Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Dublin City Council offer free lunchtime opera in their grounds at Wood Quay every Thursday in August. Opera in the Open, as it is called, is something we've only discovered last week, but apparently, it's been running for years.

Last Thursday wasn't the warmest of days, but we decided to head into town anyway, as we had a bit of time on  our hands.

The opera of the day was Ariodante, by Handel, not one I was familiar with. But I like Handel's sense of rhythm, so I knew we'd enjoy the music anyway.

It was colder than I had expected - a lot colder, and I was glad of my fleece and scarf. But one of the singers had a very thin short-sleeved dress, and I felt so sorry for her - despite putting on her coat any time she wasn't on stage, her arms were blue. That didn't stop her from singing beautifully, as they all did. I particularly liked the voice of the pregnant woman who was playing a man's part  - which is quite typical in Handel's operas  - not the pregnant bit obviously - Some of the parts in Handel's works were originally sung by castrati, a type of voice which cannot be reproduced exactly nowadays, so the castrati parts are sometimes sung by women (mezzo soprano or soprano, I'm not sure), or by countertenors.

Not only was it cold, but it was windy, and the page turner for the piano player had a tough time keeping the partition together. At one point, it looked like all the pages were going to fly away, but they were caught in time by the narrator (a very entertaining man, who told us the story at the start of each act - an important role, as there was no sur-titles, and we were only offered excerpts - it all had to fit into a one-hour lunchtime after all.).

All in all, a very enjoyable experience. I hope the singers didn't catch colds!

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