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The Second Violinist

Landmark Productions & Irish National Opera

A dazzling modern opera that tells the story of a life falling apart, The Second Violinist unfolds like an unnerving thriller. 

Martin, an orchestral violinist, is consumed by social media platforms, morbid fantasies and violent video games. Seeking solace in the music of Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo, his inner turmoil becomes ever more apparent as he searches for beauty in a dark, dark world. 

Winner of Best Opera at the Irish Times Theatre Awards, this latest collaboration between Irish playwright Enda Walsh and composer Donnacha Dennehy switches between multiple timelines. It marries multilayered set and video design with a score, rich in amplified sounds, harmonies and overtones, played live by the dynamic music group, Crash Ensemble. Lyrical and ethereal singing by three soloists and a 16-strong chorus contrasts with Aaron Monaghan’s central performance, physically fraught, essentially wordless and utterly involving. 

Duration: 1 hour 15 mins, no interval
Age guidance: 14+ (contains nudity)

Presented by the Barbican. Winner of the FEDORA-GENERALI Prize for Opera 2017. Funded through an Arts Council Opera Production Award. Supported by Culture Ireland as part of GB18: Promoting Irish Arts in Britain. Supported by Tourism Ireland.


‘Exhilarating…a study in heartbreak…needs to be seen more than once‘
‘An extraordinary modern opera‘


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