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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Project Opera: The Dead

Looking at the line up of offerings at Dublin theatres, there is a paucity of new work as programmers return to the classics with Wilde at the Gate and Shaw at the Abbey. There was a fresh approach  to a theatrical presentation of work by  James Joyce. A new operatic setting of the short story The Dead  went down very well at the Project Arts Centre at the opening night on Wednesday. There was a good regional representation of arts folk in the full house. This is a very neat production with a octet of singers and string players that should travel very comfortable to summer festivals.

Read a review of opening night here.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Classy Finnish at the Bello Bar

       Lisa Dowdall John O Brien                                                                                    photo Juraj Jablonka

Kaleidoscope, the monthly classical music salon  has moved to a new base at The Bello Bar at Portobello, Dublin. There was a big Cork contingent in the line up last Wednesday for an evening with a strong Finnish flavour.

Marja Gaynor presided as well as playing violin and viola. We heard Lisa Dowdall play Sibelius' Valse Triste on viola accompanied by John O Brien. John played a charming waltz by Merikanto.  There were polskas from a viola duo and Baltic Folk inspired jazz from a quartet with Carolyn Goodwin and Franco Turrisi.

Most intriguing was a preview of a brand new opera by John O Brien based on Wilde's story, The Nightingale and the Rose with singers Camilla Griehsel and Mark Chambers. It is hoped that it will come to production in The Everyman in 2017.  I look forward to it.

Winterval Tree

Waterford City Centre has been transformed for a fourth year running into a Winter wonderland with all the seasonal trappings of jollity. There are carousels,  ferris wheels, swing boats and jingle bell clad shire horses. My favourite thing in Winterval is the singing tree, a tiered platform camouflaged with seasonal greenery.  On Sunday, Storm Desmond yielded briefly to allow a mild and pleasant afternoon when  the ladies and gentlemen of the excellent Barrack Street Concert Band under their director Mark Fitzgerald entertained us with a festive collection. The Band are a treasured institution who work harder than other ensemble to add a musical grace to many civic occasions. They are mighty. Have a listen to their closing number, Christmas Collage  in the audioboom

If you missed them, they will be repeating the programme, in Ballybricken next week. Check with for details.

Click on the arrow to hear the BSCB play Christmas Collage


Sturm and Drang: Messiah in Limerick

 'Yet once a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land

I made it through the wind and rain of Storm Desmond to join the orchestra of  Limerick Choral Union  for their biennial performance of Handel's Messiah - a truly glorious endeavour and one to savour and delight in with a sold out house at UCH. Soloists on this occasion were Jean Wallace, Martha Bredin , Patrick Hyland and John Molloy.

'I want seething and spitting and  none of your niceness' said Malcolm Green as he urged his choristers on to emphasise the elements of sturm and drang in a text. What a thrill to experience the force field that is bass John Molloy as he sang of darkness covering the earth, raging nations and hell raising trumpets. This voice has the heft at the bottom  to make you tremble

 He tells me he has three more Messiah engagements this season, one of which is in Halle, Saxony, the birthplace of Handel. On closer inspection, I note that,not only are there three Irish singers in the line up of the Happy Birthday Haendel -Messiah in Halle but also a familiar figure at the helm in Prionnsías O Duinn who has had this gig for the last nine years, I gather. This has to be at the classiest end of the Sing it Yourself Messiah's available. If you fancy it, you can sign up for the waiting list for the 2016 festival. (My report on a trip to Halle here)

Closer to home, you can sign up to Come and Sing Messiah favourite choruses at St Mary's Cathedral with Peter Barley on Sat 23rd April.

Related Posts Report LCU Messiah  2011