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Opera in Ireland - general discussion thread on all things opera in Ireland

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4,279 ✭✭✭ westtip


    I thought it might be worth having a general thread about operatic goings on in Ireland on a general basis - Whats coming up whats been on what posters might recommend others to go to in the coming weeks - just general chit chat about "All things operatic in Ireland"

    My first shot would be to ask who else went to the Live HD broadcast of Tosca live from the Metropolitan opera in New York last night - its the Saturday Matinee being live telecast they say to over a 1000 cinemas globally shown in several cinemas around the country - I went in Galway to the Eye cinema- it's a novel way of experiencing opera - a new one to me - and I have to say as an avid goer to live opera - this is a whole new deal - it was a superb performance and overall experience was brilliant - sound qualtiy is amazing - the next one is Aida on October 23rd at various "Movie theaters" as our american cousins all the cinema - really is worth going to - highly recommended! suggest you book early in particular for the Dublin cinemas - check out the cinemas doing it on the operaireland web site www.operaireland.com

    If you have any thoughts about opera in ireland our resident opera companies, the price of opera tickets, the dumbing down of opera, Opera Ireland repetoire and performances etc lets see your views.


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Comments



  • Handy thread,!

    I'm looking to go to an opera for the first time and don't know how to go about finding whats going on in my area.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for up coming events that would be good to attend?




  • Handy thread,!

    I'm looking to go to an opera for the first time and don't know how to go about finding whats going on in my area.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for up coming events that would be good to attend?

    hi Thornography - I guess you are lucky as you live near Irelands only purpose built opera house - Wexford - and of course at the moment Wexford is entering into its key period of the year with the festival coming up - Mind you - and I don't want to sound like an opera Officianado - but I am not sure what Wexford has to offer you as an opera novice - its raison d'etre is the revival of very obsure operas which have been lost from the repertoiry over the years decades and centuries - If you go to a wexford revival of a truly dreadful opera it may put you off for life! I have been to a few operas at Wexford and come out thinking - well I can see why that one has fallen from grace they do sometimes resurect operas that have been long forgotten for good reason! But the festival is a great experience with real international reputation - www.wexfordopera.com I reckon for a novice and to experience some italian opera their best offering this year might be Maria Padilla by Donizetti - however Wexford tickets don't come cheap!

    Opera Ireland have an upcoming season in November www.operaireland.com - A staged performance of Macbeth (Verdi), Verdi captures the essence of the "Scottish Play" in no uncertain terms - for a taste of the music just go to You tube and type in Verdi Macbeth arias - a load of stuff will come up to listen too. They are also doing a concert performance of the first of the four operas in Wagners Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold again look at their website for details. All up in Dublin so means travelling up there.

    I would also highly recommend as a novice opera go to try a totally new initiative in the world of opera - or at least new to the Irish opera going public outside Dublin - and that is the innovation of Live HD broadcasts of the New York Met opera famous Saturday matinees - these have long been broadcast on the radio across the world - but now we can experience the stage performane live in a wonderful initiative- whereby in various cinemas and theatres around the country they receive these operatic satelite transmissions - I saw Tosca in a cinema in Galway on Saturday evening it was quite a sensational experence the HD sound and picturequality is amazing. I closed my eyes for a short period in the third act on Saturday and felt I was in the theatre in New York - it is amazing.

    The good news for you is Wexford Opera House are also doing these live telecasts - the one on October 23rd of Aida is not being broadcast at Wexford as it is the middle of the festival but on November 7th they are telecasting in HD Puccini's Turandot live from the Met, however you can also see these at Cork Opera House - These are really a massive breakthrough for opera to reach out to those of us who cannot get to the big houses in the likes of London or New York or Milan. And the good news for opera goers - they are cheap at 25 euro a ticket - they really are great value - not quite the same as actually going to a theatre and seeing an opera on stage, which you really must do - but also quite different than just going to the cinema for the night - well worth a try - I intend going to the rest of the series over the winter (every two weeks for next eighteen weeks) this has been promoted by Opera Ireland just look at their website and click on the link for live Met DD broadcasts.

    In a similar vein - but not live HD performances you can pick up on operatic cinema performances - with live stage recordings that have been recorded live in high definition so the quality is great - just like the live performances from the Met but you are not sharing the live action as it actually happens - fair old drive for you from Waterford but the IMC in Athlone is featuring a performance of Bellinis I Puritani next Monday Oct 19th at 8.00 pm go to the IMC website: http://www.imccinemas.ie/ This is not a "live" performance but was recorded live - this really is a gem of the bel-canto repertoire. I will be driving down from Sligo for it - For Dublin readers with the motorway Athlone is just over an hour these days! Anyway these new operatic screenings at the cinema are a new way of introducing yourself to opera - BTW this one in Athlone is only ten euro to get into! I think the opera is the one previewed in this link with Juan Diego Florez in the main tenor role - his rendition of A Te Cara would be worth going for in itself http://www.emergingpictures.com/puritani_trailer.htm

    And have found this for you closer to home! http://www.sgcdungarvan.net/website.php?localpage=culture just found this later on today and this looks good for you - again its opera at the cinema but it seems the Dungarvan cinema is going down the other route and distributing live operatic cinema performances from other houses (I think there are very specific deals with each cinema house - if they have the NY Met deal they can't broadcast other opera companies hd broadcasts but this looks good: This Saturday 17th October you have Barber of Seville from Madrid, saturday 15th November Falstaff from Glyndebourne earlier this season, and a host of other juicy operas to come .... so why not try these out first!


    Finally and by no means least on the live opera going to a theatre and seeing real people sing then do look at - Opera Theatre Company - a small irish company which tours opera to many different venues - this really is a fine creative company that has added so much to the operatic scene in Ireland in the past few years - they do a lot of smaller scale chamber opera - they are I think anyway at their best with the early period repertoire and are currently touring what they do very well - Handel - Handels Alcina is being performed in venues around the country nearest to you would be the GB shaw theatre in Carlow on October 22 their web address is www.opera.ie

    You should find something in this lot which does not mean too long a drive eventually found you something in Waterford hope you enjoy something! I was intending to start a monthly operatic bulletin on this thread so I guess this is the start of that




  • Really appreciate the above advice! will help me out allot :)




  • You're welcome - I will endeavour to keep this opera thread going with news about upcoming events etc.




  • Bravo!! I never thought it would be possible to write such a long article about Ireland's "operatic life". Amazing.
    I'm going to Maria Padilla in Wexford on October 23rd. I'll report when I get back to Dublin.
    One thing I can say is that the theatre in Wexford is magnificent. I saw a really ridiculous comedy there last year, something called "Tutti in Maschera" (I can't even remember the name of the composer). I've heard opera in countless houses, but I don't think I've ever been to a theatre where the voices project over the orchestra so effortlessly. Miraculous.


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  • Bravo!! I never thought it would be possible to write such a long article about Ireland's "operatic life". Amazing.
    I'm going to Maria Padilla in Wexford on October 23rd. I'll report when I get back to Dublin.
    One thing I can say is that the theatre in Wexford is magnificent. I saw a really ridiculous comedy there last year, something called "Tutti in Maschera" (I can't even remember the name of the composer). I've heard opera in countless houses, but I don't think I've ever been to a theatre where the voices project over the orchestra so effortlessly. Miraculous.

    Jonny, thanks, That Wexford Theatre is an absolute gem I am going to try and wangle a trip to Maria Padilla myself - I think the Met HD broadcasts would be fun in the Wexford opera house as well - could make it more of a fantasy night at the opera - the one downside of the opera HD broadcasts is stepping out into the popcorn smelling foyer of a general cinema - seeing the HD broadcasts in an opera house the quality of Wexford would be fun - and the tickets all round at 25 euro for all seats makes it very tempting for one of the operas! for our friend in Waterford I would make it a must go event - Are you going to any of OI I am going to both Rheingolds and the Macbeth on the Friday inbetween although I fear what dieter haegi artistic director of OI will do to Macbeth - I really cannot stand most of what he does.....I'm also down in Dublin the weekend of oct 23 so going to see the HD broadcast of Aida at Dun laugharie. Will be interested in the report on maria Padilla it is the one that tempts me this year at WFO.




  • No, I don't bother with OI, I'm afraid. Went to their Carmen once and thought it was very mediocre. Also saw the hideous Traviata with x-rays of diseased lungs all over the stage. Might have bought tickets for Macbeth if Miriam Murphy had been the Lady as I gather she is amazing. But it's somebody else. Anyway, I hate the acoustics at the Gaiety - the sound just seem to stop dead about half way between the stage and your ears.
    Anyway, for what they charge I'd rather get a cheap flight to somewhere in Germany and see the real thing.
    I'm toying with the idea of going to Belfast to see one or two of Opera North's productions there. The Cosi is supposed to be fab. Have you ever seen any of their stuff?




  • No, I don't bother with OI, I'm afraid. Went to their Carmen once and thought it was very mediocre. Also saw the hideous Traviata with x-rays of diseased lungs all over the stage. Might have bought tickets for Macbeth if Miriam Murphy had been the Lady as I gather she is amazing. But it's somebody else. Anyway, I hate the acoustics at the Gaiety - the sound just seem to stop dead about half way between the stage and your ears.
    Anyway, for what they charge I'd rather get a cheap flight to somewhere in Germany and see the real thing.
    I'm toying with the idea of going to Belfast to see one or two of Opera North's productions there. The Cosi is supposed to be fab. Have you ever seen any of their stuff?

    I went to Uni in Leeds in the late 70s early 80s when opera north or English National Opera North which it was born as came into being in 1979. I have a very soft spot for the company - they are very competent and come up with some really good stuff a couple of years ago I went over to Belfast to see their Grimes; I had seen it earlier in the year with a trip over to Leeds - it was quite outstanding; yes a friend of mine in the UK had recommended the Cosi to me - and the top price front of dress circle tickets in Belfast are I think about £40 (ie about 42 euro with todays exchange rates), and there are tickets at decent prices in other parts of the house. The OI prices this year are outrageous but then they do suffer as a company with this government we have and the past attitudes to operas underfunding - I too have my artistic doubts about OI - I just cannot stand Dieter Kaegis Artistic Direction - the company really do need to rid themselves of this fool. Don Carlos a few years ago was a complete outrage, if you saw it he had the Grand Inquisitor in a sedan being carried through a stage of dead leaves (which made a racket) whilst he chewed on an apple and tossed it out of his Sedan - Princess Eboli sang her massive aria with a drop net curtain behind her with seemingly three naked women cavorting behind her - it was total nonsense, I booed heartily at the end of it the nozze di Figaro in which he had Figaro measuring his manliness under the sheets rather than the bedroom in the opening scene was cheapness beyond belief, I hissed and booed that production. His desperate direction of Ariadne two years ago - the list goes on - I have got the cheapest seat possible on the edge upstairs for Macbeth frankly with Dieter Kaegi in charge if it gets crap reviews I will boo it from the rafters, (I do get a tad emotional about my opera). On OI ticket prices the most expensive in the house for OI Macbeth are 120 euro for the front of the Dress circle - 120 to see opera ireland! its a joke and of course now they won't have the wannabe seen at the opera rent a crowd anymore with this recession on. I forgot to mention opera north on my opening whats on essay - the Cosi and Werther would be well worth going to and Belfast is very doable now from Dublin with the motorway for a night out, its a hike for me from Sligo but will probably do it for Cosi.....




  • Thanks for that. It occurs to me that the nearest place to Dublin which has real opera is Cardiff. I must go there at some stage to check out the WNO. Have you ever been there?
    I quite agree about Kaegi. That's a problem in Germany in general - ordinary theatre as well as opera. They get such huge subsidies that they can do what they like and have absolutely no need to put on stuff that people actually want to see. In in ideal world I'd be at Covent Garden pretty frequently (with Ryanair's free flights who wouldn't?) but their ticket prices are completely off the scale.




  • westtip wrote: »
    I'm also down in Dublin the weekend of oct 23 so going to see the HD broadcast of Aida at Dun laugharie.

    I live about 2 miles from there but am completely unable to remember the ridiculous spelling. I usually opt for Dun Leary.


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  • I live about 2 miles from there but am completely unable to remember the ridiculous spelling. I usually opt for Dun Leary.

    Jonny I have had trouble spelling DL since I was about 15. Re Cardiff it is a sensational theatre - although big the acousitic is superb like so many of these new build theatres the modern acoustic engineering technology moves things to another plain - it does lack a sense of intimacy though in particular for earlier repertoire operas, but it is worth going to for the venue alone - they have done a great job renovating the cardiff docklands where the new millenium theatre is located. For WNO there are other venues:

    Birmingham - v easy to to get to and simple train link from the airport to city centre and clean reasonable priced hotels in city centre. the birmingham hippodrome is a bit of a barn and has a huge overhang in the stalls - avoid sitting under this it kills the sound Front stalls or anywhere in the circle is fine. Just got this e-flyer from WNO today so you can see whats on in Birmingham http://www.petergill.com/eflyer/wno/18345/Birmingham/index.html


    If you pick your seats at Covent Garden there is reasonable value for the highest world class opera - just check the entire house. I reckon best value in CG are lower slips side, at the same level as the front row of the ampitheatre slightly restricted view but I saw the Ring from these seats two years ago - and it was superb and recently saw un ballo and Tosca from the same seats and really not that expensive compared to what you can pay in Covent Garden. These tickets do go quick though...

    Other UK venues easy to get to with cheap flights - Nottingham theatre royal - Opera north go there, (fly to East midlands) gem of a victorian theatre not dissimilar to the GOH in Belfast, Leeds Grand theatre (direct flites to leeds bradford) another fine victorian theatre renovated about six years ago - and fine for viewing and sound. Glasgow (flites to prestwick or Glasgow) - Theatre Royal home of SNO and similar to Leeds in scale also renovated, Glasgow is very easy to get to and again plenty of hotel choice in the city at reasonable prices. Really despite the hammering the arts is taking in the UK as well - they are relatively well placed (compared to this cultural desert) with reasonable opera, but then there are 60 odd million people there - so it is all relative I suppose. On the glasgow on it is possible when they do matinees to fly over in the morning, go to the matinee and fly back that evening - its a nice day out especially with very cheap flites - I will do some research on it!

    Here you go - For example Scottish opera have a late afternoon matinee on Oct 24 of the italian Girl in Algiers curtain up at 4.00 pm max down by 7.00 pm flites ex Dublin to Prestwick mid morning from Ryanair and flying back about 10.00 pm ex prestwick (good train link takes about 40 minutes glasgow central to prestwick) Glasgow central is about ten minutes walk from the Theatre Royal. If there is a cheap deal on flites a half decent ticket and taking into account your train ticket, take a packed lunch or treat yourself and you could do it for a 100 euro return inc your opera ticket. mind I checked the flites and no great deals that day. Maybe a footie match on involving Celtic. but it gives you some idea. You could of course go over saturday and enjoy L'esir d'amore on saturday evening - one nights hotel and two operas not bad.

    But I agree you do need to look outside Ireland at what is going on on our doorstep in the UK.




  • Wow, a real live opera nut!!! I've been in Ireland for nearly 10 years now and haven't yet met a real full-blooded opera nut. I was beginning to think there weren't any. So maybe there's hope for this country yet....




  • I've just noticed you mention the Italian Girl in Algiers. I can't go as it's the day after the opera in Wexford. Also, the trouble is that I once saw that opera at Covent Garden in an absolutely exquisite production by Jean Pierre Ponnelle. The role of Isabella was sung by Marilyn Horne. I'm scared that to see it again would spoil the memories I have of that performance.




  • I've just noticed you mention the Italian Girl in Algiers. I can't go as it's the day after the opera in Wexford. Also, the trouble is that I once saw that opera at Covent Garden in an absolutely exquisite production by Jean Pierre Ponnelle. The role of Isabella was sung by Marilyn Horne. I'm scared that to see it again would spoil the memories I have of that performance.

    Yes jonny this is always a problem - but if you live like that you will never go to the same thing again after you have seen one superlative performance - don't let this kind of thinking stop you! however I got my dates wrong with my typing - the italian girl is on Sunday 25th and L'esir d'amore on saturday 24th. I was looking to get a ticket for Wexford on Friday 23rd for Maria Padilla but only one or two top priced tickets left, I didn't bother booking early - so looks like I will miss it. Never mind can't do everything.

    snippet I picked up from Googling opera in cinema in ireland - looks like the Bray cinema is going down this route to

    http://www.braypeople.ie/news/cinematic-treat-for-opera-lovers-1903028.html




  • westtip wrote: »
    Really despite the hammering the arts is taking in the UK as well - they are relatively well placed (compared to this cultural desert) with reasonable opera, but then there are 60 odd million people there - so it is all relative I suppose.

    Nothing to do with population I'm afraid. Look at cities like Vilnius - half a million people but with a fabulous, flourishing opera.




  • Don't know what I did to this post but managed to edit out all the information I had put in about Wexford, Opera Theatre Company, Met broadcasts etc.- sorry will try and update it later today

    Opera at the Cinema: also look at this web site and scroll down to ireland http://www.operaincinema.com/opera_dates.htm

    Bellinis I Puritani at http://www.imccinemas.ie/default.asp?idcinema=24

    Only showing at two imc cinemas Athlone and Dundalk - Athlone doable from West Dublin in about an hour now on the motorway - only ten euro for tickets - I am really not sure where this production is from, the informaton on the IMC website is pretty scant - my guess is it is this one judging by the pic on the IMC website - which seems to match the one in this link http://www.emergingpictures.com/puritani.htm - This was recorded at the Teatro communale in bologna and feature Juan Diego florez in the role of Arturo worth going to hear this in HD - he is quite superb in this kind of role

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qtS1T - worht looking at - Rest of the cast:

    Ugo Guagliardo (Lord Gualtiero Valton)
    Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (Sir Giorgio)
    Juan Diego Florez (Lord Arturo Talbo)
    Gabriele Viviani (Sir Riccardo Forth)
    Gianluca Floris (Sir Bruno Robertson)
    Nadia Pirazzini (Enrichetta di Francia)
    Nino Machaidze (Elvira)


    Synopsis of the opera the opera here http://www.musicwithease.com/i-puritani-synopsis.html

    The trailer on this site is superb http://www.emergingpictures.com/puritani_trailer.htm [QUOTE/]

    Just an amendment to this post the recorded performance of I Puritani is been shown at one or two other cinemas later this week look at the operaincinema.com website and route through to whats showing in Ireland:

    Omniplex Galway Galway Retail Park
    Headford Road, Galway I PURITANI: 1st and 2nd Nov

    Omniplex Cork Mahon Point Shopping Centre
    Mahon, Co Cork I PURITANI: 25th and 26th Oct


    Well worth going to - saw it last night in Athlone - Nino Machaidze (Elvira) is sensational in this performance - and the last act Duet between her and Juan Diego Florez (Lord Arturo Talbo) was quite something else! Florez was brilliant in the Vieni Vieni aria. Other hightlights the superb choral work, the 3rd act duet between Riccardo and Valton, the A te Cara and the mad scene (quite superb)....and of course the incredibly bizarre ending to what is one of the most bizarre operas in the repertoire. For ten euro in Athlone it was a snip.




  • I hear the hit of the festival is the Donizetti Mara Padilla - I guess this was to be expected. I didn't make it this year - Any views from those that did.




  • Really quite a bumper week in our fair isle,

    Tonight 26th sorry a bit late to notify but the I Puritani mentioned in a post above on screen in on in Cork, also next week on the 1st and 2nd in Galway - check out www.operaincinema.com and juswt click through to whats on in Irealnd - this is well worth going to see.

    Opera North - the regional UK opera company with their home in Leeds bring two really worthwhile productions to audience at the Grand Opera House in Belfast Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti on 28th and 30th and Werthers Massenet on 29th and 31st. www.operanorth.co.uk

    Both of these are well worth the trip - I hear the Massenet is particularly good.

    The North also has a treat in stall in Armagh on 27th with OTC Alcina also on in Tallaght on 29th. www.opera.ie

    And of course Wexford festival Opera continues all week with the three main showings on consecutivve nights of the week - I hear the Maria Padilla has some great singing voices in it. visit the website www.wexfordopera.com for latest ticket news.

    Went to the Aida from the Met at the cinema on Saturday - actually a bit disappointing not my favourite Verdi Opera and the broadcast in the first act was affected by the bad weather - but a full house at the IMC at Dun Laoghaire, 300 or so people on a wet saturday night.

    Opera Ireland still has tickets for the upcoming season so get on line and book to go if you can. Any news from anyone else on Opera in Ireland??

    So here is an opera diary for the week: Monday I Puritani on screen in Cork, Tuesday Alcina in Armagh, Wed Cosi in Belfast, Thursday Werther in Belfast, Friday, ghost of Versailles, Saturday Double Bill Une Éducation Manquée / La Cambiale di Matrimonio Sunday Maria Padiollathe three offerings from Wexford - A different opera every night in Ireland is possible this week!!!!




  • westtip wrote: »
    A different opera every night in Ireland is possible this week!!!!

    Well worth the "!!!!" marks.

    I recommend the Alcina. Its on in a few other locations around the country also. Check their site. Wasnt as good as the Xerxes earlier in the year but good nonetheless.

    Too late, but dont think the Lyric Opera Carmen in the NCH got a mention here. Was well performed and sung. Impressed by Claudia Boyle - fine voice.




  • westtip wrote: »
    I hear the hit of the festival is the Donizetti Mara Padilla - I guess this was to be expected. I didn't make it this year - Any views from those that did.

    Hi Westtip,
    Yes, I was there on Friday. In fact I'm still in Wexford as the kids are off school this week.
    I didn't particularly like the production, but the singing was stupendous. I haven't got time now - I'll write in a bit more detail this evening.


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  • Sandwich wrote: »
    Well worth the "!!!!" marks.

    I recommend the Alcina. Its on in a few other locations around the country also. Check their site. Wasnt as good as the Xerxes earlier in the year but good nonetheless.

    Too late, but dont think the Lyric Opera Carmen in the NCH got a mention here. Was well performed and sung. Impressed by Claudia Boyle - fine voice.

    Sandwich thanks. Vivian will never forgive me for not including his shows! He does such a great job on limited resources. I had not checked out his latest offerings - Opera nut I maybe but I am afraid Carmen is just the one in the repertoire I would not give a dime for! Just one of those things and nothing will ever persaude me.

    I'm going to OTC in Galway next week - they are such a great company at this kind of opera.
    Hi Westtip,
    Yes, I was there on Friday. In fact I'm still in Wexford as the kids are off school this week.
    I didn't particularly like the production, but the singing was stupendous. I haven't got time now - I'll write in a bit more detail this evening.

    Jonny yes I heard the singing was really wonderful in the Maria Padilla. Did you catch anything else. I didn't hear good things about the double bill.




  • The following press release has gone out today about Live HD broadcasts of the New York Met Opera Saturday Matinees - performed live in NY City Lincoln centre at 1.00 pm local time 6.00 pm irish time - the Gaiety Cinema in Sligo had been due to start broadcasting these events with the first opera Tosca four weeks ago - and Aida last Saturday - there are 7 more broadcasts being done every two weeks starting from November 7th with Puccini's Turandot - the one that includes the iamous Nessun Dorma at the end of the opera for those not into opera - this is a great way to see international standard opera - and here in Sligo - If you have never tried opera - give this a go, you never know you might get bitten by the bug, and if you are an opera fan in the north west well just enjoy, here is the chance to see one of the great opera companies of the world with stellar casts in an entirely new way....

    Had to put this one up on the thread as its also great news for me as it means I don't have to drive down the N17 to get to Galway to these performances!!!! Well done the Gaiety in Sligo.

    Press ReleaseNovember 2009

    Opera Live
    at
    GCG, Sligo


    The Metropolitan Opera Live via satellite from New York for the first time to GCG, gaiety cinema group, 12 Screen Multiplex, Wine St, Sligo.
    The Met Live in HD Season begins in Sligo on Saturday 7th November
    with a
    New Production of Puccini’s Turandot
    Tickets for this are now on sale at GCG Sligo.


    Following the success of the inaugural Opera Ireland presents the MET Live in HD series last season, tickets for the fourth season of the Metropolitan Opera’s popular, award-winning series of live transmissions to GCG, Sligo are on sale now. 24 hour c/c booking 1520927011, www.gaietysligo.com or office hours on 071-9162651 .

    Due to the phenomenal success and popularity of the first season in Ireland last year, Opera Ireland in association with RTE Lyric fm has expanded the number of venues and locations to include eleven cinemas and theatres around the country North and South. Ticket prices are €25 each.

    The 2009-10 season, featuring seven live opera transmissions, opens in Sligo on Saturday, November 7th at 6pm with Maria Guleghina and Marcello Giordani in Puccini’s Turandot.

    More than 900 theaters in 42 countries around the world are participating in The Met: Live in HD this season. A record number of more than 1.8 million Live in HD tickets were sold last season.



    Four other new productions are featured in the series, including Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann starring Joseph Calleja in the title role, with Anna Netrebko and Alan Held; Bizet’s Carmen starring Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna; Natalie Dessay and Simon Keenlyside in Thomas’s Hamlet; and Rossini’s Armida starring Renée Fleming. The HD season also includes Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier with Fleming and Susan Graham; and Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra starring Plácido Domingo, singing the title role for the first time at the Met. James Levine leads four of the HD transmissions. Complete casting and details of the season’s Live in HD performances follows below.

    Commenting on the expansion of the Met live series in Ireland, Niall Doyle, Chief Executive Opera Ireland stated “One of the developments of our last season was Opera Ireland’s partnership with the Metropolitan Opera bringing the spectacular Met Live in HD live opera relays from New York to Ireland for the first time. Thanks to the huge success of that initial test programme and the demand all around the country, we are delighted this season to expand to a countrywide network of 11 venues. We hope to bring a whole new audience to opera in Ireland as well as enriching the operatic menu for already committed opera fans.”

    The Met: Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant from the Neubauer Family Foundation. Bloomberg L.P. is the global corporate sponsor of The Met: Live in HD. The HD broadcasts are supported by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®.

    For further information, images or to reserve your press tickets please contact:
    (Paul Keenan, General Manager, GCG, gaiety cinema group, 12 Screen Multiplex, Wine St, Sligo 071-9162651 )




  • westtip wrote: »
    Jonny yes I heard the singing was really wonderful in the Maria Padilla. Did you catch anything else. I didn't hear good things about the double bill.

    I'm finally back at home and able to report back about Wexford.
    The only opera I saw was Maria Padilla, and as I said the singing was stupendous. While it's true that Donizetti is mostly predictable formulas of "cavatina + recitative + cabaletta" etc, this particular opera had a number of unusual characteristics. Firstly, the ardent boyfriend is a baritone and the heroine's father is a tenor, secondly there is an exquisite duet for the two sisters (soprano + mezzo), and thirdly there is a mad-scene for the tenor rather than the soprano.
    The best voices were the American Barbara Quintiliani (Maria), the tenor Adriano Graziani (Maria's father) and the baritone Marco Caria.
    The staging was of the "black box" school - i.e. the action just takes place in a non-descript place, devoid of any particular location or period, which was a bit ridiculous as there are many place names mentioned in the text - Castile (Spain), France, Paris etc. The costumes were modern - the male choir singers wore tuxedos with white shirts and black bow ties which made them look as if members of the audience had quickly jumped on stage. The worst thing about the staging was that it did nothing to highlight the progression of the story - it was hard to know what was going on even with subtitles. And the scenery was ridiculous - something which resembled a gigantic pile of lego in act one, chairs going up and down in act two. Sigh. But it was worth seeing for the singing, and to be reminded of the amazing acoustics in the Wexford theatre.
    I also heard the Prague Chamber Choir, who sang a selection of a-capella pieces by famous and less-famous czech composers. One particular piece by Martinu stood out. The way they sing this complex music unaccompanied without the slightest wavering of pitch is nothing short of miraculous. Food for the soul.




  • Here's the program of the concert (lifted from the Wexford Festival Website):

    Alessandro Scarlatti (1660 – 1725): Exsultate Deo
    Tomasso Ludovico da Vittoria (1540-1611): Magnum mysterium
    Bohuslav Martinů(1890 – 1959): Romance Z Pampelisèk (1957)
    Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Trois Chansons de Charles d’Orleans (1898-1908)
    Arnost Parsch (1936): Bohemia – Víno
    Jozef Swider (b1930): Cantus Gloriosus




  • Cosi Fan Tutte ossia La Scuola degle Amanti (They're Fickle Bitches - But That's Women for Ya, or, Dont Ya Just Love 'em Anyway).


    Saw the Opera North performance in Belfast. Hadnt seen it in a while and enjoyed it very much. Production looked very well (revival of a 2004 one, dont remember it coming to this isle) and acting was engaging. Singing so so but no real flaws, just consistently OK. Orchestral playing was nice but a little muffled from the BGOH pit. The English translation good also but the usual caveat with this option - regular jarring when it you dont hear the original words you know so well.

    Hopefully the packed house will encourage more frequent returns.

    Debate clearup for anyone else who has seen this box camera set. For me : the camera was turned on us the audience - when opened we saw the image of ourselves enacted on stage. For my companion: the audience was the photographer, a voyeur on the characters it was observing. Or maybe it was something altogether:confused:




  • Slightly less pickings on offer for opera goers this week in Ireland after a bumper week last week.

    OTC continue with Alcina in Galway Dundalk and Cork on 3rd 5th and 7th rescpectively.

    I Puritani on screen in Cork on the 2nd

    and Turandot live from the Met next Saturday 7th at various locations including yippee for me! Sligo.

    Any other operatic recitials etc then please do add....




  • This saturdays opera is an interesting one Turandot the final opera from the Maestro Puccini, the last act of the score was actually arranged by the famous conductor Toscanini who conducted the premier after the maestros death.

    A synopsis of the opera is here: http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/history/stories/synopsis.aspx?id=26

    Of course the finale of the opera contains one of the great anthems of the operatic repertoire - Nessun dorma - made so famous as his signature tune by the late great Luciano Pavorotti.

    Listen to the great man sing it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr5vpHtJIlg

    The other big show stopper is the great Questa Reggia to be heard by the main protaganist of the opera Turandot herself

    here is a recording of one of the greats singing it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSSLtS2KUfo&feature=related

    the unmistakable voice of Callas.

    The final scene of the MY Met in 1988 can be viewed here - i think the Saturday show is a new production but this will give you an idea of how the NY met does "Grand Opera"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoTa-b7cUw0

    Enjoy these clips and enjoy the opera if you go....




  • Well I consider myself lucky enough to have seen a lot of opera in my life, and digging through my programmes before attending tonights Turandot HD live Met broadcast I realised the last time I saw Turandot was in December 1997, I was in NY City and it was the very same magnificent famous Zefferelli production.

    Zefferelli is not only a talented opera director he is also very blessed and very fortunate in his career to have been handed the dollars he was to produce such a sumptious show, with this one, he must be the envy of opera directors around the world. The Met Turandot is Cinematic in its proportions (like his famous Met La Boheme production), this production lent itself well to this form of cinematic HD telecast operatic experience. It is a production of immense proportions - that only a house like the Met is truly capable of and which the more traditional New York opera audienceds demand.

    Watching the opera in this format on the big screen with the huge Zefferelli sets and detail involved in this production right down to the long finger nails, reminded me a litttle of watching those great classic 1930s and 1940s Hollywood movies of the Astaire and Rogers variety, cinematic scale sets on the cinema screen.

    The Met have assembled a wonderful cast for this production, and importantly the four main principals all shone, although some more than others; Maria Poplavskaya as Liu, Marcello Giordani as Calaf and Maria Guleghina as Turandot and The old hand Samuel Ramey as Timur, but the shining star is without a doubt Maria Poplavskaya - I just googled her and found this piece in the London Evening Standard:

    The Royal Opera House will name an unknown Russian soprano as one of the stars of its new season. As Elisabetta in Verdi's Don Carlo, Marina Poplavskaya, 29, will sing a role originally earmarked for Angela Gheorghiu, who withdrew on the grounds that it did not suit her voice.

    After tonights viewing on HD broadcast to opera goers globally this voice is no longer an unknown Russian Soprano - she is a voice we are all going to be making an effort to go and hear. Her commanding and soaring voice will truly be something to relish in the great verdi roles. Make it to London if you can for her Elisabetta, it is something to look forward to.

    Maria Guleghina was quite frightening in her Questa Reggia in what was a stunning second act, Calaf, Marcello Giordani who showed signs of strain in the second act had a good gargle in the interview and shone in his showpiece Nessun Dorma. He has the true robust volume required to satisfy the vocal demands of this huge house and is showpiece was quite rightly well received by the New Yorkers. Samuel Ramey as Timur was workmanlike and maybe his best days are past him, he seemed a bit tired in the role today.

    The supporting roles of Ping Pang and Pong wre very ably sung the second act trio and pantomine they play was both well acted and sung by the trio.

    This opera is a strange one. There is little doubt that both Calaf and Turandot deserve each other in the end. Calaf proves what a prick he is after the death of Liu. Tonight I saw this is Sligo - there was a minor technical difficulty in the first act which apparently was experienced in all irish cinemas showing the opera, once they turned the volume up half way through the first act this was a good night out and a good operatic experience. It is not the same as live opera in the theatre, but nevertheless is an added bonus for opera fans in many corners of the globe far removed from the great opera houses of the world. I hope Calaf and Turandot will be very happy together, he wanted her for the money and she realised after executing so many suitors she was likely to end on the shelf, I left the cinema tonight realising they are the most shallow couple in opera!

    The other good news was being able to catch the last hour of Maria Padilla on the radio on the way home! Some fine singing in that performance as othes have reported - I see what you mean johny.




  • Really after fairly rich offerings for opera goers in ireland we have a bit of a lull before the autumn season from opera ireland.

    No cinematic opera to report this week that I can find anyway; and the only thing I can find is the Frederica von Stade celebrity concert at the NcH on Thursday (12th).

    Now don't get me wrong - FvS is one of the finest singers of her generation - and if this concert were 20 years ago i would be queuing up for returns; the fact is this is a farewell tour concert which always makes me step away. If you have not seen or heard her sing go along - it will be your last chance to hear her live in Ireland, but I prefer to remember her at her best 25 years ago in Covent Garden.

    The programme on offer is not that challenging and well says a lot. Hearing her in Nozze di Figaro in the mid 1980s will stay in my mind:

    Reminded myself with this link even earlier in her career - I just love this aria, this one is from a sublime Figaro in the 1970s at Glyndebourne and no I did not (unfortunatley) see it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7y3_SZqNi4&feature=PlayList&p=A64057699582354B&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=19

    The highly successful OTC Alcina tour is now over, it was I think their best Handel effort for a long time - what a tremendous company OTC is.

    If I hear of anything mid week will post up - if you know of anything else post it up.

    And do enjoy that Cherubino artia - I think we will make it aria of the week and good luck on Thursday Frederica you do have a wonderful voice and thanks for a great career.


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  • Throw me out if I'm taking your thread outside its intended purpose.

    But what are the views here on the change to state funding of opera as seems to be intended: merging the 3 opera companies, base in Wexford, full productions limited outside that to Dublin etc. Each of the companies seems to be squeeling "they dont understand the situation, dont cut us, we are already cut to the bone, save elsewhere" etc (but then, what section of the ecomony isnt singing the same aria?).


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