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Houston Collisson, William

The Irish Girl ()

Duration: 135 minutes
A Comedy Opera in three acts

Text by Percy French and Brendan Stewart (E)

2S,3M,A,T,4Bar,BBar,6speaking roles; chorus pipes-harp-strings
Abbreviations (PDF)

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


JACK FREENY, a HighwaymanBaritone
CAPTAIN ANSTRUTHER of the Royal HighlandersTenor
SIR HENRY LEFANU, an impecunious gentlemanBaritone
SERGEANT SMITH of the Royal HighlandersBass Baritone
CORPORAL MCKIMMON of the Royal HighlandersBaritone
RODDY FLYNN, an Irish peasant boyBaritone
TIMOTHY FEGAN, landlord of the O'Hara ArmsSpeaking Role
MARY FEGAN, his daughterMezzo Soprano
MISS LETITIA O'DOWD, an elderly lady, aunt to KathleenContralto
KATHLEEN O'HARA, an heiressSoprano
MOLLY O'HARA, sister to KathleenSoprano
DOLLY O'HARA, sister to KathleenMezzo Soprano
MAD PEG, in love with FreenyMezzo Soprano
SIR GEORGE DESMOND, Master of the HuntSpeaking role
HARRY DESMOND, his sonSpeaking role
WHELAHAN, a peasantSpeaking role
CASSIDY, a peasantSpeaking role
DEMPSEY, a peasantSpeaking role

Time and Place
Ireland, in the aftermath of the rebellion of 1798.

A regiment of Scottish Highlanders has arrived in the vicinity of the village of Boneenbeg in pursuit of the highwayman Jack Freeny, who goes about disguised and in the company of Mad Peg, who is in love with him. With the support of the locals he manages to evade capture until Captain Anstruther and his men come upon him gallantly dancing with Kathleen O'Hara, having just held up the coach in which she and her companions were travelling to the Tenants' Ball at Castle Desmond. His pardon – previously arranged by Kathleen, because Freeny had earlier saved her life – meanwhile languishes in the coat pockets of Sir Henry Lefanu, who is determined to marry her himself and is jealous of her interest in the dashing gentleman of the road. Eventually the papers come to light at the Ball itself, enabling Freeny and Peg to seek a new life together overseas, while Kathleen – to Sir Henry's discomfiture – gives her hand to Anstruther.



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