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Entertainment for all as Ardee Baroque festival makes return

David Lynch

Reporter:

David Lynch

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editor@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Entertainment for all as Ardee Baroque festival makes return

Entertainment for all as Ardee Baroque festival makes return

Marking its fifteenth anniversary, Ardee Baroque returns from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 November with a weekend of music and events.

Whether you’re a seasoned baroque music fan or someone completely new to it, this year’s Festival is tailored to provide entertainment for all.

Ardee Baroque was formed in 2004 by Louth County Council Arts Office and the Irish Baroque Orchestra and the orchestra remains at the heart of the Festival.

They return this year with a programme of Italian cantatas, the cornerstone of the baroque era, led by their Artistic Director Peter Whelan with soloists Aisling Kenny and Francesco Giusti.

Other events in the weekend include Wintersong by the acclaimed Tonos, featuring Eamon Sweeney and Roisín Ó’Grady, poetry reading by the Meath/Cavan group Lit Lab, workshops in the community and closing with a showstopper concert which features all the best-known and loved baroque music, including the most famous of all, the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

Programme director, Pauline Ashwood said: “We’re delighted to have reached this milestone anniversary and thrilled that the founding ensemble, the Irish Baroque Orchestra is still anchoring the festival ensuring the quality of music and performance remains as high as possible.

“One of the many strengths of Ardee Baroque is that while it remains one of the few specialist early music festivals in the country, it also features events that will appeal to those new to the era, such as the closing concert on Sunday afternoon.”

Over the years, Ardee has been host to many special musical events and seen some of the greatest performers of baroque music visit the County Louth town.

As the cold and darker evenings draw in, the town gears itself up for an influx of musicians and people to support this great festival.

The Irish Baroque Orchestra remains the headline act for the Festival on Saturday 17 November in St Mary’s Abbey at 7:30pm.

Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter Whelan, the orchestra will be joined by singers Aisling Kenny and Francesco Giusti in a concert of baroque duets by Handel.

Described by The Irish Times, Peter Whelan is ‘as exciting a live wire as Ireland has produced in the world of period performance’. Audiences will remember the flare and dynamism Peter showed when he last directed the orchestra in Ardee for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Opening the Festival on Friday 16 November at 7pm, WinterSong is a concert of Christmas music from the 16–18th centuries for Voice, Lute, Renaissance and Baroque Guitars. Part of a nationwide tour which includes the launch of their new CD, Tonos will also work with two schools in Ardee as part of Music Generation Louth’s impressive education scheme.

Also on Friday evening, in the intimate surrounds of Hatch’s Castle, Lit Lab, a group of published and prize-winning writers from Meath and Cavan whose focus is writing poetry and prose, return to Hatch’s Castle at 8:30pm to read and recite from their latest anthologies.

On Sunday afternoon, 18 November at 3pm there’s a chance to hear some of the best known and loved Baroque works performed by the musicians of Musici Ireland and Melisma choral group. With works from Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Water Music, they will also perform the most famous baroque chorus of all time, Handel’s wonderful Hallelujah from the Messiah. This is the perfect closing concert for Ardee Baroque 2018 and is sure to send the audience home singing.

Throughout the course of the weekend, there will be outreach events and community engagements for the people of Ardee.

Full details on the Festival are available on www.ardeebaroque.com Tickets are on sale through An Táin Arts Centre, Crowe St, Dundalk, Co Louth +353 42 9332332 or www.antain.ie

The festival is funded by Louth County Council, Create Louth and the Arts Council.

Event Guide

WinterSong

Date: Friday 16 November

Time: 7:00pm

Price: €10

Venue: St Mary’s Abbey

Lit Lab

Date: Friday 16 November

Time: 8:30pm

Price: Free

Venue: *Hatch’s Castle, Market St

*Please note Hatch’s Castle is not easily accessible for those with restricted mobility.

Two’s Company

Baroque duets by Handel

Aisling Kenny (soprano) & Francesco Giusti (countertenor)

Directed by Peter Whelan

This concert will run without interval

Date: Saturday 17 November

Time: 7:30pm. Price: €18 / €15 conc.

Venue: St Mary’s Abbey

Baroque Favourites

Date: Sunday 18 November

Time: 3:00pm

Price: €15 / €12 conc.

Venue: St Mary’s Abbey