Irish National Opera
in association with Galway International Arts Festival

Least like the Other, Searching for Rosemary Kennedy

created by Brian Irvine and Netia Jones
music by Brian Irvine
directed by Netia Jones
Irish National Opera Orchestra
conducted by Fergus Sheil

cast Naomi Louisa O’Connell, Stephanie Dufresne and Ronan Leahy

'Anyone could be left breathless by this.' ★★★★★ The Irish Times

'Vibrant, relevant and compelling.' ★★★★★ The Irish Times

This explosive and thought–provoking work reveals a tragic story at the heart of America’s first family.

Based on the life of Rosemary Kennedy (1918 - 2005), sister of JFK, it traces events in the life of the eldest daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy.

Born with some intellectual disabilities, at the age of 23 Rosemary Kennedy was subjected to a disastrous lobotomy that left her permanently incapacitated.Using heavily redacted materials from the archives, and only recently pieced together by biographers and academics, this new opera explores expectations of gender and the extraordinary demands placed on members of America's most famous family.

Adopting a multi-media approach to explore the sad story of Rosemary’s life it delivers a sense of the time and a portrait of 1940s and 1950s America.

Brian Irvine
’s music output straddles the worlds of jazz and classical music with the styles of this new opera ranging from mashed-up Charleston to high-octane avant-garde.

Director and designer Netia Jones is celebrated for her multimedia work, marrying live video with more traditional production elements.

INO’s artistic director Fergus Sheil conducts the 14-piece Irish National Opera Orchestra. Commenting on the opera he said:
When I first heard the story of Rosemary Kennedy I was overwhelmed by the tragic circumstances of her life. With composer Brian Irvine I resolved to take a deep look at the world in which she lived."

Least Like the Other, Searching for Rosemary Kennedy is set to be an exhilarating evening of music theatre at this year’s Festival.


Mezzo-soprano | Naomi Louisa O'Connell
Actor | Stephanie Dufresne
Actor | Ronan Leahy


Composer | Brian Irvine
Conductor | Fergus Sheil
Director / Designer / Video Designer | Netia Jones
Sound Designer | David Sheppard
Irish National Opera Orchestra

16 July

Post–show talk with the company Moderator, Aidan Thomson,
NUI Galway

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • This production contains material which may be unsuitable for young children.