A welcome time of year for music lovers

This month means new ‘seasons’ opening up not least the National Symphony Orchestra’s at the National Concert Hall, which began on September 9 with the orchestra in splendid form in music by Berg and Mahler. Dating from 1935, Berg’s Violin Concerto was written “in memory of an angel” – Manon Gropius, the recently deceased 19-year-old…

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Veronica Dunne would be proud of the standard

With numerous sponsors, including Hinch Distillery Company, the triennial Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition brought 36 young hopefuls, of whom nine were Irish, to the National Concert Hall last week to participate in its preliminary piano-accompanied rounds before being whittled down to six for the finale with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Laurent Wagner.…

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Musicians and the passage of time

As the saying goes tempus fugit and I am remembering the initial Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition (VDISC) held in 1995 with soprano Orla Boylan its first prizewinner. Ms Boylan still retains the distinction of being the only Irish singer to have been awarded the competition’s premier prize. Competition But, as often happens, competition losers…

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The cornerstone of the French operatic repertoire

“A masterly and nuanced portrayal of hopeless love”, that’s how Irish National Opera describes Jules Massenet’s Werther, which the company will take on a nationwide tour during April and May 2023. But why am I mentioning Werther so far in advance? Well, Lyric Opera presents a fully staged single performance of the piece at the…

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Handel fans are in for a real treat

With its Dublin HandelFest running in Dublin Castle over the weekend – Friday July 15 to Sunday July 17, the Irish Baroque Orchestra (IBO) continues its devotion to the composer who lived in Dublin for almost a year across 1741/42. Conducted by Peter Whelan, tomorrow’s 7.30pm opening event in the Castle’s St Patrick’s Hall, has…

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Sex, sadism, religion and art

Despite the wretched Covid-19 causing the cancellation of a number of events at the National Concert Hall and other venues across the country, I am hoping the upcoming collaboration between Irish National Opera (INO) and Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (BGET) will proceed with its scheduled performances of Puccini’s Tosca at the BGET on July…

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Outstanding young musicians at Dublin piano contest

With President Higgins on hand at the NCH to present the awards and the accompanying NSO under Gerhard Markson, the 12th triennial Dublin International Piano Competition finals had four outstanding young musicians – two Japanese, one Czechian and one Russian – vying for the €15,000 first prize along with a series of engagements across the…

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A feast of Brahms awaits in Dublin

The NSO’s concert at the National Concert Hall tomorrow evening – Friday 20 – brings together two pianist/composers whose lives were intrinsically linked following their first meeting in Düsseldorf in 1853. The senior, by 14 years, was Leipziger Clara Schumann married to composer Robert Schumann; the other was Hamburg-born Johannes Brahms. Robert and Clara were…

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