St. Jarlath’s College has produced a yearly musical known as the Opera for the locals of Tuam since 1944, making it one of the longest continually running amateur shows in Ireland. From 1969 onwards, the shows were performed in association with Mercy Convent Tuam, and in 2009 the show (Hot Mikado) was produced in association with St Patrick’s College Tuam in the run up to the amalgamation. This proud tradition is one of the primary sources for the expression of musical and acting talent in the college, and has produced some exceptional talent throughout its long history. The Opera represents a fantastic experience for the students to grow in their artistic talents and appreciate what it takes to put on a fully formed show, as well as being a massive character building exercise; it brings confidence, a keen work ethic and a sense of a job well done to all students involved. The Opera has been very successful in recent years in the Connaught Tribune organised musical awards, winning a Best Overall and a Best Chorus award in 2008 for Hot Mikado.

The current Musical Director is Shane Farrell. He has 2 Operas as musical director under his belt, including one where incredibly he was still a Leaving Cert himself. He has acted as musical director to many different musical productions around Galway County over the last two years, stepping in for his late mentor, the largely irreplaceable Noel Kirrane, who passed away last year.

In recent years, the Opera has been directed by past pupil Ronan Lardner. Respected actor in his own right, he played lead roles during his own time in Jarlath’s, including the role of Judas in the millennium show of Jesus Christ Superstar, which involved a mix of pupils past and present. Since then he’s made his name in other shows around the province (both acting and directing) and brings a wealth of show experience to the position.

Click here for photos of the 2013 Opera, Me and My Girl.

Past Opera Programmes

1944 The Mikado

1945 H.M.S. Pinafore

1946 The Gondoliers

1947 The Quaker Girl

1948 The Country Girl

1949 The Pirates of Penzance

1950 The Maid of the Mountains

1951 The Arcadians

1952 The Geisha Girl

1953 Lilac Time

1954 The Vagabond King

1955 Iolanthe

1956 Patience

1957 The Student Prince

1958 The New Moon

1959 The Yeomen of the Guard

1960 The White Horse Inn

1961 The Arcadians

1962 The Country Girl

1963 H.M.S. Pinafore

1964 Brigadoon

1965 The Pirates of Penzance

1966 Iolanthe

1967 The Gondoliers

1968 The White Horse Inn

1969 The Quaker Girl

1970 Oliver!

1971 Guys and Dolls

1972 Annie Get Your Gun

1973 Oklahoma

1974 H.M.S. Pinafore

1975 My Fair Lady

1976 Oliver!

1977 Kiss Me Kate

1978 South Pacific

1979 Fiddler on the Roof

1980 The Pirates of Penzance

1981 The Gondoliers

1982 The Arcadians

1983 Iolanthe

1984 The Quaker Girl

1985 Oklahoma!

1986 Fiddler on the Roof

1987 H.M.S. Pinafore

1988 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

1989 Oliver!

1990 Brigadoon

1991 The Pirates of Penzance

1992 Carousel

1993 The Mikado

1994 Chess (World schools’ premiere)

1995 Finian’s Rainbow

1996 My Fair Lady

1997 God Bless Archie Dean

1998 Guys and Dolls

1999 Jesus Christ Superstar

2000 Oliver!

2001 Godspell

2002 Les Misérables

2003 Joseph

2004 Grease

2005 Little Shop of Horrors

2006 Half a Sixpence

2007 Big River

2008 Hot Mikado

2009 West Side Story