The Second Violinist wins Fedora – Generali Prize for Opera 2017

Monday 12th June, 2017

The Second Violinist wins Fedora – Generali Prize for Opera 2017 

The Second Violinist has been awarded a hugely prestigious international award, the Fedora – Generali Prize for Opera 2017.

Beating off stiff competition from a number of the world’s other leading opera producers, including Teatro alla Scala Milano,  English National Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Danish National Opera, and more.

The Second Violinist, a new opera composed by Donnacha Dennehy and written and directed by Enda Walsh, is presented by Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera and reunites the world-class creative team for The Last Hotel – director Enda Walsh, designer Jamie Vartan, lighting designer Adam Silverman and sound designers Helen Atkinson and David Sheppard and Crash Ensemble.

The production will premiere on Thursday 27 July as part of the 40th Galway International Arts Festival, at Black Box theatre, Galway (running from 26-30 July; no performance Fri 28 July).  The production will also run at OReilly Theatre, Dublin from 2-8 October. The production is co-produced with the support of Galway International Arts Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, The Barbican and St Ann’s Warehouse. 

The Second Violinist is a major achievement for contemporary opera in Ireland.  With a chorus of 16 and an orchestra of 14, together with principals, music staff, creative, production and technical staff, it will require a company of 56 people to bring it to the stage. In addition to the world premiere in Galway, and building on the hugely successful touring life of The Last Hotel, further international dates are to be announced. The opera is funded through an Arts Council Opera Production Award. 

One of Ireland’s leading actors, Aaron Monaghan, plays The Second Violinist. He is joined by singers Máire Flavin, Sharon Carty and Benedict Nelson, together with the Chorus of Wide Open Opera, and Crash Ensemble, the group founded by Dennehy and described by the New York Times as ‘the Irish new–music band that plays with the energy and spirit of a rock group’.

Conducted by renowned US conductor Ryan McAdams, Donnacha Dennehy’s music is infused with lingering echoes of the Renaissance works of Carlo Gesualdo, creating a sonorous backdrop for the haunting orchestrations and pulsating rhythms that drive the opera to its inexorable conclusion. 

A search for beauty in a dark, dark world.


The European Circle of Philanthropists of Opera and Ballet made the announcement at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in Austria this weekend. Opera Europa – the professional Association of Opera Houses and Festivals in Europe, representing over 170 Opera Houses and festivals in 43 different countries - assessed the applications and created the shortlists, which were presented to two independent jury panels. 

The  Fedora – Generali Prize for Opera 2017 was awarded to collaborators Wide Open Opera and Landmark Productions.    

FEDORA – The European Circle of Philanthropists of Opera and Ballet is a privately funded, non-profit organisation founded in 2014. Its mission is to nurture European innovation and creativity though a prize competition that supports new opera and ballet projects, created by emerging artists and realised in the form of co-productions.  The award of €150,000 will enable Wide Open Opera and Landmark Productions to forge new producing partnerships and ensure that this new Irish opera tours internationally in 2018.

This new production sees Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh join forces once again on this explosive new piece, which follows the sensational success of their first opera, The Last Hotel.

Watch Enda Walsh and Donnacha Dennehy talk about The Second Violinist below.  

Pictured LtoR at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in Austria are: Fergus Sheil, Wide Open Opera, Anne Clarke, Landmark Productions and Gavin O'Sullivan, Wide Open Opera.