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11-10-2009, 12:14   #1
westtip
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Opera in Ireland - general discussion thread on all things opera in Ireland

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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12-10-2009, 01:17   #2
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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?
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12-10-2009, 09:35   #3
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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....alpage=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

Last edited by westtip; 13-10-2009 at 00:20.
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13-10-2009, 21:50   #4
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Really appreciate the above advice! will help me out allot
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13-10-2009, 22:28   #5
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You're welcome - I will endeavour to keep this opera thread going with news about upcoming events etc.

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14-10-2009, 13:06   #6
 
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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.
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14-10-2009, 21:00   #7
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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.

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14-10-2009, 21:49   #8
 
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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?
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14-10-2009, 23:30   #9
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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.....

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15-10-2009, 06:55   #10
 
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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.
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15-10-2009, 07:09   #11
 
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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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15-10-2009, 08:53   #12
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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/...ham/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.

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15-10-2009, 22:27   #13
 
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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....
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15-10-2009, 22:31   #14
 
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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.
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17-10-2009, 15:31   #15
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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/cinema...s-1903028.html

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