Classical concerts of the week: From Bach to Gluck

Paul Lewis plays the NCH, while opera Orfeo ed Euridice tours the country


Before Bach & After III St Ann's Church, Dawson Street 3.30pm €20/€15 Chamber Choir Ireland's current concert season pivots on Bach. The title, Before Bach & After, says it all, though the before and after apply to the series as a whole, not to each individual concert. The third instalment is like a multi-layered Bach sandwich, with two of Bach's motets (Komm, Jesu, komm and Lobet den Herrn) enfolding works by three living female composers – Anne Boyd's As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams, Julia Wolfe's Guard My Tongue, and Santa Ratniece's Horo Horo Hata Hata. There are also some slivers of Bach interleaved between the newer works. The programme, conducted by Paul Hillier, will later be heard in Limerick, on Thursday, May 2nd, and Cork, on Friday, May 3rd, as part of Cork International Choral Festival. The afternoon concert at St Ann's Church will be preceded by a 2.30pm conversation between the choir's chief executive, Majella Hollywood, and Tim Thurston, who presented the choral music programme Gloria on RTÉ Lyric FM for 18 years. And at the NCH's Kevin Barry Recital Room at 2pm on Saturday, the choir has a public workshop for its choral composition programme, Choral Sketches. Tarik O'Regan leads the workshop, which features pieces by Anselm McDonnell, Eoin Mulvany and Sinéad Finegan.


Paul Lewis NCH, Dublin 8pm €27.50-€55 English pianist Paul Lewis has a strong identification with the core Viennese classical repertoire. Which seems obvious if you remember that he studied with Alfred Brendel. The great pianist first invited him around to his house after a masterclass. "We spent five hours on Liszt's Dante Sonata, analysing every bar, and at the end of it I couldn't play a note," Lewis told an interviewer about the experience. Beethoven and Schubert dominate his discography, which of course includes the major work in his Dublin recital – Beethoven's gargantuan Diabelli Variations. The first half of the concert is shared by Haydn (the Sonata in E minor, Hob XVI: 34) and Brahms (the late Intermezzi Op 117).


Orfeo ed Euridice

Civic Theatre, Tallaght 8pm €38/€35; also Fri, and then on tour until Sat, March 2nd  Irish National Opera's production of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, first seen at last year's Galway International Arts Festival, is directed by Emma Martin. Her background in dance makes for a staging in which singers and dancers are sometimes indistinguishable. Michael Dungan's review in these pages said that Sharon Carty "takes full yet gentle possession of Orfeo's wide range of emotions – grieving, raging, pleading, surrendering, celebrating," and "In Act III she is uncannily matched in sound for her long-awaited exchanges with the rescued Euridice, soprano Sarah Power, wrapped and facially veiled in ghostly, bridal white". The opera, with the Irish Baroque Orchestra under Peter Whelan, now goes on the road to Bray, Waterford, Carlow, Cork, Ennis, Tralee, Dún Laoghaire and Wexford, with concert performances in Drogheda, and Castletown House, Co Kildare.