Opera Night Saturday 11 January 2020
The Lorelei Rock in the Rhine River on which the siren Lurline played her enchanting harp to lure fishermen to a watery grave is the setting for Lurline, heard tonight in a 2010 recording of a performing edition by Richard Bonynge. Victorian theatre critics declared it an outright success and the opera played for a substantial number of performances, making it a landmark production. It was even thought that Wallace's melodious score was even richer than that of his earlier opera, Maritana. Sally Silver is the seductive siren, Richard Lewis a love interest, David Soar is the imposing Rhine King, and Roderick Earle’s sings the characterful gnome Zelieck. Richard Bonygne conducts the Victorian Opera Chorus and Orchestra.
Based on Emma Donoghue's stage adaptation of her 1996 radio play Trespasses, the opera with a libretto by Renate Debrun is a fictionalization of the judge's own account of the case of Florence Newton in Youghal in 1661 - one of only a handful of witch trials that ever took place in Ireland. Both the commission and production of Vagabones were generously supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.
The cast features Carolyn Holt as Florence Newton (pictured), Rory Dunne is Valentine Greatrakes, Kelli-Ann Masterson sings Donal O'Dare, Baritone Rory Musgrave is the Mayor of Youghal, Sarah Power sings Mary Longdon, Ross Scanlon is John Pyne, Fionn Ó hAlmhain (pictured) takes the spoken role of the jailer Ned Perry and Sinead Hayes conducts the Crash Ensemble in this production directed by Ben Barnes.
Vagabones was the final project designed by the award-winning designer Monica Frawley who sadly passed away in February this year and we would like to dedicate tonight's broadcast to her memory.
(Recorded in The Civic Theatre, Tallaght in September 2019)