Opera Scotland

Joseph O'Mara Suggest updates

Born Limerick, 16 July 1864.

Died Dublin, 5 August 1927.

Irish tenor.

Joseph O'Mara was one of the dominant figures in British opera throughout a long career as a dramatic tenor and manager. He studied in Milan with Moretti, and on his return in 1891 made his debut in the title role of Sullivan's Ivanhoe at the Royal English Opera in London. During the management of Augustus Harris he sang at both Covent Garden and Drury Lane.

His speciality lay in performing the heavier tenor roles including Wagner, Verdi and Puccini, though he also sang French repertoire such as Don José, Faust and Eléazar. He was leading tenor with the Moody-Manners and Beecham companies before setting up his own organisation, which toured in England from 1912.  The company performed in Scotland from 1915 until O'Mara's retirement in 1926.  Thereafter the company continued to tour, and if their appearances in Scotland are a measure, they began to visit smaller towns. 

He created the title role in Shamus O'Brien (Stanford 1896).

According to his obituary in The Stage (11 Aug 1927) he appeared in 57 operas.  He died less than eighteen months after retiring to his home in Dublin, having been in failing health for some time.

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