Category: Music

Classical season gets underway with fine double salvo

Pat O’Kelly   With the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra bringing Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony to the National Concert Hall and Irish National Opera unveiling its production of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann simultaneously in Dublin’s O’Reilly Theatre tomorrow evening, it can be safely said that the 2018/19 ‘classical’ season is well underway. It actually began at…

Westport’s classical approach deserves some attention

Pat O’Kelly   The ever-assiduous Madeleine Flanagan of ‘Classical-links’ in Claregalway keeps me informed of events in the West. Her latest missive draws my attention to this year’s Westport Festival of Chamber Music taking place over the weekend September 7-9. Founded in 2013 by violinist Catherine Leonard and pianist Hugh Tinney, they continue to guide…

Wonderful opportunity to hear Jennifer Davis at the NCH

Pat O’Kelly   Enthusiastic reviews greeted Co. Tipperary soprano Jennifer Davis following her recent Covent Garden debut as Elsa of Brabant in Wagner’s Lohengrin. Latvian diva Kristine Opolais was the scheduled Elsa in this new production that opened in June, but she withdrew from the staging relatively close to opening night. Jennifer Davis, who is…

Olga Barry spotlights Kilkenny with superb programme

Pat O’Kelly   Completing his five-year term at the Kilkenny Arts Festival, Eugene Downes steps down as artistic director later this month. His mantle passes to Olga Barry, currently Festival Producer, whom Downes describes as “a gifted and respected arts leader”. Since his appointment in 2013, Dublin-born Downes has revitalised the festival’s ‘classical’ music element…

de Niese’s return a highlight of the summer in Dublin

Pat O’Kelly   A recent report, commissioned by RTÉ and undertaken by the BBC’s Helen Boaden in conjunction with consulting firm Mediatique, has recommended that, while the RTÉ Concert Orchestra should remain within the fold of the broadcaster, the National Symphony Orchestra should become an entity in its own, outside of RTÉ. The April report…

International concert season enjoys Würthwhile finale

Pat O’Kelly   The National Concert Hall ended its 2017/18 International Concert Season recently with the first visit to Ireland of the Würth Philharmonic Orchestra. Initially I mistakenly thought Würth to be a place but closer scrutiny revealed it to be the name of an individual – the businessman, philanthropist and art collector, Reinhold Würth.…

Time for the work of Debussy to take the spotlight

Pat O’Kelly   Although this year commemorates the centenary of the death in Paris on March 25, 1918 of Claude-Achille Debussy, celebratory events here have, so far, been relatively low-key. The RTÉ NSO did bring us the composer’s Poème dansé – Jeux in February as part of its season and the recent Dublin International Piano…

No shortage of imagination but top prize goes east

Pat O’Kelly   Brainchild of the ubiquitous John O’Conor, the Dublin International Piano Competition celebrated its 30th birthday last month with the 11th of its triennial events held at both the RDS and National Concert Hall. The 2018 competition, with its €15,000 first prize, together with a series of recitals in Ireland and overseas including…

One door closes but another is set to open at the NCH

Pat O’Kelly   The NCH’s 2017/18 International Concert Series is coming to a close. One programme remains on  June 12 – the first visit here of the Würth Philharmonic with Russian-born violinist Maxim Vengerov as both soloist and conductor. The principal works are Max Bruch’s evergreen 1st Concerto and Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, which almost tops…

How Wicklow played its part in a celebrated catalogue

Pat O’Kelly   In September 2016 the National Concert Hall, RTÉ and Bord na Móna devised a celebration of music spanning the previous century. Entitled Composing the Island, it was a bold endeavour but, maybe at the end of its three-week run, one had become somewhat saturated and I remember suffering, what I call, musical…