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Northern Ireland opera is not to be sniffed at

We were surprised to read Langdon Pike's hostile critique of the state of opera in Northern Ireland (Write Back, February 20) and sorry that he has not taken the time to investigate the scene more closely.

Tours from visiting companies have been - and continue to be - an important part of opera provision here (both Opera North and Scottish Opera will be visiting Northern Ireland later this year).

Moreover, since the Arts Council of Northern Ireland decided to fund a brand new opera company for the region in 2010, NI Opera has been leading the field with critically acclaimed productions of operas by Offenbach, Menotti, and Puccini.

We are also about to tour our new production of Britten's The Turn of the Screw throughout Northern Ireland in a production featuring the cream of Irish talent. As a local company dedicated to promoting local talent - and the highest possible production standards - we would argue that NI Opera is one reason at least to be proud of the cultural offerings in Northern Ireland.

OLIVER MEARS

Artistic director, NI Opera

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