An Inishowen woman is getting ready to shine on the Millennium Forum’s stage in Derry after securing the starring role in their latest production Hansel and Gretel.
Niamh Kelly from Moville received the leading part of Hansel when she auditioned for the Opera last year with NI Opera for their production in the Grand Opera House in Belfast in November.
Since their success in Belfast, NI Opera decided to bring Hansel and Gretel for one night only in Derry’s Millennium Forum next Thursday 12th January.
A resident of London nowadays, Niamh is looking forward to getting back and performing near her hometown of Moville, even if it does bring added nerves of acting in front of her family and friends.
“It’s great that we’re bringing Hansel and Gretel to Derry and it is unusual I get to bring my work to a theatre so close to home, but there is definitely added nerves when I’m performing in front of my family and friends. I work all over the UK but many of my closest family haven’t seen me in an Opera yet so I’ll definitely want to give 110% and make it my best performance yet.”
After training professionally in RNCM in Manchester in 2003, Niamh has been travelling throughout the UK and Ireland, but admits she still gets troubled by nerves before she steps out on stage.
“I always get nervous before an opera, but it’s all about channelling your nerves. Playing a 10-year-old boy, Hansel, in this is good for that because he is so hyperactive and physical. Although it was challenging playing such a young boy, because his movements are so different to that of an adult. It was my first time playing a boy so young, but it was a lot of fun, even if vanity goes out the window.”
No stranger to performing, Niamh previously travelled the world with the Lord of the Dance.
“When I was with the Lord of the Dance it was great travelling the world and I lived in Las Vegas for a year and a half, but it was a completely different type of singing to opera. It was only when I finished the tour I decided to train professionally in opera, it is much more skilled and something you continue training in all your life.”
However at the minute the Moville woman’s focus is firmly on her role as Hansel next Thursday.
“I really hope people come out and watch us. I think there a perception with opera that people wouldn’t like it, but if you give it a try I think you could be pleasantly surprised. Hansel and Gretel is a lot of fun and me and my co-star Gretel, played by Aoife O’Sullivan, get on really well and bring out the best in each other.”
The show starts at 7.30pm on Thursday night and doors open at 7pm. For tickets contact the Box Office on +44(0)28 7126 4455.