Kilkenny Arts Festival | KCLR 96FM

Kilkenny Arts Festival

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Date(s) - 16/08/2017
12:00 AM to 11:59 PM


Kilkenny Arts Festival takes place from August 11 to 20.

Full details here

Some highlights:

Since 1974, Kilkenny Arts Festival has established itself as one of Europe’s finest artistic celebrations, bringing world-class performances to Ireland’s medieval city every August. This year, from 11 to 20 August, leading artists from home and abroad will gather in Kilkenny for ten days of extraordinary artistic adventures.

On March 21 Festival Director Eugene Downes announced first highlights for the 2017 Kilkenny Arts Festival which include a major focus on the late masterpieces of Schubert, a unique series of choral and orchestral concerts telling the story of Handel’s time in Ireland, a gala concert performance of Handel’s greatest operatic masterpiece, Julius Caesar in Egypt, and the world premiere of a new version of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis performed by acclaimed actor Stephen Rea, with live soundscape composed by Neil Martin and performed by the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Tickets for these highlights are available via from 1pm on March 21.

The full programme for Kilkenny Arts Festival will be announced in June.


Schubert: Dreaming the Sublime

Over the last three years Kilkenny Arts Festival has brought world-class musicians to Kilkenny for a unique series of journeys through the great works of Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. This year the Festival focuses on the late masterpieces of Schubert. Schubert: Dreaming the Sublime is a once-in-a-lifetime musical exploration of the great composer’s work, performed by leading international and Irish artists. Highlights include:

–          A series of five concerts focusing on Schubert’s greatest songs and song cycles, featuring Benjamin Appl, the foremost German Lieder singer of the younger generation, soprano Ailish Tynan and tenor Robin Tritschler, with pianists James Baillieu and Iain Burnside

–          Schubert/Widmann: a two-concert series featuring the Irish Chamber Orchestra (the Festival’s orchestra in residence) and Jörg Widmann as composer, conductor and performer, juxtaposing Schubert masterpieces (including the ‘Great’ Symphony no. 9) with major Widmann works

–          The late String Quartets & String Quintet – performed by Quatuor Mosaïques, the world’s leading period instrument quartet, spread over three concerts

–          Schubert’s last three piano sonatas, performed by the great British pianist Christian Blackshaw, preceded by a lecture on those works by the legendary Alfred Brendel

–          The late Piano Trios and Piano Quintet (the ‘Trout’) – performed by the Fidelio Trio & guests over two concerts

–           The Irish Chamber Orchestra, directed by its leader Katherine Hunka, performing Schubert’s Death and the Maiden quartet (arranged for string orchestra by Mahler)


Mr Handel’s Adventures in Ireland

–          The Arrival of Mr Handel explores the musical milieu into which Handel was thrown, featuring modern-day premieres of anthems by the leading Irish-based composers of that era, Johann Cousser and William Boyce, together with highlights from Handel’s first concert in Ireland

–          Mr Handel at the Keyboard offers a programme of Handel’s harpsichord music performed by Philippe Grisvard

–          Mr Handel’s Messiah presents a very rare Irish performance of the original 1742 Dublin version


Opening Night Gala: Handel’s Julius Caesar in Egypt

Following his acclaimed performance of Idomeneo at last year’s Festival, Christian Curnyn, one of Europe’s great Handelians, returns to Kilkenny with his Early Opera Company for a concert performance of Handel’s operatic masterpiece, Julius Caesar in Egypt. Featuring one showstopping aria after another, a truly outstanding cast of Irish and international stars is led by Iestyn Davies, one of the world’s foremost countertenors, here taking on the title role for the first time.

Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis

The Festival also premieres an unmissable new version of one of the greatest love letters ever written, Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, composed while the writer was incarcerated in Reading Gaol. Legendary actor Stephen Rea takes on Wilde’s most personal work, with a live accompaniment performed by the Irish Chamber Orchestra and composed by Neil Martin.


Late Night at the Black Abbey

Other events include a pair of late night candlelit concerts in the marvellously atmospheric Black Abbey: a late-night recital of Dowland and other songs and airs with renowned countertenor Iestyn Davies and lute star Thomas Dunford, and The Orthodox Spirit, a glorious programme of Russian orthodox sacred music, including works by Rachmaninov, Stravinsky and Bortnyansky with Chamber Choir Ireland conducted by Paul Hillier.


Kilkenny Arts Festival is made possible through the generous support of its principal funder, The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, and its other major public funders, Fáilte Ireland and Kilkenny County Council. 




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