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NI Opera Studio

The Northern Ireland Opera Studio, (previously known as the Young Artists Programme) is a cornerstone of Northern Ireland Opera’s mission to develop talent. Until 2021 the programme was limited to opera singers, but now the Studio will also provide professional development and paid training opportunities in the creative and technical disciplines which are key to bringing an opera to life on stage.

Find out all about who is in the Studio and what we do below!


Jade Phoenix

Jade Phoenix is a 23 year old lyric soprano from Ireland. In 2020 she graduated with First Class honors from the Royal Irish Academy…
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Erin Kennedy

Erin Kennedy is an inspiring mezzo-soprano from Newtownabbey, with a Second Class Upper Division BA in Music from Ulster University. Her final year performance…
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Owen Lucas

Owen Lucas is a Tenor based in Northern Ireland. Originally studying the oboe at RWCMD, Owen has gone onto to develop his passion for…
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Fionn Ó hAlmhain

Fionn Ó hAlmhain is a young, German-born bass who grew up in Co. Wicklow and is now based in Dublin. In 2019 he completed…
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Andrea Ferran

Andrea Ferran is a theatre and opera director from Limavady. She is currently Guest Artist at Deutsches Theater, Visiting Director at Teatre Lliure and…
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Zara Jackson

Zara is a film graduate from Belfast who has worked freelance as a script supervisor in the local screen industry for the last five…
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Bethan McDonnell

Bethan McDonnell is from Northern Ireland and has grown up with an appreciation for music, art, and her homeland. She is a recent graduate…
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Michael McEvoy

Michael McEvoy, 23 is a Belfast based Dance Artist. He graduated in 2020, with a First Class Honours BA from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of…
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Matthew Quinn

Matthew is a versatile young conductor/musical director from Belfast, Northern Ireland who is developing a reputation for his exciting and dynamic approach to his…
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Roisin Whelan

Roisin began her professional career with Black Box Dance Company in Denmark and then joined Matthew Bourne's New Adventures as a company dancer for…
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Spending a year at NI Opera Studio gave me a great opportunity to grow as an artist, allowing me to learn on the job, whilst working with some of the top UK & Irish conductors, directors and colleagues. A particular highlight for me was making my solo debut with the Ulster Orchestra at the Ulster Hall, but throughout the year, I also had the pleasure of performing everything from Vulpius to Sondheim, with some Mozart, Offenbach, Donizetti and Puccini thrown in for good measure. I definitely felt my musical and performance abilities were stretched, and now I feel much more confident when I’m working on a project slightly outside my comfort zone. Behind the scenes, there was a wealth of support, guidance and (sometimes much needed!) encouragement available to me from the whole extended team at Northern Ireland Opera - something which isn’t often readily available in this industry, and cannot be underestimated in the early stages of a singer’s career.

Elaine McDaid, NI Opera Studio 2018-19

I absolutely loved being part of the studio! Not only I learned much from both the coachings and the productions I was part of but I had a lot of fun. Everyone involved was amazing and a pleasure to work with, I am very much going to miss this. I truly believe that, thanks to all the people I met during this year, I have grown much as a singer and especially as a stage performer and I'll make good use of these skills, hopefully, in the future steps of my career.

Francesco Giusti, NI Opera Studio 2018-2019

My time with the Northern Ireland Opera Studio has been the biggest highlight of my career to date. From the very first production I took part in (Hidden Extras) to the final bow of (L’ile de Tulipatan) I enjoyed every single second on stage.

Jessica Hackett, Studio Member 2018-19

My time with the Studio Program allowed me many opportunities to try different repertoires in different performance situations, from musical theatre to oratorio performances with orchestra to song recitals; it really helped me get out of my comfort zone and develop the flexibility that I think is so necessary for opera singers today! Working with internationally renowned teachers and coaches like Kathryn Harries and Ingrid Surgenor, as well as the wonderful visiting artists, was very inspiring and I finish the year knowing I've developed hugely as an artist and as a singer under their guidance.

Margaret Bridge, NI Opera Studio 2018-2019

Studio Alumni

  • 2019/20
  • Ana Acunune
  • Zoë Jackson
  • David Lee
  • David Corr
  • 2018/19
  • Margaret Bridge
  • Jessica Hackett
  • Elaine McDaid
  • Kelli-Ann Masterson
  • Rebecca Murphy
  • Francesco Giusti
  • 2017/18
  • Dawn Burns
  • Kevin Neville
  • Maria Hughes
  • Cormac Lawlor
  • Lauren Scully
  • 2016/17
  • Elaine Pelan
  • Sinéad O'Kelly
  • Dominica Williams
  • David Howes
  • 2015/16
  • Gabrielle Mulcahy
  • Rebecca Rodgers
  • Laura McFall
  • David Lynn
  • 2014/15
  • Helen Aiken
  • Conor Breen
  • Maria McGrann
  • Andrea Delaney
  • 2013/14
  • Richard Shaffrey
  • Jean Wallace
  • Ioana Pipilea
  • Sarah Richmond
  • 2012/13
  • Aaron O'Hare
  • Laura Murphy
  • Laura Sheerin
  • Eugene Monteith
  • 2011/12
  • Páidí Ó Dubháin
  • Gemma Prince
  • Marcella Walsh
  • Mary McCabe