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

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Everyman Orpheus

Orpheus may be a mere mortal in the kingdom of the Gods but the latest production of Gluck's Baroque masterpiece at the Everyman is simply divine. This is a terrific production, from the team who brought  the acclaimed Pagliacci to life at the same venue last year.
photo Miki Barlok Cork Operatic Soc Facebook 
 Again the musicians take pivotal roles ascending from the pit to join then singers on stage following the overture, casting off their sombre black robes for cream coloured drapes . Quite how they manage to memorise such a vast amount of music is extraordinary. Trinidian tenor, Ronald Samm returns to play the title role. His is not a pale youthful  sylph like Orfeo, but a heavyweight middle aged one with a great bottom to his tenor voice. His interpretation of the grief laden Che Faro at the close was moving and memorable and very much his own   Having seen him in the role, I feel all Orpheus' should be thus, Cork soprano Majella Cullagh played the role of Love. Eurydice is played by a dancer.  Tara Brandel was replaced by an understudy on Wednesday* I loved the set by Lisa Zagone featuring organ pipes and the magical lighting effects by Michael Hurley  created the feeling of  underworld and the golden glow of the Elysian Fields Every emotion was amplified by the hard working chorus. With a running time of less than two hours with an interval, no Wagnerian feat of endurance was called for.  

Miki Barlok via Cork Operatic Society Facebook

Just to show my critical faculties are working, I did have some minor quibbles.  Apollo may have played like a God on his hunting horn but didn't quite blend in to the Elysian Fields God squad  with his spectacles.  The two string players,   violin and viola were a little overpowered  by the wind and brass element in the ensemble with saxophone being the dominant element and I did miss the solidity of the cello element of the continuo part.

A rare and wonderful musical  treat. Last chance to see it on Friday and Saturday 

*Eurydice was played by Mihaela Griveva

Venue Notes: The Everyman Palace has a cosy, convivial bar space where the artists gathered after the show.
 Who we met: Oboe player Coral O Sullivan was on the other side of the footlights for a change. . Star of the show, Ronald Samm  spoke to me of the role Geraldine O Grady had played in mentoring his career. Violinist, Liz Charleson had laid aside her violin to join the chorus and the Frost clan were there in force to support Godess/bassonist , Sineid  We met  Deirdre Long from Waterford, Secretary of the Cork Operatic Society who started the evening on the pit organ console before joining the chorus.

Irish Examiner Review Orpheus 

Cathy's Review Pagliacci for Everyman

Cathy's Review Punk Baroque Delight

Ronald Samm Orpheus
_________     Eurydice
Majella Cullagh Love
Carolyn Goodwin Demeter Clarinet/ sax
Tom Crowley       Dionysis Violin
Catriona Lightfoot Athene Viola
Christiane O Mahoney   Hera Harp
Conor Palliser Apollo French Horn
John O Brien Director /Musical Director
Lisa Zagone Set Design
Tina Horan choreography
Michael Hurley Lighting bDesign

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