed, Danny confesses, and Hardress
reveals that he and Eily are truly married.
Although Benedict wrote several operas, The Lily of Killarney is the
only one really remembered, and still occasionally performed. It has
an elaborate score for a light opera. and is interspersed with Irish melodies,
which add a distinctive flavor. Probably the most famous piece from the
opera is the tenor's gorgeous aria "Eily Mavourneen," which Anthony
has sung at his solo concerts. Eily has a beautiful aria, "I'm Alone,"
and Danny and Hardress have a famous duet, "The Moon Has Raised
Her Lamp."In 2000, the first performance of the Irish Ring was presented
at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, starring Anthony Kearns, and
in 2002, Jim Molloy Promotions brought The Irish Ring to Carnegie
Hall, Lyric Opera in Baltimore, and The State Theatre, in New Jersey.
It again starred Anthony Kearns with Kathryn Smith, And baritone
Patrick Doherty as Danny.
The RDS is performing the operas one at a time, with Maritana first, and
The Lily of Killarney, starring Anthony Kearns, on June 23 and 24, 2007.
The Lily of Killarney
by Berta Calechman
Sir Julius Benedict
‘The RDS celebrated the 275 anniversary of it’s establishment last year and in order to
note the year, it was decided to stage the ‘Irish Ring’ opera which comprises 3 operas,
‘Maritana, ‘The Lily of Killarney’ and ‘The Bohemian Girl’.
Last year, we staged Maritana and this year, it is The Lily of Killarney.
The positive feedback last year was very encouraging and the interest from our
members and the public is ongoing.
This year’s opera will feature wonderfully talented soloists including Cara O’Sullivan,
Anthony Kearns, Eamonn Mulhall, Damian Smith, Jamie Rock, Celine Byrne,
John Molloy and Maria de Moel and the choir is non other than Our Lady’s Choral Society.
Proinnsias O’ Duinn will once again this year, be our conductor’.
RDS Announces Production of The Lily of Killarney
-The first complete performance since the early 20th Century-
Following the huge success of last year’s opera, Maritana, the RDS is now putting
the final touches to the second opera in the ‘Irish Ring’ trilogy, The Lily of
Killarney, to be performed on June 23 and 24, in the RDS Concert Hall. The
Opera will be conducted by Proinnsías Ó Duinn whose work over the past 12
months has helped make this performance of The Lily of Killarney the first complete
version of the Opera since the early 20th Century.
The Lily of Killarney is a musical version of Dion Boucicault’s play, The Colleen
Bawn written by, the popular German composer, Sir Julius Benedict (1804 - 1885)
and was first produced on February 10, 1862, in the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
When the Opera was first composed in the 19th Century The Lily of Killarney
long enjoyed international success but by the middle of the 20th Century it had
become unfashionable. Music publishers, looking for more valuable shelf space,
shredded the original orchestral material. In 1950 the BBC commissioned
conductor Stanford Robinson to try and put together a full score, however,
due to the limited information at his disposal his version was only an approximation
of the original.
Last year, when the RDS proposed presenting the Opera, they commissioned
Proinnsías Ó Duinn to undertake the difficult task of trying to recreate
Benedict’s original score. His research led him to the archives of the British
Library where the actual orchestral parts were discovered, but not the full
orchestral score. He then undertook the two long and tedious tasks of assembling
the parts into a complete score and editing the result, followed by transcribing the
finished manuscript into a computer music-printing programme.
Now, probably for the first time since its original run, The Lily of Killarney
will be heard in its original orchestral version as Benedict actually wrote it.
The Lily of Killarney will be performed in concert format by a
distinguished cast of singers including Cara O’Sullivan, Anthony Kearns and
Celine Byrne, the recent winner of the Maria Callas Competition in Athens.
Proinnsías Ó Duinn will conduct the specially established RDS Opera Orchestra
and including members of Our Lady’s Choral Society. The opera storyline
will be narrated by Bill Golding.
Enthusiasts of The Lily of Killarney will recognise its many references in
James Joyce's Ulysses and audiences will undoubtedly enjoy performances
of ‘The Moon Hath Raised Her Lamp Above’ and ‘Eily Mavourneen’, in
this unique restoration at the RDS. To book tickets for The Lily of
Killarney, please call 01 240 7244 or book online at www.rds.ie/irishring.
Tickets €35 each (booking fee applies).
For further information, performer biographies and a backgrounder on the plot
and history of the Opera please contact:
JP Montgomery Katie Finnegan
Marketing Department Marketing Department
01 240 7222 01 240 7269
And our thanks to Berta Calechman for providing the following synopsis in a
form understandable to the layman.
Thanks to the Royal Dublin Society for keeping us up to date
with the following poster, letter and press release.
THE LILY of KILLARNEY