The First Child

The First Child

Past Performances

Siamsa Tíre
Tralee, Co. Kerry

25 September 2022

Lime Tree Theatre

22 September 2022

Cork Opera House

17 September 2022

Solstice Arts Centre
Navan, Co.Meath

14 September 2022

Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway
Galway International Arts Festival

18–24 July 2022

On Demand (Online)
20–24 October 2021

O'Reilly Theatre
Dublin Theatre Festival

2–9 October 2021

World Premiere

O'Reilly Theatre as part of Dublin Theatre Festival | 2 October, 2021

The First Child

an opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda WalshLandmark Productions in association with Irish National Opera

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ a remarkable conclusion to the Dennehy-Walsh partnership’
The Irish Times

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ‘High-octane triumph … powerful and compelling’
The Sunday Times

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ‘Simply magnificent … keeps you hooked’
The Arts Review

The First Child is an opera like no other – an experience that takes opera to new realms, where a cast of sensational singers is joined by an actor, a dancer and children in a multi-media extravaganza that electrifies all the senses.

Over the course of 90 minutes, this powerful and compelling story will take you on a rollercoaster ride.

The action takes place in the present-day. Karen, a single woman, comes into contact with a young couple and their new baby via repeated ‘chance’ meetings. As the drama progresses we come to understand their shared past and how their lives interconnect.

This high-octane blend of artforms featuring music, dance and video is on tour in Ireland in September.

The music, performed live by Crash Ensemble, a group of world-class musicians – described by the New York Times as ‘the Irish new-music band that plays with the energy and spirit of a rock group’ – is by turns intimate, explosive and thrilling.

The First Child follows Dennehy and Walsh’s multi-award-winning operas The Last Hotel and The Second Violinist. You don’t need to have seen either of the first two operas to be blown away by The First Child.

Running Time | 90 minutes approx (no interval)
Age Suitability | 16+
*Sung in English with English surtitles.

Funded by an Opera Projects and Production Award from the Arts Council. A co-production with Irish National Opera. Original production in association with Dublin Theatre Festival.


Karen Sarah ShineAlva Niamh O’SullivanGary Dean PowerSimon Emmett O’HanlonNurse Eric JurenasOlder Woman Joan SheehyDancer Caia Leseure


Composer Donnacha DennehyWriter and Director Enda WalshConductor Ryan McAdamsChoreographer Emma Martin
Set Designer Jamie VartanLighting Designer Adam SilvermanVideo Designer Jack PhelanCostume Designer Joan O’ClerySound Designer David SheppardAssistant Conductor Elaine KellyAssociate Director Eoghan CarrickAssociate Costume Designer Sinéad LawlorAssociate Sound Designer Sinéad DiskinRépétiteur Richard McGrathStudio Conductor Molly de BúrcaCrash Ensemble Children's Chorus


Photographer: Ste Murray


★★★★★ 'a remarkable conclusion to the Dennehy-Walsh partnership'The Irish Times
★★★★★ 'High-octane triumph … powerful and compelling ... ingenious’The Sunday Times
★★★★★ '‘Simply magnificent ... keeps you hooked'The Arts Review
'a feast for the eyes'Irish Independent
★★★★ 'dark, strange and hugely enjoyable.'Irish Examiner