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Performer: Irish National Opera

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An Aida that strips away the Egyptian iconography

Imelda Drumm (Amneris), Manfred Hemm (Ramfis), Graeme Danby (King) and Gwyn Hughes Jones (Radamès) © Pat Redmond
Michael Barker-Caven sets Aida in a 21st-century war zone in the Middle-East, allowing the audience to focus on the human drama.
*****
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Closed doors, but a musically stunning Bluebeard's Castle

Joshua Bloom (Bluebeard) and Paula Murrihy (Judith) © Pat Redmond
Joshua Bloom and Paula Murrihy excel in Irish National Opera's staging of Bartók's opera, although director Enda Walsh takes too many liberties with the libretto. 
****1
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Irish National Opera's futuristic Hoffmann

Claudia Boyle (Olympia) © Pat Redmond
Tom Creed's take on Offenbach's opéra fantastique works best in the Olympia act in this new production in Dublin. 
***11
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Fun and frolics at Irish National Opera's Figaro

Jonathan Lemalu (Figaro) and Tara Erraught (Susanna) © Pat Redmond
A wonderful ful-filled caper by the Irish National Opera of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro with Erraught as Susanna and Miskelly as Cherubino really impressing. 
****1
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Powder Her Face is gloriously kinky in Dublin

Mary Plazas (The Duchess) and Adrian Dwyer (Waiter) © Pat Redmond
Top accolades go to soprano Mary Plazas, whose Duchess was at once despicable for her sense of entitlement and her racist and anti-Semitic views, and heartbreakingly vulnerable with her realisation at the end that "the only people who were ever good to me were paid for it".
*****
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