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

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,463 ✭✭✭marienbad


    westtip wrote: »
    Well yes I know your point, if I missed this Boheme it would not be the end of the world, but I do feel it is so important to support OTC as there is so little indigenous opera output these days in Ireland. In fact more important to go see this than a live Met broadcast. We haven't even got a Minister for the Arts these days. So if we can we should try and get to see this OTC output.


    Excellent point westtip , I will make the effort to go .


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    OTC Boheme was quite superb. Full of energy and really good young voices. This is what La boheme should be like. Energy, Pathos and just an all round excellent production. Well done OTC once again you have delivered a gem to the opera going public of Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    Opera North Ring Cycle is an absolute hit! Half way through the Nottingham performances. Siegfried tonight. An absolute consummate joy to experience


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    The saga continues. Everything that has been written in the press about this opera north Ring Cycle is true and some. Siegfried was just astonishing. My twelfth full Ring Cycle...... This one is up there with the best ever.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,463 ✭✭✭marienbad


    The Killaloe Music Festival kicked off tonight and I know it is not opera but there was a stunning song cycle by Ian Wilson called Bewitched for soprano 2 violins ,viola and double bass .

    It was done in conjunction with the Adelaide & Meath Hospital Stroke Unit where he interviewed patients and staff and watched the comings and goings over a period of time . The song lyrics are taken directly from his interviews with both patients and staff , all interspersed with Doris Day songs . I know it sounds weird but it was simply magnificent , moving and inspiring - best thing I have heard in quite a while . The composer was there himself to give us the background and it was everything live performance can be . It was recorded by Lyric so catch it if you can .

    The soprano was Deirdre Moynihan . I hadn't heard her before but I will make sure to see her again as she was outstanding . She has some range as she also performed a Vivaldi Cantata.

    A great night was had by all


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    My Ring Saga in Nottingham (easily reached by East Midlands airport) concluded last night in what I can only describe as one of the most exciting, creative and simply stunning nights at the opera in my entire life, and I have seen twelve full Ring Cycles over the years. This one left me breathless and very tired after a fifteen minute standing ovation (something I have never witnessed in any opera house, never mind one in the UK), I was truly exhausted with sheer joy. I know we only talk opera in Ireland on this thread, but there are some things you need to share with others. Beg steal, borrow steal; if you can get a ticket jump on a flight and go. This Ring Cycle is truly a once off experiece. Well done Opera North I only wish they has bought it to Belfast, a city Opera North have in the past graced with its presence, really quite unbelievable. Stunning.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,463 ✭✭✭marienbad


    Just listened to Boris Godunov from the Proms on BBC Radio 3 with Bryn Terfel as Boris with the Royal Opera Orchestra and chorus under Antonio Pappano

    What a grand way to spend Saturday evening , one of my favourite operas . Opera Ireland did a marvellous production some years ago when we still did opera in Dublin :mad:

    Well worth a listen on the playback


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    marienbad wrote: »
    Just listened to Boris Godunov from the Proms on BBC Radio 3 with Bryn Terfel as Boris with the Royal Opera Orchestra and chorus under Antonio Pappano

    What a grand way to spend Saturday evening , one of my favourite operas . Opera Ireland did a marvellous production some years ago when we still did opera in Dublin :mad:

    Well worth a listen on the playback

    It was great when I saw it at the ROH a few months back, Il Trovatore also good their on Thursday. The only real disaster this year at ROH was Lucia.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    westtip wrote: »
    The only real disaster this year at ROH was Lucia.
    .......However having listened to this very same Lucia on Lyric last Saturday night I can let go of my anger about this production. Musically and vocally thrilling - I just missed it all on the night I saw it such was the disastrous distraction of the worst production I have seen at the ROH in 40 years! Goes to show that those who buy tickets in the upper slips with no view of the stage do so for good reason!:D


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    Cecilia Bartolli in Norma at the Edinburgh Festival was an operatic highlight of my life on Tuesday, just stupendous!!! :)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,463 ✭✭✭marienbad


    westtip wrote: »
    Cecilia Bartolli in Norma at the Edinburgh Festival was an operatic highlight of my life on Tuesday, just stupendous!!! :)

    I am not a great Cecilia fan but at the same time I wouldn't mind having a listen - was it on the BBC do you know ?

    I might just check the iplayer .


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    marienbad wrote: »
    I am not a great Cecilia fan but at the same time I wouldn't mind having a listen - was it on the BBC do you know ?

    I might just check the iplayer .

    Not sure if R3 recorded it, there were no signs of usual drop ceiling radio mikes you see when they are broadcasting, but they may have recorded an earlier performance, only 4 were given in Edinburgh. Great production. As for Cecilia, I wouldn't have put her down as a Norma, but she delivered within her voice, Her Casta Diva was breathtaking. All other roles were very good, the scenes between Norma and Adalgisa (Rebecca Oliver, a young Mexican soprano) were very intimate musically, with wonderful blending of the voices. There are so few opportunities to hear CB. She hasn't been to the ROH for years. Believe me. She was fabulous!


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,463 ✭✭✭marienbad


    Anybody else go to the ROH cinema broadcast of Norma last night ? It was quite excellent if the staging was a bit odd . Done by a Spanish guy Alex Olle- all the Franco/Falange/Fascist/ Catholic bit and that was just the Druids !

    Still Sonya Yoncheva as Norma and Joseph Calleja as Pollione were excellent and Papppano outstanding as usual .

    And last Thursday we had Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera broadcast from the National Theatre and as I had never seen it ,it was a must see for me . Actors rather than singers so that was a bit of a disappointment . Still I can see where Cabaret and Sweeney Todd came from .

    These cinema broadcasts are a real treasure

    And in between I had the New Ross Piano Festival - the Schumann /Franck / Faure piano quintets being the highlights.

    I am all musicked out at this stage :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    Missed it dam. Where was it on?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,463 ✭✭✭marienbad


    westtip wrote: »
    Missed it dam. Where was it on?

    Omniplex Cinema


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,440 ✭✭✭The Rape of Lucretia


    marienbad wrote: »
    I am not a great Cecilia fan but at the same time I wouldn't mind having a listen - was it on the BBC do you know ?

    I might just check the iplayer .

    I think she is really top drawer actually. One of the handful of greats from the last 25 years.



    Sir John in the Gaiety from OTC and Roddy Doyle over the next few evenings.
    I know. Opera. With real live musicians and singers. On a stage. In Ireland !!!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,440 ✭✭✭The Rape of Lucretia


    Sir John in the Gaiety from OTC and Roddy Doyle over the next few evenings.
    I know. Opera. With real live musicians and singers. On a stage. In Ireland !!!

    Middling in every way, and marred by Roddy Doylisms.

    Poor staging, mediocre at best orchestra, voices on the whole not bad actually, Maire Flavin and Alexander Sprague the pick, Erraught's Donna Elvira unremarkable (as she was in WOO's Barbiere). It really didnt inspire at all, and while it had the superficial components of a full staging, some of OTC's seemingly lesser/smaller productions had far more soul and success.

    And to Roddy. Story Rodser ? Well, picking an off the shelf translation would have been so much better. Translations can work. This one did an me hoop. Its best moments were where it simply did no harm to this masterpiece and the words faded to blur in the music, and you couldnt distinguish them. Whatever it was trying to do, it brought nothing to the party. And spoiled by cheap Dublin argo that would have been cringy even by Mrs Brown's Boys standards. Frickin banjaxed it was. What is with people together in a crowd that some people's humour threshold falls through the floor and they laugh at the mere uttering of the word 'eegit' or 'slapper' or 'bowsie'? Just givin yus the heads up. Not sure if he was trying to channel some authentic Irish context, some throwback to Brendan Behan, or the spirits of Maureen Potter pantos are just too strong in the Gaiety to avoid contaminating Mozart. Stick to the day job Roddy. Scarlet fa ya.

    Still. Opera. Live, In Dublin ! Full house an all, wha' !


  • Registered Users Posts: 183 ✭✭Level 5 Vegan


    Heading to it on Sunday night, wasn't cheap so hopin' I enjoy more than you did.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,034 ✭✭✭garancafan


    Reporting from Wexford:

    Vanessa: Excellent production, quality soloists, just not my type of music

    Herculanum: Blew me away, top-drawer soloists, chorus (Wexford's trump-card) regularly hitting fortissimo - still tingling

    Il Campanello: Opera Buffa at it's finest


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,903 ✭✭✭McLoughlin


    I've enjoyed the evening operas in Wexford this year and was surprised to hear that another Wexford opera festival will be starting in March/April 2018


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,034 ✭✭✭garancafan


    McLoughlin wrote: »
    I've enjoyed the evening operas in Wexford this year and was surprised to hear that another Wexford opera festival will be starting in March/April 2018

    Wha? Tell us more. (The ol' tux is wearing a bit thin).


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,903 ✭✭✭McLoughlin


    Yeah they are planning to introduce a new season with popular well known operas in spring (March April) to go with the rare operas in October November. 6 months between each festival.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,018 ✭✭✭shoegirl


    McLoughlin wrote: »
    Yeah they are planning to introduce a new season with popular well known operas in spring (March April) to go with the rare operas in October November. 6 months between each festival.
    Great idea. Would make the most of their existing success and maximise utilisation of the resources they've already got.
    Kudos to Wexford for coming up with this plan. Just don't clash with the European Cup rugby, please!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    McLoughlin wrote: »
    I've enjoyed the evening operas in Wexford this year and was surprised to hear that another Wexford opera festival will be starting in March/April 2018

    Trying to take on the mantel of an actual National Opera Company - good for them, I suggested this idea about six years ago to the then Minister of Arts, of course we don't have one of them now!


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,463 ✭✭✭marienbad


    Just back from Wexford .

    The Highlights for me were Riders to the Sea and Vanessa . A quite stunning production , for the life of me I can't understand why it is not performed more often.

    Herculanum was nice and melodic and all that but I can't see it being revived anytime soon . And why move it to what I presume was 2nd Empire France ? added nothing to our understanding of the piece .

    I really enjoyed Maria de Rudenz , but I found the use of the puppets just distracting . Otherwise an outstanding production with marvellous soloists.

    Vanessa without doubt the outstanding opera of the season ( but not really an undiscovered work ) but it was great to get the opportunity to see it.

    And the lovely dry Autumn weather made it all so pleasant . A great few days


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,996 ✭✭✭Expunge


    Would agree on the use of puppets to send up/explain the rather convoluted plot of Maria. Daft and distracting.
    Really enjoyed the music in it though, especially the performance of the South Korean baritone.
    And the bass clarinet solo at the beginning of Act II - Conor Sheil - rare and wonderful.

    According to Stephen Medcalf, director of Herculanum, he set it in the first decade or so of the 19th century (First Empire?) because the French controlled Naples and this part of Italy at the time. Also, he said togas and sandals on opera singers is not practical (in an interview with Sean Rafferty on Radio 3's coverage of Herculanum)

    I'd agree with you that Vanessa was the pick of the bunch in a fab setting and production.

    As for the Wexford Spring Season from 2018, I'd say every other opera company will have something to say about that if even more precious resources are to go to the Wexford Festival.
    Why can't another opera company run the spring season in Wexford?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,440 ✭✭✭The Rape of Lucretia


    Expunge wrote: »
    Why can't another opera company run the spring season in Wexford?

    Rather, whoever runs it, why cant it be run in Dublin instead of Wexford? Bring opera to the people, not expect people to come to the opera. Wex Fest has its role and is successful in its well deserved niche.
    But a general season is not going to get the travelling faithful, to a corner of Ireland, that the festival does. Any further funds for opera in this country must be spent on Dublin productions to maximise the potential audience. A tie up with NI Opera is an obvious link for the benefit of both sides of the border, and must be developed. The island is small enough, and with a small enough opera clientel. More Wexford would be bonkers, and terrible value for taxpayer money.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,996 ✭✭✭Expunge


    Got to agree with those sentiments. Wexford is really, really good at doing what they do.
    They have their funding model: One third Arts Council Grant, One third ticket sales and one third sponsorship etc. Their US and UK funding streams, built up over many years using the goodwill of really well connected high flying people, are the envy of the rest of the Irish arts/music world.

    Look what happened to the National Concert Hall board when it tried the same thing in New York a few years back.

    Considering Wexford uses about 300 volunteers to make the Festival happen, what will they do to replicate that in the spring? They will spread themselves too thin and possibly harm the Festival itself.

    Anyway, as Lucretia says, a Dublin/Belfast co-production with touring potential to a few of our cities would be much better value for money.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,463 ✭✭✭marienbad


    How we now remember the days of Opera Ireland with fondness ! Four operas every year spread between Spring and Autumn . I had some of my best opera nights there over the years with some brilliant productions - Boris Godunov , The Silver Tassie and lots more . Some right clangers in there also ,but that is the norm for any company.

    What ever happened ? As far as I know it grew out of the old DGOS and was going for over 50 years and seemed to be the first casualty of the Celtic Tiger collapse . I often wonder was the start up of the Anna Livia company competing for funds the final straw ?

    And forget about the touring around - we have the opera theatre company for that . As far as I know Dublin is the only capitol city in Europe without a custom build opera house . And no Cork doesn't have one either - slapping a name on a theatre doesn't make it an opera house .


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,440 ✭✭✭The Rape of Lucretia


    marienbad wrote: »
    How we now remember the days of Opera Ireland with fondness ! Four operas every year spread between Spring and Autumn.

    Indeed. It sure was better than nothing. How a capital city like Dublin can sink so low as to not even have a short opera season is beyond embarrassing.


    Belfast comprehensively won the Battle of the Irish Don Giovannis last night. Some mediocre voices also, but a serious step up in every way from the OTC effort in the Gaiety (and not just for the absence of the Dublinese schtick that scarred that one). Oliver Mears last production, now off to Covent Garden.


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