Regarded as one of Ireland's leading sopranos, Sylvia O'Brien has impressed audiences in her performances of opera, oratorio and chamber music.
Since her critically acclaimed debut as the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw in 2004, Sylvia has performed numerous leading roles such as The Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), Konstanze (Die Entfuhrung), Anne Trulove (The Rake’s Progress), Fiordiligi (Cosi Fan Tutte), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Jenůfa (Jenůfa), and most recently the title roles in Turandot and Lucia di Lammermor.
As a concert performer, Sylvia is a regular guest soloist with orchestras, chamber ensembles, recital halls and festivals throughout Europe. Her vast repertoire includes Chausson, Berlioz, Mozart, Bach, Verdi, Shostakovich and Wagner and the lighter repertoire of Strauss, Lehar, Novello and Gilbert and Sullivan. Sylvia’s oratorio repertoire highlights include Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, Dvořak Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.
Her vocal and musical skills make her an important singer in her contemporary repertoire. Significant contemporary performances include Feldman’s Neither conducted by Stefan Asbury and Gerald Barry’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant conducted by Gerhard Markson. Sylvia has commissioned, collaborated on, and premiered many works. Her most notable collaboration include Seóirse Bodley, Raymond Deane, Siobhán Cleary, Brian Irvine and Benjamin Dwyer. Sylvia is a founding member of the Irish chamber ensemble Evlana.
Recently awarded Doctor of Music from Trinity College Dublin, Sylvia is a member of the vocal faculty of the Royal Irish Academy of Music where she lectures in voice, specialising in French song and contemporary vocal techniques. She also teaches voice at Dublin City University and at Sylvia O'Brien Voice Studio.
'Implications of Collaboration: The Recreative Artist and Autoethnographic Research in Seóirse Bodley's Never to Have Lived is Best (1965)' (DMusPerf Dissertation, Royal Irish Academy of Music, 2021)
'Text and Melody in Seóirse Bodley's The Hiding Places of Love', paper presented at Society for Musicology Ireland Plenary Conference, Maynooth University, 30 June 2019
'The Relevance of Collaboration: Elevating the Creative and Recreative Artist', The Royal Irish Academy of Music, 28 May 2018
'Seóirse Bodley: The Architect of Melody', The Royal Irish Academy of Music, 12 March 2018
'Melodic Form in Seóirse Bodley's Vocal Works', Colloquial Series, Bewerung Room, Logic House, Maynooth University, 23 February 2018
Masterclass of Artist in Residence TCD: 'A Contemporary Voice: An Exploration of Vocal Writing of the 20th and 21st Centuries', Boydell Room, Trinity College Dublin, 31 January 2018
'Melody, text and compositional styles in Brian Boydell’s vocal works with solo voice', paper presented at Brian Boydell Centenary Conference, Society for Musicology in Ireland, at the Royal Irish Academy of Music & Trinity College Dublin, 23 June 2017
‘The Bodleian Melody: An Investigation of Melodic Structure in Vocal Works by Seóirse Bodley’ , paper presented at Doctors in Performance, Second Festival Conference of Music Performance and Artistic Research, Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin, 8-9 September 2016