Northern Ireland Opera is to release eight short films, featuring songs composed by Northern Irish composers, performed in some of the most beautiful and historic locations around the country by opera singers from that area. The first film was released on Thursday October 22 on their YouTube channel.

Four opera singers, Giselle Allen (Belfast), Doreen Curran (Derry/Londonderry), Carolyn Dobbin (Co. Antrim) and Ben McAteer (Co Down) have worked with Northern Ireland Opera and pianist Ruth McGinley (Derry/Londonderry) to create eight beautiful films directed by Marty Stalker and produced by Causeway Pictures.

Locations include Belfast Castle, Titanic Belfast, Derry Walls, the Peace Bridge, Glenarm Castle, Dunluce Castle, Newcastle and Silent Valley, with composers including Hamilton Harty, Carl Hardebeck, Herbert Hughes and Percy French and familiar songs including ‘Danny Boy’, ‘The Mountains of Mourne’ and ‘Star of the County Down’.

Northern Ireland Opera brings together the talent, beauty and history here by using established and well-known opera singers in their home towns or counties, performing music celebrating their location and filmed in the exceptional landscapes and historic locations in which this country is so rich.  It is hoped that these films will reach a wide audience and showcase to people across this island and beyond the wealth of culture, talent and world-class locations available to visit once the public health crisis has abated. It is planned to visit each county in Northern Ireland to produce further films in 2021, funding allowing.

You can watch ‘Northern Songs’ each Thursday as they release weekly from October 22nd on our YouTube channel, The first film launched on Thursday 22 at 8pm and features mezzo-soprano Carolyn Dobbin singing ‘The Blue Hills’ by Hamilton Harty at Dunluce Castle in her home county of Co. Antrim.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Northern Songs is a really special initiative from Northern Ireland Opera which beautifully fuses together songs and places throughout Northern Ireland, breathing fresh life into some of our most-treasured songs and performed by some of the regions most talented singers and musicians.  We are delighted to support Northern Ireland Opera and very much look forward to enjoying these wonderful musical moments in the weeks ahead.”

Naomi Waite, Tourism NI Marketing Director added: “We are delighted to support Northern Ireland Opera as they bring to life some of the most iconic sites across Northern Ireland through the exceptional talent of our local opera singers. These videos immerse viewers in our rich history, culture and awe-inspiring landscapes and showcase the giant voices of our local musicians. We look forward to more opportunities to support the arts community in Northern Ireland, like this project that truly tells the story of our giant spirit.”

Chris Patterson, Global Content Producer, Causeway Pictures said: “Causeway Pictures are delighted to have collaborated with Northern Ireland Opera in helping to bring these songs to a wide audience through film, especially since during the current public health crisis, live performance has been restricted.”

Roy Bailie, Chairman of Northern Ireland Opera said: “Combining the beauty of our coastal urban and rural landscapes, the heritage of our buildings and places, with the drama of some of our finest singers, Northern Ireland Opera is proud to present this short series of films, ‘Northern Songs’. As one of Northern Ireland’s leading arts companies, the link with tourism and the economy is critical as we strive to emerge into a post-Covid world and allow people everywhere to share the vivacity and giant spirit of this place.”