Irish Doctors Choir presents
by George Frederick Handel
in Christ Church Cathedral Waterford
on Sunday 26th November 3.30 – 5.30 pm
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This event is part of the Winterval Choral Trail
READ MORE ABOUT THIS PRODUCTION BELOW>>>>
Musical Director Brian MacKay writes
“Handel, an extraordinary musical communicator capable of going straight to the heart of his audience, was also an entrepreneur and philanthropist. His music and its charitable associations have lived on to this day.
Noticing the popularity of a performance of his early biblical drama, Esther, performed in London without his participation, Handel proposed his own production. However, the Bishop of London refused to allow a biblical story to be staged at the opera, so Handel mounted a concert performance. It was a huge success which led to Handel’s abandonment of Italian opera in favour of Oratorio. It fitted the political climate, in English with well-known stories, it was cheaper, it could involve amateur choruses, rich patrons, charities and held slightly less risk of a run in with a diva! Messiah soon followed, perhaps the most successful work of any kind ever, written in weeks and followed immediately by Samson also written in weeks and performed many times in Handel’s lifetime. It is much rarer to have the chance to hear it these days and yet so highly thought of that the BBC chose it to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death.
We meet Samson captive and blinded and follow his journey from betrayal to self-sacrifice against the backdrop of the political and religious tensions of the time.
Little wonder it became known as Handel’s “best opera!”
About the Performers
Irish Doctors Choir will be hosting a unique gathering of acclaimed soloists and specialist baroque players from around Europe….
Eamonn Mulhall – Samson
Wexford tenor Eamonn Mulhall trained at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio in London. He has performed with many theatre companies, opera houses and music festivals. In concert he has appeared at Kilkenny Arts Festival, Prague International Spring Festival, Festivale Musica sull’Acqua at Lake Como, Italy, and with numerous orchestras in Britain and Ireland.
Doreen Curran -Micah
In addition to her many opera roles, Derry-born mezzo-soprano Doreen Curran has performed in concert with the London Philharmonic, RTÉ National Symphony, the RTÉ Concert, European Youth, Irish Chamber, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Ulster Orchestras and she has given recitals internationally. She made her Irish National Opera debut in Madama Butterfly in 2019.
Aisling Kenny – Dalila
Irish soprano, Aisling Kenny is a soloist, recitalist and ensemble singer specialising in early music. She has sung as a soloist with leading Irish and European ensembles. Performances as a soloist include Johannes passion in Eisenach, with Collegium Vocale Gent, directed by Philippe Herreweghe, a solo Bach cantata concert with Irish Baroque Orchestra.
Pauls Putninš – Manoa
As well as his opera appearances across Europe, London-based Pauls Putninš has numerous engagements on the European and Asian concert stage. He regularly appears in his native Latvia and in the other Baltic States as an oratorio soloist in works including Bach B Minor mass, St. Mathew and St. John Passions, Handel Messiah with Latvian Radio Choir, Latvian state choir ‘Latvia’ and Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir.
Ophélie Gaillard – Cello
A spirit of insatiable curiosity, a taste for risk, an immoderate appetite for the entire concert cello repertoire without borders or quarrels, civic engagement, and an unconditional love of nature, this is undoubtedly what distinguished this brilliant Franco-Swiss interpreter. Ophélie performs in recitals both in Asia and Europe. She plays a 1737 Francesco Goffriller cello, generously lent by the CIC, and an anonymous Flemish piccolo cello.
Ensemble Pulcinella – Baroque Strings
For 17 years, Pulcinella has brought together around Ophélie Gaillard a college of virtuoso soloists and chamber musicians passionate about playing historical instruments, members of the most prestigious ensembles. These musicians carry out in-depth work on sound, articulation and rhetoric. They perform in the most prestigious halls in France, across Europe, in Latin America, in Asia. The ensemble’s eight recordings have received praise from the international press: In 2022, international critics hailed the release of the album A Night in London.
Óscar Carmo & Filipe Coelho – Trumpets
Trumpeters Oscar and Felipe appear regularly Portugal’s leading orchestras, and they are members of the widely travelled trumpet quintet “Almost 6”. They will be playing on baroque trumpets for this period performance.
Oonagh Lee & Geoff Coates – Oboes
Historical oboists Oonagh and Chris perform regularly with period orchestras around Europe. Oonagh performs, records and broadcasts with numerous ensembles across Europe. Her career highlights to date include performances in the BBC Proms, Beijing National Arts Centre, and for Frans Brüggen, Orchestra of the 18th Century. Geoffrey Coates has pursued a distinctive and eclectic career as an oboist since he went on stage with Florilegium at the age of 19. His work has seen him collaborate with artists as diverse as Lea Salonga and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and he is a featured artist on recordings of repertoire from Albinoni to Arvo Pärt.One of the few oboists to be equally at home on modern and historical instruments, Coates has performed in all of London’s concert halls with every major UK period instrument orchestra, and on tour in some two dozen countries.
Jonathan Herbert- Timpani
Jonathan won a junior exhibition to study timpani and percussion at the Royal College of Music in London and then at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He has performed with virtually every symphony orchestras in the UK and in 1992 joined the percussion section of the Halle Orchestra. In 2001 he was appointed principal percussion and principal timpani with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra. Since 2005 Jonathan has been invited to play with the World Orchestra for Peace under the direction of Valery Gergiev performing at the BBC proms and in some of the world’s greatest concert halls including the Philharmonie Berlin, Carnegie Hall New York, Symphony Hall Chicago, Tchaikovsky Hall Moscow and the Salzburg Featspielhaus.
Gareth Lewis – Chamber Organ
Gareth is a consultant in acute and renal medicine in Antrim Area Hospital. He studied piano with Geoffrey Pratley and Lance Coburn, and organ with Nigel McClintock and Michael McCracken. He regularly performs and accompanies music in a variety of genres and is most happy musically when playing with or accompanying chamber groups and choirs.
Irish Doctors Choir – Samson Chorus
Irish Doctors Choir is an association of doctors from across Ireland and beyond who get together to share their love of singing. They believe in the healing power of music and their central aim is to keep doctors connected to good music-making despite their demanding careers. The choir meets twice each year at specially chosen venues to perform challenging and uplifting works from the classical choral repertoire. Concert profits are donated to medical charities.
Brian MacKay – Director
Born in Ireland, Brian moved to Portugal in 2009, where he founded and continues to direct the ZêzereArts Festival. A long association with Musicamera Produções in Lisbon has led to the artistic directorship of a series of exciting projects including the opportunity to conduct the first performances of two new Portuguese operas. Brian has been Musical Director of Irish Doctors Choir since it was founded in 2017.