The programme has been announced for the inaugural season of performances from the newly founded Irish National Opera, with productions of seven different operas on the schedule for 2018.

Highlights of the programme include contemporary composer Thomas Adès’s darkly comic, sexually-charged chamber opera, Powder Her Face, which kicks off the season on Saturday 24 February 24th, alongside Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Verdi’s Aida and another acclaimed contemporary work, Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh’s The Second Violinist

Performances highlighting Irish operatic talent will be seen in Wexford, Kilkenny, Navan, Sligo, Dublin, Tralee, Galway, Dún Laoghaire, Limerick, Cork and London.

Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann features in the INO's inaugural season.

"We’re taking a new approach to opera provision in Ireland," Fergus Sheil, artistic director of Irish National Opera, said at the programme launch in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre.

"Irish National Opera wants to give pride of place to Irish singers and celebrate their work at home in Ireland the way it is celebrated in leading opera houses around the world. We want to bring our creative talent to venues large and small, to communities around the country, and create thrilling experiences that will attract new audiences to our uniquely multi-faceted artform."

Irish National Opera officially opens its debut 2018 season tonight at Dublin’s National Concert Hall, with The Big Bang! - a gala concert performances from leading Irish singers including Orla Boylan, Claudia Boyle and Sharon Carty, accompanied by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Listen - Fergus Shiel talks Irish National Opera on RTÉ News At One:

Irish National Opera's 2018 Season:

Thomas Adès’s Powder Her Face
Irish National Opera will open its first season on Saturday 24 February 24th 2018 with leading contemporary composer Thomas Adès’s darkly comic, sexually-charged chamber opera, Powder Her Face. This pioneering work will be seen in a co- production with NI Opera.

Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro
The company’s first full-scale production will be Mozart’s comic masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Patrick Mason. The title role is sung by the New Zealand-born Samoan baritone Jonathan Lemalu with mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught as Susanna, the object of his desire. Erraught returns to Ireland fresh from her acclaimed 2017 debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera. The Marriage of Figaro will be seen at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, and the National Opera House, Wexford, from Friday 13 April.

Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice
Irish National Opera presents Gluck’s telling of the myth of the great musician Orfeo rescuing his wife Euridice from the Underworld in association with Galway International Arts Festival from Monday 23 July, in co-production with United Fall. Mezzo soprano Sharon Carty stars in a production directed by leading dance theatre director Emma Martin.

Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh’s The Second Violinist
Irish National Opera will takes its award-winning production of Donnacha Dennehy’s The Second Violinist — a co-production with Landmark Productions, written and directed by Enda Walsh — to London’s Barbican Centre for three nights from Thursday 6 September.

Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann
The company’s new chamber version of Offenbach’s opéra fantastique The Tales of Hoffmann — an operatic take on the weird and wonderful Gothic world of German writer ETA Hoffmann — will tour to ten venues across the country from Friday 14 September. Soprano Claudia Boyle will be returning home to Ireland for the production fresh from the Salzburg Festival, where she is singing in Hans Werner Henze’s The Bassarids. Tom Creed directs.

Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle
Irish National Opera opens its partnership with the Dublin Theatre Festival on Friday 12 October, in a presentation of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s operatic masterpiece, directed by Enda Walsh who will, for the first time, direct an opera from the existing repertoire.

Verdi’s Aida
INO's last offering of 2018 opens on Saturday 24 November in Dublin’s largest theatre, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, with Dublin soprano Orla Boylan star Verdi’s most spectacular opera, Aida, in a production directed by Michael Barker-Caven.

Find out more about Irish National Opera's inaugural season here.