wed 17/07/2024

Dublin

Faust, Irish National Opera review - world-class singing turns the musical-dramatic screw

Is Gounod’s Faust really a “complex and multi-layered work”, as director Jack Furness claims? Goethe’s original and Berlioz’s Damnation, absolutely; this tuneful concoction, half light opera, half kitsch melodrama, not so much. If Furness’s take...

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Ghosts, Abbey Theatre, Dublin review - creating tension from desolation

Church and law are enemies of promise in Ibsen’s tragedy-without-catharis. You can see why this devastating attack on, among other things, the syphilitic sins of the fathers being visited on the hopeful young created a ruckus in the 1880s. It’s...

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Bartlett, National Symphony Orchestra, Weilerstein, National Concert Hall, Dublin review - edgy darkness, blazing light and high camp

Who’d have thought Florence Price, Rachmaninov, Gershwin and Brahms would all fit the (unspoken) theme of 1930s America? Brahms made the bill by virtue of Schoenberg’s 1937 arrangement of the C minor Piano Quartet, so outlandish and camp that you’d...

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Messiah, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Whelan, Wigmore Hall review - wonderful, easy, light and dark in perfect poise

This Palm Sunday served up an epiphany. Previous encounters with Handel's Messiah, in whatever version, and whether listening or performing, turned out to have been through a glass darkly. And here we were face to face with undiluted genius, served...

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Album: U2 - Songs of Surrender

U2 are better than their many critics make out. Their Stakhanovite work ethic in creating huge sonics, not-a-bolt-out-of-place songwriting and stagecraft that could reach every corner of the biggest venues long before the days of giant LED screens...

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The New Electric Ballroom, Gate Theatre, Dublin review - fantasy and memory hauntingly interwoven

Commuting between London and Dublin has its fascinations.10 days ago, I saw for the first time at the Southwark Playhouse’s Elephant Theatre, heart in mouth during most of it, Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce, his first Edinburgh Festival Fringe...

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Ulysses, Abbey Theatre / The Tin Soldier, Gate Theatre, Dublin review - peerless Joyce marathon, Andersen squashed

A pot plant on a stand, two tables with glasses of water, two chairs – one plush, one high – are all the props needed on the stage of the Abbey’s second theatre, the Peacock, for the ultimate complete reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses in its 100th...

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theartsdesk at the Dublin International Chamber Music Festival - extraordinary women to the fore

The organisation now proudly and legitimately re-named the Dublin International Chamber Music Festival may be half a century old – of its 52 seasons, those of the two lockdown years can be lopped off the live reckoning – but its outlook is youthful...

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Kang, National Symphony Orchestra, Bihlmaier, National Concert Hall, Dublin review - hats off, another top conductor

Dublin is feted as the city of the word, peaking on Bloomsday, 16 June, in celebration of Ulysses’ centenary. Yet its concert and opera scene is broadening in brilliance. Had I known before yesterday that the vivacious Peter Whelan and his Irish...

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Rose Plays Julie review - a sombre story of rape, adoption and a search for identity

Rose (Ann Skelly; The Nevers) is adopted. The name on her birth certificate is Julie and the possibility of a different identity – different clothes, different hair, different accent - beckons. If she could embrace this second life, she thinks, she...

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Citizen Lane review - fascinating dramadoc about Irish arts benefactor

On first sight, Citizen Lane's appeal may seem limited to those with an Irish connection or an interest in fine art. But director Thaddeus O'Sullivan turns what could have been a dry documentary into a witty and fine-looking docudrama about Hugh...

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Album: Fontaines DC – A Hero's Death

Be careful what you wish for. Turns out the dream that most bands yearn for isn't all it's cracked up to be. Fontaines DC's debut album, Dogrel went large (and won a Mercury Prize nomination and BBC 6 Music's Album of the Year). They toured like...

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