A Night of Pure Delight!
The Irish National Opera had its Inaugural Concert at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, last night, accompanied by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. And what a wonderful night that was!
The concert opened with the orchestra, conducted ably, energetically, and enthusiastically by Fergus Sheil, performing Wagner’s ‘Prelude to Act III’ from Lohengrin – an excellent and rousing rendition of the piece. In all of the following pieces, this orchestra performed wonderfully.
Soprano Máire Flavin was the first singer of the evening, dressed in gold and with a golden, melodious voice, expressively performing ‘Catalani’s Ebben?..ne andrò lontana’ from La Wally, and setting the very high standard for what was to come.
Ben McAteer, Baritone, sang Korngold’s ‘Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen’, from Die Tote Stadt, in one of the sweetest, purest, male voices I’ve heard so far.
Mezzo-Soprano, Imelda Drumm, then sang Saint-Säens’ ‘Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix’, from Samson et Dalila, and she certainly awakened the hearts of the audience with her beautiful voice, engaging fully with the listeners during the performance.
Next we heard Soprano, Orla Boylan, sing Verdi’s ‘O Patria Mia’ from Aida, a complicated piece sung with astonishing control and verve by this very accomplished dramatic performer.
Mezzo-Soprano Sharon Carty then took the stage. She performed Gluck’s ‘Addio, o miei sospiri’ from Orfeo ed Euridice, an intricate piece where the singer took the audience to new heights in a virtuoso performance, with a full, controlled, and captivating quality to her voice.
John Molloy, Bass, was up next, and did not disappoint. He sang Wallace’s ‘Hear me, gentle Maritana..The Mariner in his Barque’ from Maritana. His voice was strong, consistent, and clear, with a very engaging quality, and tribute must also be paid here to the lead violinist, Helena Wood, as she played the accompanying and intervening violin pieces beautifully in this performance.
Soprano, Anna Devin, then sang Gounad’s ‘Amour, ranime mon courage’ from Roméo et Juliette. Anna performed this powerful and dramatic piece in a way which left one wondering where her amazing voice came from, and acted the piece out very well.
Next came a duet, with a first-class performance by Soprano, Jennifer Davis, whose beautiful voice was well-complemented by Baritone, Gavan Ring’s deep, rich tones, in a believable and well-acted piece from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.
Miriam Murphy next took the stage, and sang Giordano’s ‘La mamma morta’ from Andrea Chénier. This Soprano has a dramatic, full, powerful voice, using expressive effect to convey the drama of the piece brilliantly.
Bass-Baritone, Padraic Rowan then gave a great performance of Rossini’s ‘Là del ciel nell’arcano profondo’. His deep, well-rounded, confident voice and attitude perfectly partnered this jaunty and upbeat piece.
Soprano, Claudia Boyle, sang next, and what a delight that was. There was an obvious joy and energy in Claudia’s performance, which carried the audience along with it, which is why they are there, after all. She sang ‘É strano!….Sempre libera’ by Verdi, from La Traviata, and duetted with the off-stage strong, resonant, tenor voice of Patrick Hyland.
The closing number was of the whole ensemble, including the Irish National Opera Chorus, singing Verdi’s ‘Tutto nel mondo è burla’ from Falstaff, and it was fabulous, full of energy and wit, and the timing was spot-on.
The orchestra had played a up a storm during each singer’s performance, and the high energy generated was due in no small part to themselves and their conductor, Fergus Sheil.
Needless to say, the audience gave them all a standing ovation, for both singers and orchestra, and it was well-deserved, having given us a night of pure delight!
For more information on operas to come from these singers over the next 12 months, go to: