BMS members may be interested to know of a forthcoming project to record Sir Charles Villiers Stanford’s most famous and popular opera, Shamus O’Brien.

It is planned for January and February 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland, with the orchestra of Scottish Opera, conducted by David Parry, with an all-Irish cast (except for the Captain, who is English, and is trying to capture Shamus…).

The opera is a comedy, but is set against the 1798 Rebellion, and has strong elements of drama and pathos. In fact, it was so successful that, paradoxically, Stanford withdrew it, fearing that it would foment anti-English sentiment, but it was brought back into the repertoire after his death in 1924.

This is a landmark recording, from Retrospect Opera, which records important British operas and musico-dramatic works that have fallen off the radar. The music is lively and extremely accessible; the ample dialogue drives the action forward, and there’s an interesting scene requiring Uilleann pipes – I found a Glasgow-based piper, fortunately. 🙂

Please help us fund it. Although much of our funding comes from grants, we really like to involve as many people as possible, to help spread the word. A minimum donation of £25 gets you the CD on release – which we intend will be out in time for the centenary in 2024 – and £75 gets your name in the CD booklet. Higher donations bring more perks of course. Our releases always include at least two contextual essays, as well as the full libretto. 

As postage is so costly, a little extra added on, to go towards postage costs, would be very much appreciated.

You can find more about the project, and also donate, at Please note that the website is still under (re)development.

Dr Valerie Langfield