Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Whirl on a Waterford Carousel


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It was marvellous to see the Theatre Royal full with an midweek audience of young and old for the inaugural production of a brand  new musical society, The Waterford Musical Society presented Carousel, a musical penned by Rogers and Hammerstein after the success of Oklahoma. A mix of emotions pervaded the atmosphere in the Viking Triangle at the eagerly anticipated debut.  Excitement, pride, nostalgia and glee and regret too made for  a bittersweet cocktail that in some ways chimed with the dark musical itself.
Carousel has a fairly  grim clunky  plot that  doesn't sit easily into the musical genre. That said, it has great gags and terrific show stopping members including the iconic Liverpool anthem. An extra round of  virtual buala bos here for these five elements I particularly loved about the production.


1 A live band in the pit!  Oh the luxury of real and not synthetic brass, reed and strings emanating from the pit under director, Wayne Browne. I've noted with apprehension, the drift towards using backing tracks for musical productions. I would prefer to listen to the rehearsal pianist live than the a sophisticated backing. I've heard perfectly acceptable solutions with two pianos. I won't fork out for a show if I know backing tracks are providing the accompaniment.

2 The Costumes. Cast and chorus look splendid in vintage costumes. In particular, we loved  the tableau of colourful circus performers in the first scene.

3The Carousel. Having a horse in a show is usually  a good thing.  Lots of pretty horses on the carousel. The on stage assembly of the carousel was super slick.  We were just sorry it didn't feature again in a later scene.

4 Super performances all round.  With an elegant stage presence and a clear strong voice, star of the show was Lupita de Bháil as Nettie Fowler, an aunt Ella type role.  At school in Presentation, I remember Lupita Sheehan creating sets for the school shows but I was unaware of her stage talents until last night. Indeed I was delighted to see at least one Pres girl of my era on stage. Lovely to see a mix of generations involved in the production

5 Best Cameo.  Des Manahan has given so much pleasure to audiences in his many comic roles for societies throughout Ireland. Dressed in silver to match his hair, Des added his own unique blend of gravitas and humour  in the cameo role of Starman.

Venue Notes: The audience in the balcony were a bit fidgety. There was a lot  of unnecessary movement that was irritating and did spoil some quieter moments such as Billy's soliliquay.  If someone does exit for whatever reason, they should not be readmitted until an interval or at least they should  only be admitted between songs and  encouraged to sit on  spare seats on the periphery rather than making their way back to middle of a row .  In this theatre, this requires other patrons to stand interrupting the proceedings for everyone in the vicinity. I was distracted when a staff member made his way through the balcony to deliver popcorn  during a song. .

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rare sighting of Four Fagotti: Limerick Verdi Requiem



I am just back from playing for a wonderful Verdi Requiem in Limerick, closing a 49 year interval since the work was last performed there.  An impressive operation combined the forces of a terrific 100 strong  choir, four excellent soloists and a fifty strong orchestra under the  baton of Malcolm Green. It was a marvelous endeavour and wonderful to be part of it! Among the audience at the full house was Kieran O Gorman, director of the LCU from 1966-72 and who I believe was at the helm when the work was last performed by the ensemble.


I was amazed to see lined up behind my desk, like some rare alignment of planets, four of that rare and slender reed-the bassoon, adding a double strength  darkness to the rich orchestral palette. There is nothing like bassoons to strike a mood of  'wrath, calamity and misery'. I am sending a special round of virtual applause to the fine quartet, Michael Dooley, Keith Sutherland, Arthur Fallon and Michael Sexton.   If that wasn't excitement enough, a triumph of no less than eight trumpets led by the formidable Sharon Brookes  blew the cobwebs out of the UCH rafters with a 'marvelous scattering of sound'
Bassoons warm up at LCU rehearsal






On bassoon matters, I note that one  of tonight''s quartet, Michael Dooley will feature as soloist in a Mozart Concert at the UL Summer Proms on May 9th continuing a trend of showcasing less frequently heard instruments from this ensemble conducted by Liam Daly.

http://www.limerickpost.ie/2015/04/06/five-decades-to-verdis-requiem/
Bassoon: The dark side of the wind: Michael Dooley 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Convincing Crusaders: Sidorova and Avital at Waterford City Hall

Displaying 20150423_221024.jpgThere is something so ephemeral about the notes emanating  from the instruments heard at City Hall, Waterford  last night. The diminutive  mandolin,  produces the most fragile of string timbres demanding quite furious finger plec action to keep the sound waves aloft. We don't think of the accordion as being delicate but from the first squeeze on the bellows, the sound is on a countdown to extinction. The collision of these two vaguely deliquescent musical forces is a rare enough occurrence.  The combination  mixed with  double measures of the platform charisma of Avi Avital and Ksenija Sidorova proved an explosive cocktail.

Much of the first half  presented a fresh take on familiar violin repertoire. Most of it worked brilliantly. Bartok's Romanian Dances sounded as though they might have been  original conceived for such a duo.The familiar gems of De Falla's Spanish Dances shimmered and  Kreisler's Prelude and Allegro lost some of it's pomposity- no bad thing at all. Only in a Bach Partita transcribed for solo mandolin, was I conscious of the limitations  of pizzicato strings to produce the sostenuto needed to fully express the depth of Bach's Chaconne

Ian Wilson 
Composer, Ian Wilson was in The Large Room to introduce his piece Spilliaerts Beach,   a neo- impressionistic musical response to the painting Moonlit Beach by the Belgian painter. Wilson has two pieces premiering next week, at Drogheda and Cork Choral Festival.
Schnittke sounded a bit daunting
Not a bit.
Soloists with Latvian guests
Revis Fairytale was a smashing showcase for solo accordion evoking the humour and pathos of Gogol's stories, delivered with great charm and flair by Sidirova. Then it was off to a more grown up milieu  of Buenos Aires nightlife for a slice of   Piazzola's, Tango Nuove The final concerto by 20th century composer Budashkin gave both a chance to show off their impressive virtuosity and drew the audience to their feet.  Following sustained applause there was  a Czardas lollipop before the charismatic duo  were released from the podium  to meet audience members.
 Photo Plaza Waterford Peter Crann 
With their great flair, skill and charm,  Sidirova and Avital are bright sparks on the classical music scene and  convincing crusaders for these somewhat exotic instruments.  A wonderful,  entertaining  finale to the 73rd Waterford-Music season.

Related Posts Preview Cathy's Reviews http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2015/04/accordion-and-mandolin-globe-trotters.html

 several radio interviews  Marty /Arena




Béla Bartók (1881- 1945)
Romanian Folk Dances
Jocul cu Bâtă | Brâul | Pe Loc | Buciumeana | Poarga Românească | Mărunţel


Manuel de Falla (1876–1946)
From “Siete Canzoni Popolari Spagnole”
6 Canzoni Popolari Spagnole
El Paño Moruno | Asturiana | Jota | Nana | Canción | Polo


J. S. Bach (1685 - 1750)
Partita BWV 1004 in D minor / Chaconne
Fritz Kreisler (1875 - 1962)
Prelude and Allegro
Ian Wilson
Spilliaert's Beach

Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
Revis Fairytale
1. Chichikov’s Childhood 2. Officials 3. Waltz 4. Polka

Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)
Histoire du Tango
Café 1930 | Night-club 1960

Nikolai Budashkin (1910-1988)

Concerto in A mino

Finale 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Globe trotting Accordion and Mandolin duo stop off in Waterford

Siderova and Avital taking less travelled instrumental paths


 I was chatting to Miks Zarins, this week, the maitre d' at the Theatre Royal Café who hails from Latvia (Do pop in and sample the amazing beetroot and goats cheese quiche. ) . He tells me that you cannot get a ticket for love nor money when Ksenija Sidorova plays in Riga. Ms Sidorova plays the piano accordion. She comes to Waterford  on Thursday with mandolin player Avi Avital as part of a Music Network tour.  Even   non musicians will be aware that the accordion has not always enjoyed much of the limelight in the classical music world or indeed the traditional music world. In a recent documentary on the piper, Tomás O Canainn, I was surprised to learn that the esteemed academic had played the piano accordion until persuaded to take up the 'more suitable' uilleann pipes by Sean O Riada.

Oen Murray


One of my favourite classical performers is accordionist Dermot Dunne who came to prominence as an RTE Musician of the Future in 1996 and who has since done much to advance the status of the accordion in Ireland. Dunne went all the way to Russia to study and I assumed that Ms Sidorova also came through a Russian system. I was surprised to learn that she came to the Royal Academy in London. where she studied with Owen Murray who set up the first accordion dept in a Bristish conservatoire in 1986 .

Dermot Dunne


Though still in her twenties, Sidorova has been been blazing a trail with her accordion around the world and collaborating with the biggest stars in the classical music firmament. I enjoyed this interview with Ms Sidorova where she has interesting observations on the buttons versus key question.











http://www.strumentiemusica.comT/en/highlights/ksenija-sidorova-in-conversation-with-romano-viazzani-1st-part/


She comes to Ireland with another musician who has explored the possibilities of an unusual instrument. Avi Avital is a Grammy award winnning mandolin player who. is intent on pushing the instrument beyond it's genteel salon repertoire. Last month, for instance he was in the Wigmore Hall with counter tenor Andreas Scholl. You can read an interview with him from the Austin Chronicle here   Here is a snippet 

AC: Why do you love playing the mandolin?

'AA: I definitely find an advantage of playing a unique instrument because I always had a creative freedom with the projects I choose to do. Young pianists and violinists take the great violinists and pianists into consideration and probably choose the same repertoire for the same recital halls and competitions. For mandolin, we don't have too many masterpieces, so the excitement of my path is invented. Every project opens another door. I feel that everything is possible'.
Curiously Avital's first teacher in Israel was a Russian violinist. There was no job for a violin teacher  but there was a pile of unused mandolins and as the fingering and strings are the same, it was a manageable leap, Much of the programme is transcriptions of well known violin reperoire. I am looking forward to hear a new take on familiar pieces. 
Composer, Ian Wilson will attend the Waterford concert and introduce his piece. They will give a workshop in the afternoon at 4.00pm  for WIT students and observers are welcome.

There  won't be too many opportunities to hear either of these two unusual instruments solo let alone in tandem and by such highly rated players . This is the final recital in the 73rd season of Waterford-Music chamber series. Come early and take in the masterclass and two excellent  exhibitions nearby, Connections is  at Greyfriars Gallery and Kate Q-P Black and white images of urban New York are at Central Hall.

Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances
de Falla: 6 Canzoni Popolari Spagnole
Bach: Partita BWV 1004 in D minor / Ciaccona
Kreisler: Prelude and Allegro
Wilson: Spilliaert's Beach
Schnittke: Revis Fairytale
Piazzolla: Histoire du Tango
Budashkin: Concerto in A minor

Full details of Music Network Tour Ksenija Sidorova and Avi Avital 

More details on Waterford Music recital series celebrating 73 seasons!www.waterford-music.org







Saturday, April 18, 2015

Superb Song Duo : Flavin & Matthewman at City Hall Waterford


Máire Flavinand Gary Matthewman in the Georgian Large Room City Hall Waterford.

Winning Song Team deliver Love in Spring at City Hall

Schumann Widnung; Die Lotusblume; Du bist wie eine Blume; Fruhlinghshnacht
Wolf Er ist’s; Im Fruhling; An eine Aolsharfe; Zitronenefalter
Strauss Allerseelen; O Susser Mai; Fruhlingsgedrange; Morgen
Chausson; Le temps de Lilas; Les Papillons; Le Callibri
Reynaldo Hahn Le Rossignol des Lilas; Ah Chloris; Printemps
WV Wallace: Sweet Spirit, o hear my prayer, Say my heart can this be love; Orange Flowers
Encore Gershwin  Summertime

There was a great sense of occasion in City Hall as Máire Flavin made her debut in Waterford, the birthplace of her parents. The recital, part of the Waterford-Music series was dedicated to Elizabeth Downey, founder member of the chamber music society celebrating 73 years of activity. Taking her cue from the April date, the soprano built a programme around lieder and chanson dedicated to Love and Spring with a soupçon of American Summer for an encore.

Opening with  Widnung, Schumann’s passionate dedication to his bride Clara, Flavin from the off displayed the vocal fire power and stage artistry that propelled her to the finalist rostrum at the 2011 Cardiff Singer of the World and on to international opera stages. A rich and full bodied voice with her pleasant stage manner and range of dramatic expression made for an intense and  enthralling performance.  From ‘light touch' Schumann she moved to 'angsty Wolf’. In An eine Aolsharfe, the superb pianism of Gary Matthewman in creating an almost orchestral palette of sound was astonishing. A ravishing postlude to Morgen, a wedding present by Richard Strauss to his wife  closed the first half in a mood blissful rapture.
Birds , butterflys and flowers proliferated in the second half chansons by Chausson and Hahn. The most familiar of which was Ah Chloris with resonance in Bach’s air. In a nice touch,  the lilac theme was picked up in the platform display of purple blooms.. Finally by request we heard a set of charming Victorian ballads by local  favourite WV Wallace which suited the drawing room ambience of the splendid chamber. Beautifully dressed in fuschia gown with lace detail and formal tails, the pair looked as though they could have stepped off the set of Downton Abbey where indeed, Matthewman has done some service. 
 This was a thrilling performance from an exciting singer, all the greater for the superb artistry of  Matthewman whose vivid  piano colours and breath-taking timing  created the enchantment around  Flavin's  magical vocal encounters. A night to treasure  from a winning song team! I don’t expect to hear a finer collaboration any time soon.

Among the distinguished guests were members of the Downey family and Jim and Moira Flavin.


Related Posts

Interview Maire Flavin http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2015/04/maire-flavin-to-make-waterford-debut.html

Remembering Elizabeth Downey  http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2015/04/remembering-elizabeth-downey.html




  


Friday, April 17, 2015

Joining the dots at Greyfriars

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The Waterford Municipal Collection has many very fine works. Connections is an exhibition that seeks to explore the links between works from various periods from 1860 to the present.  The exhibition opened officially tonight at Greyfriars Municipal Art Gallery.  I spoke to curator, Ruth Brennan at the launch. You can hear that interview here. 






There was a pleasant ambience in the former ecclesiastical space and plenty of interest in the 30 selected works. I liked the Card Players by Eileen Murray which has been moved from it's usual spot in the Theatre Royal for the exhibition.


The exhibition also includes some of the most prominent pieces from the Municipal Collection, including While Grass Grow (1936) by Jack B. Yeats, curator Ruth Brennan's favourite painting.


Ruth refers to Donald Teskey described in notes provided as a living contemporary 'Expressionist landscape painter'


Admission to Greyfriars Municipal Art Gallery is free. Opening hours: 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Saturday (including lunchtimes). Connections runs until Sunday, 10th May.





Les Retrouvés Danny Lartigue


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Irish Songmakers presents Cara O Sullivan at NCH

Per la gloria d'adoravi Bononcini 1625?-1750
Amarilli mia bella       Giulio Caccini 1546-1618
O del mio dolce ardor  Gluck               1714-1787
Hark the Echoing Air              Purcell  1659-1695
Music for a While 
Sweeter than Roses
I Know Where I'm Goin           Hughs 1882-1937
The Gartlan Mother's Lullaby
The Spanish Lady 
Displaying photo.JPGCuatro Madrigales Amatorios  Joaquin Rodrigo 1901-1999
Dream Valley    Roger Quilter  1877-1953
Weep No More Sad Fountains 
Love's Philosophy
Encores
Toselli's Serenade
Someone is sending me Flowers Shoestring Revue Harnick /Baker arr Roger Vignoles

It is 25 years since she won the RTE Musician of the Future, Cara O Sullivan reminded her audience at the John Field Room yesterday .  In her preamble, the soprano painted a picture of   a timid ingenue gently propelled onto the NCH stage by host Mike Murphy, unused to the big stage and orchestra. It was hard to imagine the Cork diva as anything other than a fearless performer who  imbued her song recital  at a packed John Field Room with the spirit of a  hooley in the kitchen.
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The diverse programme spanned centuries and took in a number of genres. Opening with an attractive clutch of Baroque arias, she showed off the gorgeous rich velvety tone that has earned her success. My favourite of the set was  Caccini's, Amarilli mia bella,  sensitively  delivered with a subtle range of dynamic.  Next a Purcell set, some of which was not quite tamed yet, work in progress as the diva remarked herself.  Pianist Niall Kinsella did full justice to Hugh's clever arrangements of familiar  Irish folksongs.

Rodrigo's attractive Spanish songs were unfamiliar to me and suited O Sullivan's warm rich timbre very well.   A cabaret number , Someone is sending me flowers from The Shoestring Revue showed off her flair for comic timing .

The event was presented by Irish Songmakers' an inititaive of Niall Kinsella, who acted as impressario and musician  for the occasion. It is good to see a young performer showing such entrepreneurial flair . There is a good demand for daytime, shorter events I believe. There were many singers in the audience to support one of their tribe. It would have been good to have had texts and translations for the foreign language numbers and a solo spot on piano here and there would have not gone amiss and served to give   the vocalist some respite during an intense programme.


Related posts Pagliacci for Everyman http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2012/06/pagliacci-for-everyman-cork-midsummer.html

Punk Baroque Delight Dido and Aeneas Cork http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2011/09/heavy-metal-baroque-delight-dido-and.html


    

Friday, April 10, 2015

Remembering Elizabeth Downey.


Elizabeth Downey

Thursday 16th April is a very special occasion in the Waterford Music calendar. The Downey family mark their unique association with the Waterford Music Chamber series with their support for a recital in memory of one of the founder members. Elizabeth Downey was herself a renowned teacher and performer. More detail on this important figure in the musical life of the city is here in this piece by Charlotte de Cloet Downey composed in 2013 on the occasion of the first Elizabeth Downey memorial recital,
'Singing and voice production were the main teaching subjects, according to her name plate, of renowned Waterford music teacher Elizabeth Downey. Born in London in 1895, she was to be the youngest daughter of the Irish literary publisher and writer, historian and journalist Edmund Downey (1856-1937). In 1906 the family moved back to Ireland, where her father bought The Waterford News and The Evening News, the daily newspapers of which he would be managing director and editor till his death.

Elizabeth, after graduating from the Royal College of Music London as pianist and mezzo-soprano, set up a teaching practice for private pupils in Newtown, Waterford and taught music at the local Ursuline School. Training young singers to compete in annual Feis Ceoil, she achieved a high level of success, with several pupils as prize winner each year. As a teacher in Voice Production she instructed many members of the local clergy in the proper use of their voice in their public ministry.
At many concerts all over the country, she also performed herself as a mezzo soprano, and she was a frequent guest performer on Radio Eireann.
As classical music correspondent she contributed frequently to her father’s newspaper The Waterford News.
Her passion for quality classical music drove her to become one of the four founding members of the Waterford Music Club. In her house in Waterford’s Newtown, in the summer of 1942, the inaugural committee meeting took place, with the other founding members Ida Starkie-O’Reilly, William F Watt and T F H Bayly. Nowadays, 72 years later, the (inter)national chamber music concert society, renamed as Waterford~Music, is still going strong, after having presented over 570 concerts, mainly in the Large Room.
There and in all her other musical activities she always insisted on the highest professional standards, standards which she herself nourished by continuing to take  courses at the RCM in London each summer, the war years excepted.
In 1965, after many years of persuasion, she agreed at an advanced age, to move to Dublin to teach singing at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She rapidly built up a substantial number of pupils. Unfortunately, she was killed in a road accident in 1967, before her work as a model music teacher had gained the national recognition it merits.'

Waterford Music also remember the late Maurice Downey, half brother of Elizabeth who passed away last November.


More on the guest artists, Máire Flavin and Gary Matthewman in my next post

On Thursday 16th April , supported by the Downey family, Waterford Music will commemorate Elizabeth Downey, this great Waterford music teacher.

Máire Flavin (oprano) and Gary Matthewman (piano) will present a special song and lieder recital with Schumann's ‘Widnung'Lieder’, Strauss, Hahn and Chausson . Specially for this event, songs by William Vincent Wallace are included

Thursday 16th April @8pm, Large Room, City Hall, Waterford


Door tickets: €18/€5 (students). Talk to us about great value season tickets for next year. All tickets include free interval soft drinks. http://www.waterford-music.com

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Máire Flavin to make Waterford debut at Elizabeth Downey Memorial Recital .


Máire Flavin


Described by The Times as a star in the making Máire Flavin is currently making a name for herself on the UK opera scene. Since featuring in the finals of the Cardiff Singer of the World in 2011, she has been busy forging a career, appearing in numerous productions in the UK, Ireland and France. She wowed Cork audiences as Emmy Perth in Marschner’s Der Vampyr last year. She returns to Ireland in 2015 for a number of engagements including a rare recital appearance in Waterford on 16th of April. I caught up with the soprano ahead of her first appearance in the city to find out more about her path to success and her forthcoming projects. Listen to her singing Meyerbeer and Handel in the video from Cardiff.

Máire , tell us about you.  Where did you grow up . Are you from a musical family How did you start to sing?

MF: Born in Dublin, the daughter of an Irish diplomat I led quite a nomadic childhood; Dublin, New York, Brussels and New Delhi - wonderful opportunity to experience different cultures and see some of the world before I was even 18.  It certainly brought me out of my shell as you had to make new friends every four years. 

My family is a very musical family with every single one of us playing instruments and there were sing songs when we were younger. My father in particular had a stunning voice and could probably have had quite the career as a singer! I was the only one to pursue it professionally, although my brother is in a rock band and my sister sings jazz and writes her own music.  There was always classical music playing in our house and that is what I felt most drawn to. I saw La Traviata, my first opera at the age of 16 in the Gaiety with Regina Nathan as Violetta. However, my first classical concert at the age of 8, I was awed (as a budding pianist) to see John O'Connor play a recital in Brussels feature the composer John Field.

I didn't train as a singer until University. I studied piano as a child and not until a choir teacher in 6th year said I should get my voice trained did I ever even think of it. I went off to Queens to study Psychology and Music aiming towards working in Music Therapy when I started training my voice and was quickly transferred to the performance module. After Uni I took a year to top up my psychology degree and realised I missed the singing too much, so thought I had to give it a go. It was definitely a calling! I did a post graduate course in the Royal Irish Academy of Music and started getting work. Many years of training later (Masters in Dublin; Guildhall Opera Course and the National Opera Studio) I was let loose on the professional scene following Cardiff Singer of the World.


We note that you read psychology at college. Has that informed any aspects of your performing work?

MF: I think studying the human aspect is a part of any stage performers craft and psychology is essentially the formal scientific study of that. I always enjoyed observing people and absorbing and analysing that behaviour is how you begin to interpret, and understand, a character on stage.  


You have had many roles since  your graduating and reaching the Cardiff Singer of the World . Which roles/concerts have you enjoyed most up til now?

MF: I think my most enjoyable so far has probably been Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte with Welsh National Opera. I absolutely adore Mozart and she is such a feisty character. The orchestra and company are always a joy to work with and the beautiful costume didn't hurt either!  

What was it like to be involved in  the Britten Pears  programme. 

MF: The Britten Pears programme is an invaluable place for any young singer to gain inspiration and to be nurtured. I did a Strauss and Mahler course there while I was still studying in Ireland and it is where I met Gary Matthewman. 

 Tell us about your programme for the Waterford Music - how did you choose it? 

MF:I have devised this programme especially for the Festival and incorporated a lot of new repertoire for me. I decided to explore a Spring theme as the recital was scheduled for April.  I adored singing Widmung at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize final and so decided to learn more Schumann. I was inspired when I heard the two Wolf songs Im Fruhling and An eine Aolscharfe  so built another set around them.  Finishing the first half with one of my favourite composers, Strauss.  The Festival requested that I included some Wallace in the programme as I have recorded some of his works before and it would be great to bring him back to Waterford, where the composer spent a great deal of time. I decided to combine the Wallace with some French composers - Chausson and Hahn. They are slightly less well known but both have one or two famous songs and are well worth delving into for other hidden treasures. Each set will have one or two songs everyone should know and hopefully they will enjoy discovering some new gems as well!

You are much in demand on opera scene.  Do you get a chance to do many song recitals. 

Since being a Song Prize finalist at BBC Cardiff Singer I am luckier than most of my opera colleagues to be asked to do recitals. Certainly there is more opera work out there than recitals, but I love doing both.  Opera and song are very different, with song being so much more intimate and much more exposed. In fact I know some colleagues who are terrified of recitals!  I enjoy the chance for a more personal and intimate connection with the audience, as well as the special duo partnership with your pianist. 

Where is home now for you?

MF: Home is with my husband, baritone Matthew Sprange in West Sussex, just north of Brighton. Near the sea, south downs, London and of course Gatwick airport! 

Flavin is a well known name in Waterford music circles. have you any local connections?

MF: Loads!! Both my parents are from Waterford. My father Jim Flavin and mother Moira, née O'Shea are both inner city Waterfordians so most of my Aunts and Uncles are still based in and around Waterford.  My Uncle, who sadly passed away three years ago, Edmond Flavin was Chairman of the Theatre Royal, so it will be a very special Waterford debut!  I have sung at Lismore, but never in Waterford City.


 What are your dream roles for the future? 

MF: Having recently made the move from mezzo repertoire up to soprano I am enjoying exploring a whole new expanse of repertoire. I would love to play either Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) or Fiordiligi (Cosí fan tutte) as both are feisty women with stunning Mozartian singing. I also relish the opportunity to sing some more Puccini - I would love to do Mimi (La Boheme).


Any more highlights for the rest of the summer or the 2015-16 season that you’d like to flag up?

MF: I will be making my role debut as Agrippina with Irish Youth Opera under the baton of Jonathan Cohen with the Irish Chamber Orchestra touring Ireland in the Autumn. It is an all star Irish line up so not to be missed!  We open in Limerick, so not too far from Waterford!

Also keep an eye out as I will be in the National Concert Hall twice in the Autumn, a lunchtime in August and Mahler 2nd Symphony in October. It's always lovely to be asked home!

More on Elizabeth Downey here: http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2015/04/elizabeth-downey.html

Máire Flavin and Gary Matthewman are at Large Room City Hall 16th April 8pm
www.waterford-music.org

Monday, April 6, 2015

Siobhán Doyle String trio at Edmund Rice Centre

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A visit to the Edmund Rice Heritage Centre has been on my to do list. I was glad to get notice of a chamber music event there tomorrow evening. Siobhán Doyle has impeccable Waterford connections. Her grandfather Jim is a stalwart member of Waterford Male Voice Choir. Her dad Seamus is one of the driving forces behind the music project at St Agnes Crumlin. I am looking forward to hearing  these rising stars of the classical music scene.  Here is an extract from the press release. See you there!


'Siobhán Doyle (violin) and Clíona Ní Choileáin (cello) are final year students at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Both former leaders of their prospective sections in the National Youth Orchestra, their music careers have seen them perform in China, the USA, the United Arab Emirates and extensively throughout Europe. 
Caoilfhionn Ní Choileáin is a prizewinning guitarist from Cork. Currently learning with Jerry Creedon at the CIT Cork School of Music, she has also played for John Williams, one of the world's foremost guitarists.
Individually, they have all performed at the Áras an Uachtaráin. All keen chamber musicians, they have each attended the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, receiving masterclasses from world renowned artists.,