A Night of Opera

The Drogheda International Classical Music Series is hosting an exciting concert of evocative vocal works from the manuscripts of Mozart, Gounod, Offenbach, Humperdinck, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Rossini and Puccini on Friday 20 March. Accompanied on piano by the Royal Irish Academy’s incomparable Dearbhla Collins, listeners will be transported into the worlds of opera’s most loved arias through the talented stylings of Rachel Croash, Laura Murphy and Gyula Nagy. This inspiring trio represents the very finest of Irish-based singing talent.

Hailing from Dublin, Soprano Rachel Croash earned her BMus degree from Maynooth University (NUIM), where she enjoyed active membership in the Choral Society, Chamber Choir, Early Music Ensemble and Schola Gregoriana. She went on to pursue Masters studies in performance at the Royal Irish Academy under Mary Brennan and Dearbhla Collins. Since then, Rachel has collaborated with some of Ireland’s leading directors, and performed at a variety of prestigious venues for Lismore Opera Festival, Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Company and The Contemporary Music Centre. Her Feis Ceoil catalogue of awards include: the ‘Lieder Prize’, the ‘Nancy Calthorpe Cup’, the ‘Mrs P. J. Geoghan Memorial Cup’, the ‘Gus Smith Award’, and the inaugural ‘Mollie Murray Award for most Promising Singer’. Rachel was a recipient of the ‘John McCormack Society Bursary’, and was a recent finalist in the ‘National Concert Hall Bernadette Greevy Vocal Bursary’. She is currently preparing for the role of Valencienne in Lyric Opera’s forthcoming production of Lehár’s The Merry Widow at the National Concert Hall in May.

Wexford-born mezzo-soprano Laura Murphy graduated with a BA and first-class honours Masters in performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music under Mary Brennan. Recent appearances include Opera Theatre Company’s tour of Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, and the Wexford Festival Opera’s production of Mariotte’s Salomé, and Cagnoni’s Don Bucefalo. Other engagements of note involve OTC/Rough Magic’s production of Kurt Weil’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. During her studies at the RIAM Laura won the ‘Iréne Sandford Award’ and Bursary. Her talents have been recognised by the Feis Ceoil in the form of the ‘Vincent O’Brien Memorial Cup’, the ‘Denis O’ Sullivan Medal’, and the ‘Marchant Cup’. She was a finalist in both the NI Opera Festival of Voice 2013, and the ‘National Concert Hall Bernadette Greevy Vocal Bursary’.

As a former student of the Royal Irish Academy, under Philip O’Reilly, Brenda Hurley and Andrew Synnott, Hungarian baritone Gyula Nagy splits his time between Dublin and London. He is currently enrolled as a trainee at the National Opera Studio, London, under the support of the Royal Opera House, and the International Opera Awards, London. Gyula is also an alumnus of Opera Theatre Company’s ‘Young Associate Artists’ programme in Dublin. Notable operatic roles to date include the lead in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for Irish Youth Opera, and The Bonze in Madama Butterfly for Lyric Opera. Gyula was the winner of the ‘Dermot Troy Trophy’ for oratorio singing at the Feis Ceoil (2013), and earned the ‘Iréne Sandford Award’ at the Royal Irish Academy of Music (2011).

As an accomplished and multi prize-winning pianist, Dearbhla Collins is one of Ireland’s most sought after performers. Her outstanding technical prowess and superb interpretative facility have garnered her respect as a soloist, chamber musician, répétiteur, and vocal coach. As a current member of the prestigious keyboard faculty at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dearbhla is also artistic administrator to the triennial ‘Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition’ in Dublin, and is a patron of the ‘Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year’ competition.

With such a stellar line-up of performers, and an eclectic programme, this concert has something for everyone, and is truly not to be missed! So come along to St Peter’s Church of Ireland, Drogheda on 20 March at 7.30 pm.

Further details and booking inquiries are available at www.droichead.com.

Word by Emer Nestor @EmerNestor

Pictures by Frances Marshall @FMarshallPhoto, http://francesmarshall.ie/