37 Merrion Square © Photo (detail) © Fionn McCann 37 Merrion Square Photo (detail) © Fionn McCann

INO Studio Artists and RIAM Students Hone Their German Language Skills with Goethe Institute

Irish National Opera, Royal Irish Academy of Music & Goethe-Institut have teamed up to create a new German language course designed specifically for aspiring opera singers and musicians.

The programme will be launched on 10 September in the Goethe-Institut with students drawn from the INO Studio and RIAM. Upon completion students will obtain an internationally recognised qualification in German. This new specialised course will provide an exceptional opportunity for music students based in Dublin to improve their German language skills giving them a distinct advantage in the development of their music careers.

Language skills are central to developing a successful career as an opera singer as James Bingham, INO Studio and Outreach Producer, explains. “For any singer applying to the INO Studio, we’d expect them to arrive with a comfortable grasp of German pronunciation and have a good knowledge of the translation of any German repertoire they’re singing. However, an artist’s craft on stage is only part of the demands of a freelance career in opera. We encourage INO Studio artists to have an international ambition and so should be professionally equipped to work comfortably in countries rich with opera such as Germany. This course is an ideal way for our artists to begin the process of learning the German as a conversational language.”

Germany and Austria have a rich operatic tradition as the names Mozart, Weber, Wagner, Richard Strauss and Berg attest to. German-speaking countries have a higher opera stage density than any other region in the world meaning there’s more opera performances in this region than anywhere else. On average, there’s over 7,000 performances a year in Germany. The combination of a rich operatic tradition and plentiful performance opportunities makes Germany and Austria an ideal destination for any young opera singer keen to cultivate their career.

Kathleen Tynan, Head of Vocal Studies and Opera, Royal Irish Academy of Music, emphasises the importance of this course and the opportunities it can afford aspiring Irish singers, “The Royal Irish Academy of Music is very impressed by the generosity and vision of the Goethe-Institut in creating this bespoke German language course for RIAM singing students and members of the Irish National Opera Studio. Fluency in the German language is an essential skill for any young singer that plans to join a Master’s programme or an Opera Studio in Germany or Austria. Our singing students aspire to follow in the footsteps of the RIAM graduates currently singing roles at Bayerische Staatsoper Munich (Tara Erraught mezzo-soprano and Dean Power tenor), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Padraic Rowan bass-baritone), Staatsoper Hamburg (Celine Byrne soprano), Komische Oper Berlin and Semperoper Dresden (Claudia Boyle soprano), Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden (Benjamin Russell baritone), Opernhaus Zürich (Anna Devin soprano and Gemma Ní Bhriain mezzo-soprano) and Theater Basel (Sarah Brady soprano). This new German language course at the Goethe-Institut is an important step on that journey. ”

Speaking about the new course, Goethe-Institut director Dr Thomas Lier said: “The Goethe-Institut is delighted to be collaborating with Irish National Opera and the Royal Irish Academy of Music in establishing a brand new specialised German language course for music professionals and students. I am very pleased about this new partnership and the opportunity it provides to further strengthen and deepen the long-standing musical connections between Germany and Ireland”.

INO have been working closely with Goethe-Institut over the past year and are looking forward to further deepening this relationship as well as embarking on a new partnership with RIAM as James Bingham explains, “Through the generous support of the Goethe-Institut, the INO Studio has been able to run a series of masterclass with international artist this past year. We’re really delighted to now work alongside the Royal Irish Academy of Music in developing a new German language course for our students and artists at the Goethe-Institut.”