Jerome Hynes, 45; Oversaw Major Irish Opera Festival

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jerome Hynes, 45, the administrator who oversaw Ireland’s major opera festival and was deputy of the national Arts Council, has died. He was 45.

Hynes died Sunday night of an apparent heart attack while speaking to staff members at Wexford’s Theatre Royal, home of the opera festival that he spent much of the last 17 years expanding. This year’s events are scheduled to run from Oct. 20 to Nov. 6.

Hundreds of mourners, including many noted local actors, playwrights and politicians, attended Hynes’ funeral Mass on Wednesday in the southeastern town of Wexford, home of the Wexford Festival Opera.

Born in the western Ireland city of Galway, Hynes got his start in the arts world as a university student in the city’s then-fledgling Druid Theatre Co., becoming its administrator in 1981.


He joined the Wexford Festival Opera in 1987 and became involved in numerous arts committees and projects across Ireland, culminating in his appointment in 2003 by the government to be vice chairman of the Arts Council, which decides how to allocate state funds.

Shortly before his death, Hynes had been in London, helping promote a new opera by Gerald Barry at the English National Opera.