is a conductor, director and composer who lives in Cork.
He has worked on over fifty different productions of opera and musical theatre in Ireland, UK and Canada, and has toured across Europe, Japan and China.
John is acclaimed for directing & conducting Faust, Der Vampyr, (both nominated for Best Opera - Irish Times Theatre Awards) Orpheus, and Pagliacci (winner Best Opera - ITTA) at the Everyman Theatre.
Compositions include the celebrated opera, The Nightingale and the Rose, which he also directed, and which premiered with an Irish tour in 2018; Easter 1916 - premiered by Fiona Shaw and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra; scores for the feature films Tree Keeper and Shem the Penman Sings Again (premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh); music for the plays Levin & Levin, Sisters of the Rising and Lovers at the Everyman; as well as other short films, choral works, piano pieces and numerous operatic, choral and orchestral arrangements.
Other projects include conducting the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra; directing the dance film Inner Landscapes; conducting a recording with the National Chamber Choir of Ireland; playing piano with Karen Underwood; and guest conductor with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.
Deirdre and the Sons of Usna: From the team that created 'The Nightingale and the Rose' in 2018, The Everyman and John O’Brien are proud to present 'Deirdre and the Sons of Usna' – An Opera Concert Performance at The Everyman on Tuesday 28 January. The opera is a love story and a tragic tale of a beautiful woman cursed even before she was born, her brave lover Naoise and of their youthful rebellion in the face of corrupted power and treachery. With epic music, and soaring voices, the opera features Kim Sheehan as Deirdre; Majella Cullagh as Leabharcham, her foster mother; Ronald Samm as Conor Mac Nessa, the High King of Ulster; Julian Tovey as Cathad, Conor’s Druid; Joe Corbett as Fergus, Conor's Right Hand; and Simon Morgan, Viktor Priebe and Rory Dunne as the three sons of Usna (Naoise, Ainnle and Árdán). With special guests Liv Gregorio as Little Girl; and a Chorus of Warriors. Music: John O'Brien, Libretto: Éadaoin O'Donoghue, Piano: Ciara Moroney, Percussion: Alex Petcu.
Sea Opera Trilogy Tour: Produced by The Everyman and John O'Brien. 3 one act operas: Riders to the Sea by Vaughan Williams, directed by John; the premiere of The Lament for Art O'Leary by Irene Buckley, directed by Sophie Motley and conducted by John; and the premiere of Coiscéim (after the poem by Colmcille) by John, directed by Philip Connaughton. Starring Majella Cullagh, Kim Sheehan, Emma Nash and Rory Dunne, with chorus and orchestra. Touring from 30 April to 12 May to Town Hall Galway, Civic Tallaght, Wexford Opera House, as well as the Everyman, Cork.
Opera Concert Series continues at the Cork Opera House: John conducts Pagliacci on 16 February , HMS Pinafore on 31 May and Il trovatore on 1 November with the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra.
Right Here, Right Now at the Cork Opera House: Conducting concert 1 with Mick Flannery and Valerie June on 22 February, and concert 2 with Donal Lunny, Máirtín Ó Connor, Nell Ní Chróinín and Strung on 23 February, both with the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra.
Cork Proms at the Cork Opera House: Conducting Beethoven Symphony 3 (Eroica) and Symphony 5 on 15 June with the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! at the Cork Opera House: Musical Director for the Opera House's summer show from 25 July - 6 September. Directed by Davie Kelleher