Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Psycho Live

Something different for Halloween – Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Psycho with live orchestra. Fifty years on from its release this cinematic masterpiece hits the big screen again, this time with the RTE Concert Orchestra performing Bernard Herrmann’s spine-tingling score live. All your favourite scariest bits enhanced by those shrieking strings, catch it at the NCH on Sun 31 Oct, 3pm & 8pm.www.rte.ie/concertorchestra

Big Ole Piece of Cake

Fishamble (the New Play Company) are going on a short tour with the world premiere of Big Ole Piece of Cake, the much anticipated second play by Sean McLoughlin, award-winning writer of Noah and the Tower Flower. In this bittersweet comedy Dublin lads Colin and Ray are out of work, out of luck, and nearly out of fags when they hook up with lonely ex-teacher Clarence in his remote Wicklow cottage, forming an unlikely alliance through the course of an increasingly drunken evening. Jim Culleton directs a top-notch cast including Joe Hanley, Mark Lambert and Ian-Lloyd Anderson. The show previews at the Mermaid in Bray on Oct 29 & 30, opens at the Civic in Tallaght on Nov 2 and also visits Project and Draiocht. www.fishamble.com

Lunchtime at St Ann's

A series of free lunchtime concerts at St Ann’s Dawson Street kicks off on Thur 28 with The Three Graces, an unusual programme of soprano trios by Monteverdi, Luzzaschi and Barbara Strozzi featuring sopranos Elizabeth Hilliard, Rachel Talbot and Claire Wallace. On Nov 4 Michael Lee sings songs by Schubert, Brahms and Vaughan Williams with Fergal Caulfield on piano; music for voice and piano on Nov 11 features soprano Victoria Massey and Padhraic O Cuinneagain; Triona Marshall plays the Irish Harp on Nov 18; and on Nov 25 Denise Neary talks about the History of Music at St Ann’s Church.

Irish Chamber Choir of Paris

A little bit of cross-cultural pollination takes place on Thur 28 Oct when the Irish Chamber Choir of Paris (the choir of the Centre Culturel Irelandais) give a free concert at the Unitarian Church, a timely volcanic ash rescheduling from last April - remember when that was the only thing we had to worry about. This is the first visit to Dublin of this all-female choir (they’re also heading to Galway), and they’ll be singing Pietro Paolo Bencini’s Missa de Oliveria and motets by Henry Madin, whose family left Ireland with the Wild Geese and who was born in Verdun in 1698. www.centreculturelirlandais.com

Harping on

The Irish Composers Collective are in the NCH’s Kevin Barry Room on Thur 21 Oct with a concert focusing on the harp. Renowned harpist Anne-Marie O'Farrell will present new works for both classical and lever harps by Johanne Heraty, Daniel Barkley, Marc Tweedie, Piaras Hoban and Hugh Boyle, while Ian McDonnell will premiere an electronic work with material derived directly from the harp itself. A pre-concert talk looks at Traditional Instruments in Contemporary Composition. www.nch.ie

Barry meets Beethoven

The National Chamber Choir team up with Crash Ensemble for a celebration of the work of internationally renowned Irish composer Gerald Barry at the Hugh Lane Gallery on Thur 21 Oct, 7pm. The programme features the premiere of a new commission entitled Schott and Sons, Mainz, using text from Emily Anderson’s The Letters of Beethoven published in 1961, and also includes Beethoven, Barry’s setting of Beethoven’s sole surviving love letters to a mysterious ‘immortal beloved’. Soloist is British bass Stephen Richardson. www.nationalchamberchoir.com www.crashensemble.com

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Arvo Part

Fergus Sheil conducts the State Choir Latvija in a 4 concert tour, including St Ann’s Dawson Street on Thur 14, in celebration of the 75th birthday of the great Latvian composer Arvo Part. This retrospective of the composer’s choral music spans three decades of work that forms the spiritual core of his output, featuring iconic pieces such as Summa, the deeply reverential Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen and the ethereal Magnificat (1989). A highlight of the programme will be The Deer’s Cry, a setting of St Patrick’s Breastplate described by Part as his ‘gift to Irish audiences’, which was premiered by the State Choir Latvija in Drogheda in 2008. Also on the programme are three spiritual works by Irish composers: Deirdre McKay’s Plunkett’s Last Words, Rhona Clarke’s Two Marian Anthems and Mícheal O Suilleabhain’s Maranatha, an exuberant setting of the ancient ‘O Antiphons’ which also features in Part’s Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen. Tickets from www.tickets.ie

The Met: Live in HD

The Met: Live in HD Season is at a screen near you, kicking off on Sat 9 with a live screening from New York of Robert Lepages’s groundbreaking new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold. Bryn Terfel sings the leading role of Wotan, with Dublin-born mezzo Patricia Bardon in the role of Erda. Valery Gergiev conducts Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov on Oct 23; Anna Netrebko returns to the role of Norina, which made her a sensational Met star in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale on 13 Nov; Nicholas Hytner makes his Met directorial debut with Verdi’s Don Carlo on 11 Dec; and in the new year, Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West starring Deborah Voight on 8 Jan and Peter Sellars makes his Met debut with John Adams’ Nixon in China on 12 Feb. Tickets are €25, which might seem a bit steep but it’s a lot cheaper than regular opera, and last year’s season was a huge success. Participating Dublin venues include IMC Dun Laoghaire, Screen Cinema, Swan Cinema Rathmines, Movies@Dundrum and Movies@Swords. www.operaireland.ie


Thisispopbaby and the Abbey are going back to WERK with Fat of the Land, bringing their Performance/Art/Club to all the Peacock spaces on Sat 9 &16 Oct. Performance roulette, design installation and house of outrageous investigation, previous artists have included Derbhle Crotty, Lisa Hannigan, The Rubberbandits, The Pulpit, Ponydance, Fionn Kidney, Chewy Chewerson, Bitches With Wolves and THEATREclub, all hosted by the inimitable (self-described craic-whore) Neil Watkins. www.thisispopbaby.com www.abbeytheatre.ie

Sundays @ Noon

Sundays at Noon is back at the Hugh Lane Gallery: free music in great surroundings, what a civilized way to start your Sunday. This Sunday the Duo Nota Bene from Austria play works for violin and piano by Mahler, Reger, Schoenberg and Webern. On Sun 17 flautist William Dowdall gives the first of two concerts featuring music for flute and electronics from his new cd breathe, with works by John Buckley, Philip Hammond, Raymond Deane and Irish premieres by Stephen Matthews, Kevin O’Connell and Benjamin Dwyer. It’s the turn of Dulra on Sun 24 - Adrian Hart on fiddle, Kate Ellis on cello, Emer Mayock on flutes and Mel Mercier on percussion, joined by singer Caitriona OLeary, with music from their new cd Ecstasy. And on Sun 31 (that’s Halloween) Lorcán Mac Mathúna, Cathal Roche and Ian Wilson get together for Common Tongue, a trio combining sean-nós singing, improvising saxophone and live electronics. www.hughlane.ie

Bewleys International Season

Bewleys are presenting a new International Season of lunchtime plays in association with Paines Plough, one of the UK’s leading new writing companies, and Glasgow’s Oran Mor. 5 premieres (commissioned by PP) from 5 high calibre playwrights over 5 weeks, from 4 Oct to 6 Nov. Marie Jones (of Stones in His Pockets fame) and David Harrower (Blackbird) have both had major international success, while Linda McLean, April De Angelis and Gary Owen have been highly acclaimed in their home countries of Scotland, England and Wales. Opening the season is Marie Jones’ Fly Me to the Moon, a black comedy that explores whether we are valued more in life or in death, as two broke community care workers struggle with their consciences when one of their charges has a posthumous win on the horses (til Sat 9 Oct). Next up is In the Pipeline by Welsh playwright Gary Owen, whose credits include the award-winning The Drowned World, a timely tale of local opposition to a liquid gas line in the countryside of west Wales. It’s followed by Linda McLean’s The Uncertainty Files, Calais by April De Angelis and finally Good with People by David Harrower.
Fly Me…the verdict? Brash and in your face, performed with gusto and (sometimes a tad too much) energy by Kate Tumelty and Abigail McGibbon as two care workers who let temptation get in their way. Some very funny attempts to construct the crime scene a la CSI Miami.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dublin Theatre Festival Reviews

In many ways this is quite an extraordinary piece of theatre. Slow, hypnotic, sensual, incredibly visual, a vast empty set, a pulsating soundtrack and studied, almost balletic movement as one scene after another slowly comes to life and fades away. The well-ordered lives of the controlled, wealthy family (of Passolini’s cult movie) gradually disintegrate on the arrival of a handsome stranger, who seduces them one by one, bringing first euphoria, then despair when he finally leaves. There are playful elements which at times feel quite out of place; it is when things are at their most heightened that this show really works: the intensity of the mother’s desire, the torture of her downfall. Largely without dialogue, the occasional spoken scenes seem at odds with everything else - the translation feels clunky and it can be hard to make sense of what’s being said, though when asked Do you believe in God? during a (scripted) q&a session at the start, the patriarch, after a pause, gives the wonderfully enigmatic response: I don’t understand the question. (til Mon 4)

This is a show that promises much but in the end doesn’t quite deliver. The Ancient Greeks were a violent, incestuous lot, and playwright Hilary Fannin has transported their bad habits and bad tempers to contemporary Ireland, with music by Ellen Cranitch providing the backwash, creating a live score with a nice touch of authenticity that fuses trad Irish with eastern flavours. I hadn’t expected singers, though I guess if you’re drawing inspiration from an opera (Rameau) that’s what you’re going to come up with, but the vocal lines are quite mundane and apart from Fionnuala Gill who has a sweet clear voice, the singers (doubling up as gods) are largely unremarkable. That said, there are some really powerful moments when the whole cast sings ensemble, and the music is most effective when it’s shadowing or echoing the spoken word. The staging, on John Comiskey’s industrial ramped set, is pretty impressive, but the casting is a bit hit and miss. Catherine Walker’s Phaedra is both fragile and forceful, but the object of her obsession, her stepson Hippolytus, and his love-interest Aricia are both a bit watery, despite the former being described as ‘a ride’ by Sarah Greene’s earthy and funny Ismene. Michelle Forbes as Phaedra’s treacherous companion Enone never really gels, but Stephen Brennan’s Theseus gets down and dirty as a boorish reminder of the fled Celtic Tiger. (Project, til Sun 10)

It’s December (Diciembre) and Christmas images abound in this black absurdist comedy balanced somewhere between familial and regional strife. The work of Chilean wunderkind Guillermo Calderon, who would hold that, particularly for younger generations, little has changed in Chile since the fall of Pinochet, it is set in a near future where Chile is in an apparently perpetual state of war with neighbouring Bolivia and Peru. A young soldier visits his diametrically opposed twin sisters, the one an anarchic pacifist who has meticulously planned his defection, the other a rabid patriot intent on sending him back to the front: plenty of room for ideological arguments, but one of the delicious ironies of this play is that these inevitably degenerate into rows about grammar or pronunciation. The appearance of a drunken aunt is a bit of a red herring, but overall an intriguingly edgy piece of theatre. (Project Cube, til Sun 10)

Bold, brash and in your face – that’s the 1990s as personified by Enron, the American company that invented creative accountancy and virtual energy. It’s a Thursday afternoon and the Gaiety is filled with the genteel middle classes watching a UK company make a song and dance about the resistible rise and cultural collapse of capitalism. So this is how our pensions went up in smoke, they think, as the Russian doll school of economics reveals how to hide your losses in ever-decreasing subsidiaries. Entertaining and elucidating in a noisy kind of way, but not quite what you want on a Thursday afternoon, and definitely not worth the Daily Telegraph’s 5 stars – unless of course they came from the financial pages. Meanwhile back in the real future, Anglo’s David Drumm has just filed for bankruptcy… (Gaiety, til Sat 16)