RIAM Opera ‘Banished’ receives critical acclaim in Opera Magazine

May 72019

RIAM’s cast, conductor and director received a strongly positive review from Opera Magazine’s Ian Fox in its latest edition.

The work, a new opera by Stephen McNeff, was set in the historic surrounds of Kilmainham Gaol under the direction of Irish Times Director of the Year, Catriona McLaughlin and conductor Andrew Synnott.

The reviewer noted the performance as ‘an impressive demonstration of the high standards being obtained in Dublin conservatoires today’.


The Royal Irish Academy of Music was proud to present the Irish première of Stephen McNeff’s Banished, an adaptation of Steve Gooch’s play, Female Transport, to a libretto by Olivia Fuchs. Putting young women firmly centre-stage, this brave new work tells the compelling story of women who were transported to Australia in the last years of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and their survival against all odds on a long, arduous and dangerous passage to the other side of the world. Kilmainham Gaol, now one of the largest unoccupied prisons in Europe, is the extraordinary site-specific setting for this captivating new work.

Whilst the building symbolises the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism for many, the Gaol’s own special history as a depot for convicts before they were transported to Australia, made it a particularly poignant location in which to present McNeff’s new opera to Irish audiences.

Presented in partnership with the Office of Public Works and Kilmainham Gaol Museum and in collaboration with Design for Stage and Screen, IADT Dún Laoghaire.