What a time we have had with flu and floods and then the snow – so it has been a while since we have told you about our operatic adventures. And we have an awful lot to tell you.
Dropping off our last blog at the OTC offices. Here we are with Teresa and Brendan.
The last time we told you all about our trip to Barcelona. Well we were only catching our breaths and showing off our tans when Alan and Brendan told us that we had to pack our bags and we were off again and this time we were going to Wexford. We love Wexford and visiting our Auntie Mairead who puts us up for the festival every year.
Here we are with Brendan and our Auntie Mairead
There were four operas to see – Maria Padilla by Donizetti, Une Education Manquee by Chabrier, La Cambiale di Matrimonio by Rossini and finally The Ghosts of Versailles by Corigliano. Art wasn’t too sure about the last one but when we heard that the great cuddle-giver, Owen Gilhooly, was going to be in it he cheered up. It was wonderful. Owen was a King and some of the ghosts were very funny. It was a strange story about Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Beaumarchais, the playwright and characters from some of his plays all mixed together with ghosts at the palace in Versailles. To tell the truth we were slightly confused but the music was lovely and the production as a whole was fabulous.
Here we are with Owen in the Wexford Opera House
We also saw Owen singing in concert with Paula Murrihy, the Irish Mezzo – this was a brilliant concert and one of the highlights of the festival. Paula was in the Ghosts of Versailles also but had a bigger role in Une Educatione Manquee where she shone on a rather otherwise dull night.
Cuddles from Paula Murrihy in St Iberius’ Church, Wexford
We were brought to another concert entitled – A Postcard from America – all the American singers who were at the festival sang songs from American Operas. We loved this because two of Alan’s favourite composers are Barber and Adams. We got to meet all the singers and the incredible American Tenor, Jason Ferrante agreed to have his picture taken with us.
Look at us sitting on a piano with the hugely talented Jason Ferrante
The final opera we saw and which was the unexpected hit of the festival was Maria Padilla. The lead role was sung by Barbara Quintiliani - a wonderful performer in an opera that deserves to be seen more. The story is about a woman who is secretly married to the King and the tragedy that unfolds because of this secret.
Well we were only back from Wexford when the order came to pack again and off to the train station with Alan and Brendan. Our destination was Cork for the last night of Opera Theatre Company’s tour of Handel’s Alcina. Once again Art was not impressed with the idea of spending an evening with a witch and her sister, specially when we heard that she turned people into stone and wild animals. But this turned out to be one of the best nights we ever had at the Opera. The production was splendid and all the cast were excellent but special praise must be made of the three singers who played the characters caught in the love triangle. Doreen Curran as Bradamante, Steven Wallace as Ruggiero and Sinead Campbell-Wallace as Alcina were all brilliant and could easily hold their own on any opera stage in the world. We had a lovely time after the show with all the cast and we had loads of photos taken but we can’t show them to you because Sinead lost the disc. Silly Witch!!! But we’d forgiven her by the time we met her again at Handel’s Messiah in the RDS, where once again the audience was wowed by the stunning performances of both herself and the cuddly Owen Gilhooly.
A few weeks later we were taken to Dublin to see the Opera Ireland production of Verdi’s Macbeth. This was another great night of Opera. Bruno Caproni in the title role was outstanding. The Opera tells the story of Macbeth and his wife and how they come to the Scottish throne. Unlike Shakespeare, who had Macbeth meet three witches, Verdi had Macbeth meet a whole chorus of witches – poor Art was petrified and hid under the seat for nearly a whole act. We also saw the concert performance of Wagner’s Das Rheingold. It was a pity that this was only a concert performance, as the mainly Irish cast were very good. Special mention should be made of Imelda Drumm and Gerard O’Connor.
Our friend Sandra Oman sang the role of Lady in Waiting in Macbeth – here we are with her and Alan and Brendan
The week before we went to see Opera Ireland, we had great excitement when we were told at the last minute that we were to see one of the all-time greats of the Opera Stage – the American Mezzo, Frederica von Stade. What a wonderful night we had at the National Concert Hall. We even got a wonderful cuddle from Ms. von Stade after the concert.
Here we are with Ms. Frederica von Stade at the National Concert Hall
Well that was what we got up to at the end of 2009. We are looking forward to 2010 and trips to Madrid for Der Fliegender Hollander by Wagner, London to see the countertenor David Daniels and Paris for Don Carlos by Verdi.
Congratulations to all the nominees for the Irish Times Theatre Awards specially to OTC who received two nominations – one for Alcina and one for the Judges Special Award for the work done with the Young Associated Artists Programme – Hurray! Looking forward to seeing you all at the Opera To Celebrate night at the National Concert Hall on the 6th of April if not before. Don’t forget to say hello to us on Facebook – Art&Music
Art and Music.