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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review of the Year - Some of the best musical moments of 2010

Looking back over the blog I have selected some of the most memmorable moments of 2010. Reviews on all items can be found in last year's years blog and can be found using the search button.

Conductor  David Chase conductor gave a memorable performance with the La Jolla Chorus from San Diego at Glór, Ennis. They were wonderful and he had a charming  and commanding presence.  His erudite vocal introductions to a most interesting programme added much to the pleasure of the occasion.

Performance The Good Friday concert by Limerick Choral Union including a performance of Jenkins Stabat Mater was a highlight. Conductor Malcolm Greene created a hair raising experience combining many unusual elements. It was perhaps the performance I most enjoyed participating in I  can't give a fully  unbiased review as I was playing in the viola section!

Composer  I was impressed with Sean Tyrrell's setting in a trad idiom of  The Midnight Court at the Highway Inn  in Crusheen

Best  Pub Gig  We really enjoyed Vladimir Jablokov  Classical Twist  gig upstairs in Dolan's Limerick .  He is wonderful to watch and we look forward to seeing him in the Midwestern region again.  Another Slovak young musician also impressed me at this venue, young Andreas Varedy is also one to watch

Best Debut The debut performances of the Blazing Bows and Swinging Strings String Ensembles in their school halls for fellow students, family and friends were one of my favourite occasions of the year.

Best Venue  NCH It is hard to beat the festive and grand air of the National Concert Hall. It gave me great pleasure to see assist in bringing two youth ensembles from Colaiste Muire Ennis and St Peter's College Dunboyne to perform at this prestigious venue at the IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras. I was  especially thrilled to see some of my beginners coming through from instrumental programmes I  initiated in both schools. I enjoyed playing there  in December myself as a member if the 1st violin section of the former Irish Youth Orchestra players under Gearoid Grant

Best Musical  Shannon Musical Society for their production of Beauty and the Beast.  The school hall was again as if by magic transported to a magical place for this scintillating production which was up to the usual high standards for this company  with a  wonderful band under direction of MD Carmel Griffin

Best Male  Singer
Clarecastle tenor Dean Power gave a wonderful farewell evening before he headed off to the Bavarian State Opera to join their Young Artist's Programme . It was an evening of arias and high emotions as his local community packed the local church to hear Dean and other fine singers perform. 

Best Female Singer
I didn't post on this evening in Glor but Eddi Reader  was a wonderfully relaxed and witty performer with a  varied mix of repertoire and I look forward to hearing her when she returns in February

Best Newcomer  Bilkees Saidi    for her role as Reno in Anything Goes at Colaiste Muire  Ennis .  Geat poise and voice  from this teenage performer .

In My Thoughts  Friends of Anne Grennan were shocked and sad to learn of Anne's  untimely death  earlier this year. A wonderful teacher and choral director , she is much missed.  Remembering also Josephine Healy  who passed away in 2009 , also a wonderful teacher from whom I learned much by looking at her in action in Dunboyne

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Night at The Bavarian State Opera

Bavarian Staatopera House, Munich
Orchestra Pit Munich Opera House

We travelled to Munich on Stephen's Day and stopped off in the Bavarian capital for a couple of nights. We arrived late in the evening in an unusually  quiet city and we were disappointed to see the shutters drawn everywhere including  in Voglers , our favourite jazz venue.  The following evening we enjoyed a production of La Boheme  at the magnificent opera house.  As the performance was sold out punters hovered hopefully on the steps hoping to snap up returns some bearing cards saying "Besuchen Karten" which added to the air of anticipation .  The Bavarian holiday audience were a very well turned out lot with lots of  family groups, children on best behaviour,  women in party frocks and men in Austrian style wool suits and lots of people changing out of Winter shoes for something more elegant to promenade around the magnificent mirrored and chandlere bedecked  spaces.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ecumenical Advent Carol Service at Ennis Cathedral

Everything went off smoothly at the annual Ecumenical Advent Carol Service held this year in Ennis Cathedral    The church  was full  to hear the combined Abbey  Cluster choirs and orchestra, conducted by Michael Hennessy and all numbers went without a hitch. I always enjoy the band in this accoustic and the Ennis Brass Band added a festive air to the occasion and sounded splendid.particularly the shimmering percusion provided by father and son team Kieran and Gary McAllister.

Personally I would like to see an emphasis specifically on Advent material during the week before Christmas and it would be nice to see an Irish input in the carol selection next year to balance the Germanic chorale strand , maybe  one from  excellent liturgical Irish composers, Colin Mawby or Ronan McDonagh would be nice for a change  .  Mind you, having been at four services/ concerts this week where Christmas material has featured , I probably am more ready for alternatives than most and it is specially a time for old favourites.

It was good to see a squad of organists in the loft ready for duty including  brothers Leon and Dylan Walsh, Nigel Bridge and Megan Byrt. There was a pleasant buzz in the Cathedral as peopled lingered to meet and greet following the event , no one seeming in any particular hurry out into the cold night air.

Given the proximity of several sacred  spaces  in Ennis of both traditions,  it would be good to see the ecumenical spirit  ongoing at a regular  monthly  Sunday evening liturgy when  the festive season  is over.
Michael Hennessy Director Cathedral Choir
Violin Section

Friday, December 17, 2010

Swinging Strings: Review Debut Swinging Strings at Ennis NS Hall

Swinging Strings: Review Debut Swinging Strings at Ennis NS Hall: Check out how this programme is going. "SWINGING STRINGS’ CONCERT  THE ‘SWINGING STRINGS’ CONCERT The Fourth Class students of Ennis N.S. p..."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Andy Irvine at Glór

Travelling Troubadour Andy Irvine
There is something timeless about Andy Irvine  who appeared in Glór last week; a travelling troubadour with a collection of lute like stringed instruments  to support his voice , his penchant for singing to drone accompaniment creating  a wire strung  accoustic  soundworld that would not sound out of place in another century  alongside say  a 17th  century English balladeer like  John Dowland, (leaving aside occasional interludes on harmonica evoking folk giants Guthrie and Dylan).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ag Canadh Le Ceile at Glór

Bad weather and icy road conditions had forced the rescheduling of this event showcasing the work of an  inclusive music project in West Clare schools
I was delighted to catch  it having heard good reports about Máiréad Ní Chondúin's work and it was fortuitous that I met Maireid and husband Jim Armour at a choral event the previous day  .

There were two concerts lasting an hour or so  and I heard the older group made up of 3rd to 6th classes from  5 West Clare schools.  The Junior Group under the theme title Songs From the  Music Ark  included familiar songs  Shoe the Donkey,  Dilin O Deamhas, Ill Tell me Ma, The Big Ship Sails, Bingo and Tingalayo in a set list of more than a dozen songs. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Limerick Chorale Union Christmas Baroque Favourites 2010

 Limerick Choral Union and Orchestra 

'Your 5 minute call ladies' .
 Conductor Malcolm  Greene 

Hungarian Cello Duo Livia and Peter
   Soprano Mary O'Sullivan
 Mezzo Soprano Pauline Frizelle
Bass Eunan MacDonald

Vivaldi Magnificat
Bach Cantata 140 Wachet Auf Bach
Vivaldi Magnificat
Handel Zadok the Priest
Handel Arrival of Queen of Sheeba
Bach Jesu Joy
Handel Halleluia Chorus

Limerick Choral Union gave its' annual Christmas performance at UCH Limerick last week on 9th December.  It was a warm and convivial evening and there was  the usual full house for the annual Christmas offering of this large choir. I always enjoy playing for this well organised outfit and the choir sounded well.  I most enjoyed playing the Bach canata   a work I knew well as it was on  my school music syllabus  back in 79 ( Who can forget Leo McKern and the Lloyds Bank TV ad; yes, the one with the black 'horse outside'! ) I have not had much opportunity to play a complete cantata and the music is glorious. More of these Malcolm please! The soloists are splendid and husband and wife team Eunan and aptly named Mary, clearly expecting a happy event add a Nativity air to the proceedings

The oboe section shine tonight , Peter and young Lucas who I remember  hearing in a youth orchestra about 5 years ago when he must have been about 10 or 11 and being impressed by. I was glad to meet John Daly of the eponymous Big Band who was on timps tonight. Livia on continuo  is the lynchpin of the string section for this repertoire and  Oonaghs solo violin obligato    aound  soprano and bass vocal lines in the third movement  aria of the cantata is beautiful .
An exciting year ahead, it seems for the LCU with plans to play with Karl Jenkins and I am looking forward to Mendelssohn's Eli,jah in April.

Viola duo Me and Joacim

                                                   Cello Warm Up Exercises
Oboe Duo Peter and Lucas

Oboe warm up exercises

John O'Conor at Glór

Haydn                       Sonata in b minor Hob XVI no 32
Beethoven                 Sonata in c minor Op 13 'Pathetique'
 Field                         Three Nocturnes  no 5 in B flat ; no 6 in E; no 18 'Le Midi'

Chopin                        Berceuse in D flat op 57
                                   Barcarolle  Op 60
Ginastera                    Argentinian Dances

John O Conor gave a solo piano recital at Glór tonight. The auditorium was respectably full  and it was encouraging to  see a row of youngsters towards the front of the auditorium. In the absence of programme notes, the soloist gave very interesting and humourous spoken introductions to each set of pieces and this was added much to the enjoyment of the repertoire and demonstrated his excellent  communication skills.

The programme was laid out cronologically and one had a sense of the excitement of the new sound possibilities of  the romantic  piano  released by the Romantic composers,  Field and Chopin  following the briskness of the Classical  Haydn sonata.

The audiuence included many Ennis  cognoscenti, including Kieran and  Breda O Gorman of Clare Music Circle,  soprano Maret O Hehir, Archie Simpson of Lismorahan Singers and tenor Peter O Donoghue Mary Ellen Nagle of Clare Music Makers  , Marie Corley of Ennis Cathedral Choir and Terence Mangan  Governer General of the Lions Club  and his wife Maureen . I was delighted to meet my neighbours Veit and Rania Kuhn of Penguin Pianos who tuned the piano for the performance .

I do like it when performers come front of house to meet and greet patrons .  I believe John O Conor did greet many of the younger audience members  backstage but I believe  this very important aspect of the evening might be better  taking  place  front of house in the foyer or the red room. There were quite a few people hovering in the foyer who would like to have met the artist and reluctant to find  the route backstage,

John O Conor's  personal remuneration package has been under some scrutiny in the press this week and while his rather plummy D4 tones do rather set my culchie teeth on edge, I was impressed with him tonight  and enjoyed the performance rather more than I thought I might.  I think John O Conor , as one of the country's most successful performers and teachers ought to be well remunerated.

One quibble, as TV sitcom character Frazier might say, a  tee shirt is an undergarment, I feel a proper shirt collar is required for a  performance, but hey, call me old fashioned .

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Final rehearsals at Swinging Strings Ennis NS

Santa would have a job getting one of these down the chimney

The Ennis NS crib  Well done Ger!

Sing Out With Strings  Concert Southill Limerick

Monday, December 6, 2010

Anything Goes at Colaiste Muire

Last night was the final night of the four night run of the annual musical at Colaiste Muire . I love playing for  musicals and given a choice between a symphony or a show , I would choose the latter any day .  I joined the brass and reed dominated pit to add a string component to the band at Danlann on Chlair for the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes . This was a light and frothy production with much to admire. The string parts are not quite as lush as those for Kiss Me Kate, the last Cole Porter show I played for but there was plenty to get stuck into . The brass playing from husband and wife team , Dermot Gorman and Sharon Brooks was particulary well executed  I loved that wah wah muted trumpet sound and the descending line on trombone in title number.

The stand out performance came from Bilkees Saidi who demonstrated a poise and stage presence far beyond her years. I think this is not the first we will hear of this young lady. I laughed out loud every night at Caitlin Hamilton Jones whose comic timing  as Moon Faced Martin was pretty impeccable and quite a revelation. Siobhan Sexton was sweet and lovely as debutant Hope Harcourt and she wore those dresses so well. Madeline Arkins Heavenly Hop was one of my favourite numbers and the chorus including Alice Foley performed their dance routines with aplomb .    It is quite an achievemnent for a school to have mounted 25 continuous years of musical and I am glad to have been associated with 4 of the last 5 years with MDs Carmel Griffin and Michael Hennessy.
Photos John Kelly

The sets designed and executed under  Niamh Ni Mhuirí was worthy of the West End and the costumes and particularly the dresses were such a riot of colour and so glamourous and worn very well by the young actresses.  Humour , great tunes , lovely dresses and a bit of tap dancing and all done under two hours -- a  perfect tonic for winter blues!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

140 years of Band Music in Waterford

On Friday 26th Novemnber I travelled to Waterford for the celebration concert of 140 years of the Barrack Street Brass and Reed Band now named the Barrack Street Concert Band . The concert took place in the Good Shepherd Convent, their first time at this venue and was very well attended despite the arctic conditions.   Guest artists were Donna Roche, Ray Collins, the fine De La Salle Boys Choir with their conductor, Ben Hanlon  and playwright , Jim Nolan . A fantastic achievement to have survived two world wars , a civil war  and the various economic upheavals  and Waterford people are rightly very proud of this stalwart group of musicians, conducted in recent  years by Mark Fitzgerald.  Coincidentally earlier in the day , I met Danny Ryan of the Tipperary Music Shop and Accordion Orchestra and he recalled the band meeting the annual expedition to the coast and serenading the day trippers into Waterford.

Leviathan Political Cabaret at Dolan's

 12 year old Andreas Varedy  with jazz quintet

Mick Dolan makes a point
 Is Music Worth Paying For? This was the question  adressed at this evenings cabaret/ debate at Dolan's Warehouse, Limerick. This format of a mix of music and discussion is new to me and has something of the spirit of a Renaissance Camerata about it .  We made our way in to the Warehouse which was a little slow to fill up. A Roma family occupied one of the top tables with a number of young children playing games. Eventually, a jazz quintet  made up of sax,  bass guitar , electric guitar,  f hole guitar and drums .  struck up.  They were very good but most remarkable was the presence of 12 year old Andreas Varedy who was just extraordinary, very accomplished and mature in his stage performance and wordlessly  taking his cue from the saxophonist. Later looking at him walking around with his skateboard , he looked like any other 12 year old and you couldn't believe he had just performed like a seasoned and mature  performer. I note he is from a Slovakian family. Coincidentally, we had heard another remarkable young Slovakian (Vladimir Jablokov)  musician at this venue less than a fortnight ago.

Paddy Cullivan of Tubridy's Camembert Quartet fame comes on with the 'Leviathan Archestra', keyboard  drums and bass guitar to do a set of very funny political songs.  'We Are Where  We Are ' and 'Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel'   very much up to the minute satirical songs exploiting some of the more innane utterances of the present political clique.

Friday, December 3, 2010

School Music Projects 1 Sing Out With Strings Limerick

Although very cold and icy, I braved the elements to hear the Christmas concert offered by the Sing Out With Strings Programme running in primary schools in the Southill Area of the Limerick city.  I took every turn off the Roxboro Roundabout except the one I needed and the concert was in full swing by the time I arrived at the large modern Holy Family Church. The ladies and gentlemen of the  Irish Chamber Orchestra were in place and accompanying a childrens choir  in a set of engaging jaunty songs on a Christmas theme, directed  by Tony Hunter.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mario Lanza Tribute at UCH with Jablokov

Tenor Sean Costello with Mrs Hanrahan and pals at UCH
We had heard good things about this tribute show to iconic singing star of the silver screen.  The format consisted of a  prerecorded narrative   relating the singer's life story  punctuated with solos and duets  from soloists Sean Costello, Niall Morris and Sandra Oman accompanied by a chamber ensemble lead by violinist  Vladimir Jablokov.  A slide show of photographs were digitally projected onto a screen backdrop and added an interesting dimension  to the vocals

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Clare Poets November Remembrance with Kevin Higgins & Julie Feeney

Kevin Higgins

I note that it is the third Saturday of the month which means it is Clare Poets afternoon. I  am surprised to see  songstress Julie Feeney is  listed as the guest artist Surely some mistake.  My twitter updates suggest that she is probably winging her way across the Atlantic following her US tour but Julie duly arrives hotfoot from the airport  ready to perform at the monthly gathering of Clare  poets at Glór Foyer in Ennis  .  The procedings kick off with guest poet Kevin Higgins reading from his new collection .  His satirical  poems have a wry humour and there is an AA Milne ring to a poem dedicated to protesting students with its recurring lines  'who made their point politely and then went home'  probably to watch Countdown (my words not the poet's).
With the MC's lack of familiarity with the guest artist's work I am called upon to give a late  introduction. If only I had known I would have prepared better. 
 Julie, looking every  inch the star performer in high heeled red patent leather shoes which doubled as  percussion instrument and her trademark quirky millinery, punctuated procedings with a selection of numbers from her Pages and 13 Songs albums to her own piano accompaniment. With no trace of jet lag in her voice she performed for the select gathering with as much intensity  as if it had been a packed auditorium ; a consummate professional  .  The late Brecan Mooney was  remembered and  Brian Mooney his father,  read a poem dedicated to his son's memory.
The open mic follows with  MC Patrick Stack, Johhny Culliney , Jean Kavanagh, Noel Mulqueen , Fred Johnston (accompanied by his dog) and Arthur Watson contributing . I loved Arthur's performance of the Karaoke Blues . I must look up the Portsmouth Sinfonia  he referred to in his introduction. It sounds like my kind of band .
A very special afternoon in Ennis with the Clare Poets .

Julie's selection
Mr Rovin Eye Guy
Scots Gallic number
You take the Wind Out of My sails
You're Impossibly  Beautiful
With Innocent Hearts and Expectant Faces/Knock Knock

Friday, November 19, 2010

Marion Ingoldsby PDST workshop

 I attended  a workshop aimed at  developing  the creative use of  singing in the classroom  scheduled at the new Academy of  Music Building at UL . Although the evening was foul, I set off and was just in time to hear Steve McFarlane and Anne Barry deliver an excellent workshop based on specially commissioned songs by Marion Ingoldsby and  introduced by Professor Mícheál  O Suilleabhain . The songs are charming  based on nursery rhymes and verses by Christina Rosetti and could work well  with senior primary  and post primary students . Anne demonstrated suitable teaching strategies including vocal warm ups, body percussion and  Curwen hand gestures  to a large attendance .  It is always a pleasure to listen to highly competent teachers  and communicators clearly passionate about their topic and eager to share their skills. It was good to meet Carol Daly and Martin Barrett of Co. Cork VEC and Sharon Brooks of Shannon Comprehensive .


Gadding about during the Ennis Trad Festival 2010

Ennis Trad Festival brought a welcome  influx of musicians  and punters to the town last weekend. 

On Friday, I looked in to the Old Gound were there was a pleasant buzz of anticpation with visitors toting instruments of various shapes were checking in. On Saturday ,  I had lunch in the packed  Rowan Tree with my cousins Anne and Helen White   We  met chanteuse, Siofra Brock daughter of Paul  and   star of the West End  , Helen Ball, dining with husband Lorcan and baby.   Looking into Queens Bar there is a flurry of flautists and other assorted musicians  tootling  merrily away . On O Connell Street  dodging the heavy showers, I meet  travelling poet James Anthony Kelly and buy a copy of his poetry volume Porter and Emotion described as 'A vast diverse and varied collection'  . How could you resist.  I find it  somehow reassuring  that we still have travelling bards in Ireland .

Travelling Bard James A Kelly
 In Glór, I am just in time  to watch  the hapless presenter attempting to round up representatives of the runner ups who seemed reluctant to  collect their prizes and eventually  the winners ,  the Tulla Road  Ceili Band (not to be confused with the Tulla Ceili Band) are  eventually  shepherded  on stage to perform their valedictory set.  While some of the punters in my vicinity had selected them, there was quite a few who felt Corofin Ceili Band also deserved the crown but there was a spirit of general good humour generally about the procedings  and no one seemed to feel too hard done by.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Witches and Pirates at Waterford International Music Festival

Theatre Royal lobby

Malcolm Proud

 Following fast on the heels of the Imagine Arts Festival, my home town Waterford cements its reputation as a good town for music and arts  with the  welcome return after  a two year absence of  the annual celebration of musical theatre, the Waterford International Light Opera Festival. Now  in its' 50th year,  rebranded as Waterford International Music Festival and incorporating not only shows at the magnificently refurbished Theatre Royal but also a fringe festival including the all pervasive gospel choirs,  concerts and a school musical section .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vladimir Violinist Extraordinaire - upstairs at Dolans Limerick

It was a pub gig with a  classical twist, upstairs at Dolan's in Limerick tonight.  A salon ensemble of players , bass, piano, viola, violin  and drums  backed front man Vladimir Jablokov in  an eclectic set  mixing several genres but infused throughout by elements of fine virtuoso technique and showmanship.

Opening with a number which fused theme from James Bond with Mozart's Rondo a la Turk, Vladimir and  the  band breezed through Strauss waltzes and polkas, Hungarian dances, jazz standards , show tunes and classical standards with great panache and good humour, the band seeming to enjoy playing together .   We particularly enjoyed their take on Bowie's Life on Mars and Van Morrison's Moondance , in splendid arrangements by keyboard player, Adam Kuruc  . The amplification was subtle, not overpowering and the string sound was fairly true to the unplugged sound.  This is rare in my experience and well done to sound man Sean Harold .

The  venue is intimate and suits smaller gatherings and while not packed to capacity, there was enough to create an atmosphere .

The lead man Vladimir Jablokov is a great live performer with a charming  air  of  a Bohemian  Waltz King about him. He appears to be fused to his instrument, the violin being merely an extension of himself and he plays with such exuberance, you could not but be entertained by him.  A great night .  I hope the tour is successful for them and we see them around again next year. Bravo!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mass for Bereaved at Ennis Cathedral

The annual  Mass for bereaved families was offered last night in Ennis Cathedral.  The sense grief is palpable and it is a very important liturgical event and one I have been priviliged to be invited to contribute to in ther last two years .  Fr. Tom Hogan somehow finds words to add balm to sorrow and  on such occasions I reach no further than our slow air tradition and my selection included  Ag Chriost an Siol, Airdi Cuan, My Lagan love, Sliabh na mBan, An Coolin, Mo Gile Mear and Ban Chnoic Eirinn O.  Cantor was Tony Murray and organist Mary Curley,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Independent Music Clubs Clare; Sean Tyrrell / Kevin Burke


  It has been a week for opera in  various forms and I am just back from Sean Tyrrell's unique traditional opera  setting of 'The Midnight Court'  at the  Frank Hayes' Island Music Club  at the Highway Inn in Crusheen. I think this is one of the most successful one man shows I have seen, both entertaining and thought provoking.  Based on the poem by Brian Merriman in a translation by David Marcus, it is an account of the age old  battle of the sexes, told  in  bawdy verse form and set to music by Tyrrell himself  in a trad' idiom.  The show opened with the spoken word but was mostly related in song to mandola accompaniment.  Although several hundred years old there were many resonances  with modern day Ireland  making it seem very  current. 

Sean Tyrrell in The Midnight Court

One was immediately struck on entering the intimate space that is the backroom of The Highway Inn by the theatrical props of masks, hats and puppets and considerable care had gone in to dressing the windows in lights and  crimson chiffon.  The use of masks to portray the hag and Queen Aeval lent an air of Greek drama and  the plot has some resonance with  the battle of the sexes in Euripides' Lysistrata.

There was something of a festival atmosphere in the Highway Inn this evening as the GAA  Crusheen  Junior A team had won a match  adding to the success of Crusheen GAA  in recent weeks  and the team were in to accept plaudits all adding to the general hurly burly of Saturday night. It was a shame that the venue was not packed to capacity as this show deserved to draw a larger audience.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fame at UCH Limerick

Alice and I enjoyed Fame the musical at UCH Limericktonight . Tickets were good value at €20 .  A list of about four names were read out at the beginning so I am not quite sure who was playing who tonight.  Certainly all the characters seemed well cast, and convincing.
The characters playing Romeo and Julliet were very charming and gave nicely understated performances.  The strength  of the production was in the energetic ensemble

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Imagine Festival in Waterford

The Imagine Festival team have put together a very attractive range of arts events to brighten the late October scene in Waterford. The French film line up looks impressive. I can highly recommend Le Concert a film combining comic farce and virtuoso violin playing . You will hear Kalinka as you've never heard it before and orchestra managers will love it for the pivotal role.

Wexford Festival for Comic Opera, Cava and Canapés

Roberto Recchia

How very sweet indeed it is to sit in the lobby of Whites Hotel during the annual Wexford Opera Festival, the walls adorned with colourful paintings and observe the artists, performers  patrons and opera anoraks  milling about, nibbling canapés which are complimentary with glasses of champagne and sparkling wine, all very civilised.