Classical and opera highlights this week

Wexford Festival Opera begins while ‘Eithne’ is presented in a concert performance

Friday, October 13th


RTÉ NSO/Jamie Martin

National Concert Hall, Dublin, 7.30pm, €15-€35/€13-€31
Jaime Martin's concert with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (replacing the advertised Joshua Weilerstein) opens with the Canon and Fugue from Bach's Art of Fugue in an orchestration made by English composer George Benjamin in 2007. It closes with the orchestration of Brahms's First Piano Quartet which Arnold Schoenberg made in 1937. In spite of a few decidedly 20th-century touches, the flavour of Schoenberg's version somehow remains firmly Brahmsian. Pianist Boris Giltburg replaces the advertised Khatia Buniatishvili and the evening's concerto has been changed, too, from Prokofiev's Second to Tchaikovsky's First. MD

Saturday, October 14th

National Concert Hall, Dublin 8pm, €19-€35

If you think of 20th-century Irish opera you might come up with something by Gerald Barry, James Wilson, Gerard Victory or AJ Potter. But Opera Theatre Company's (OTC) latest offering goes back to the start of the last century, to 1909, when Robert O'Dwyer's Eithne made history by becoming the first opera to be staged in the Irish language. OTC is not bringing Eithne to the opera stage again, but is presenting the work in a concert performance. The cast is headed by Orla Boylan as Eithne, daughter of the King of Tír na nÓg, with Robin Tritschler as her lover Ceart and Gavan Ring (who has written a thesis on the work) as the High King of Ireland. Fergus Sheil conducts the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the performance will be recorded for broadcast and for issue on the RTÉ Lyric Fm label. MD


Thursday, October 19th

Wexford Festival Opera National Opera House, Wexford, until Sun, November 5th, main productions €20-€150,

Wexford Festival Opera opens with a late 18th-century French opera, Cherubini's Medée, that's best known as Medea in a 20th-century Italian language version made famous by Maria Callas. The title role in Wexford is taken by Lise Davidsen and Fiona Shaw directs. Wexford scored a hit with Jacopo Foroni's Cristina, regina di Svezia in 2013, and this year offers the composer's Margherita (1848) in a production directed by Michael Stum. Franco Alfano is best known for having completed Puccini's Turandot. But Wexford featured his Sakùntala back in 1982, and now turns to his 1904 Risurrezione in a production directed by Rosetta Cucchi. The big interest in this year's piano-accompanied ShortWorks is the premiere of Andrew Synnott's Dubliners, a co-production with Opera Theatre Company, with the composer himself at the piano. MD