The curtain rises again for Wexford’s opera festival

Ireland’s October music calendar is usually dominated by events in Wexford and, happy to relate, following last year’s Covid restrictions, the curtain will rise again on the town’s international opera festival next week. Reinstate Running from Tuesday October 19 to Sunday October 31, festival director Rosetta Cucchi has managed to salvage her 2020 plans and…

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Finally…things are starting to look up

Well, as Ira Gershwin, brother of George, said, “Things are looking up”, to which I will add “Praise, the Lord” as the National Concert Hall welcomes back its audiences. Commemorating its 40th anniversary, the NCH, which opened as the country’s principal concert venue on September 9, 1981 (I was there), presented a less demanding, but…

The incomparable genius of Stravinsky

Looking at a BBC Prom, devoted to Stravinsky, on TV recently reminded me that this year commemorates the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death in New York in 1971. Igor Stravinsky was born into a musical family in Oranienbaum near St Petersburg in 1882. While his parents hoped he would become a lawyer Igor persuaded…

A welcome celebration of Handel in Dublin

Congratulations to our period instrument Irish Baroque Orchestra (IBO), currently celebrating its silver jubilee. As part of its anniversary programmes the ensemble presents a short Dublin HandelFest online over the coming weekend – August 20 to 22 – centred in and around Dublin Castle. Beginning with the pastoral Acis and Galatea in St Patrick’s Hall…

Award-winning young musicians

Last time around I mentioned the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) and its Music Bursary as well as this year’s principal winner – Phoebe White whose cellist brother, Killian, received the award in 2018. But there are two smaller, yet significant, sections to the main bursary. One is the €5,000 Jago Award, the other being the…

Recalling the contribution of the RDS to the arts

A long-standing friend invited myself and two other close acquaintances to lunch at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) recently – outside of course in accordance with Government regulations. But the sun shone and the company was convivial. As might be expected the conversation was never far from music and we recalled the RDS’ contribution to…

Necessity is the mother of invention

Great Music in Irish Houses had plans to celebrate its golden jubilee last year but these were scuppered in Covid-19’s unrelentingly treacherous seas. With Government restrictions on gatherings continuing, the commemorative programme could not be revisited meaning headaches for the festival’s artistic director, Ciara Higgins, and her assiduous team. However, Ms Higgins is nothing if…