A chamber opera for the Guildhall Operamakers MA

 Words Sophie Rashbrook

Music Maeve McCarthy

Video link available upon request

 2019 (Photos by Monika Jast (FG Studios))

Premiere performance: 3 July 2019, Milton Court Studio Theatre, Barbican, London


Original Cast

Grace Gifford – Soprano

Harriet Burns


Joseph Plunkett – High baritone

Matthew Palmer


Priest – Counter-tenor

Collin Shay


Soldier – Tenor

Robert Lewis


Witness/Prison Guard – Bass baritone

William Thomas


Chamber Ensemble

Flute d. picc and alto

Oboe d. cor anglais

Clarinet Bb d. bass clarinet

Percussion (bodhran, orchestral bass drum, vibraphones, 2 x tom-toms (low), 5 x tin cans ranging in size, snare drum)


Classical Guitar





Double bass


Historical Basis

The opera is inspired by a true story: the 1916 wedding of Grace Gifford and the poet and rebel fighter, Joseph Plunkett, which took place in Kilmainham Jail in the aftermath of the Dublin Easter Risings. Shortly after the wedding, Joseph was shot by a firing squad in the early hours of 4 May, but it is unclear whether the gunmen were British or Irish.

Notes on the Characters

Grace, Joseph and the Prison Guard (who is Irish) are all supporters of the Irish Cause.

The Soldier is British and is against the Irish Cause.

The Priest is Irish, and sympathises with the Irish Cause, however, owing to the Church’s condemnation of the Uprising, he is unable to take a side. He believes the punishment of the rebels by the British is excessive. The character is based on Father Eugene McCarthy, who blessed all the executed rebels, of which there were already three by the night of the wedding.