Abomination: A DUP Opera review – an outstanding new work

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11/16/2019

Driving over the hills into north Belfast, as fields give way to houses, the visitor is plunged into election fever. Images of Nigel Dodds, the Democratic Unionist party MP for this hotly contested ward, smile from lampposts like a human flag parade all the way into the city. A few hours later, this same face stares out again, projected on to a backstage screen in the beautiful Lyric theatre. Arlene Foster and other unionist MPs, pixelated, smudgy but unmistakable, are there too. The event is not a political rally, but the world premiere of Abomination: A DUP Opera, an outstanding new work by the Northern Irish composer Conor Mitchell, director of the Belfast Ensemble, who performed it. With the forthcoming general election and the recent passing of same-sex marriage legislation in Northern Ireland, the opera’s timing proved even more pertinent than predicted, no longer merely edgy but, as many heralded it, “incendiary”.

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