Cork brothers Brian O’Reilly and Paud O’Reilly are behind an upcoming staging of the 44-year-old Celtic concert composition of The Children of Lir at the National Opera House of Ireland.
The much-anticipated event takes place in the stunning Wexford venue on February 3 and 4 next and will see a string quartet, 100-voice choir, narrator and four ballerinas joining the O’Reillys’ band Loudest Whisper on stage.
Fermoy composer Brian O’Reilly first staged his musical rendition of The Children of Lir, based on the famous Celtic legend, in January of 1973 and it was hailed as Ireland’s first folk opera at the time.
Since then, it has been enjoyed by over 25,000 people and also turned into an album by Polydor Records which is now a collectors’ item. Meanwhile, Loudest Whisper’s blend of folk-rock and blues has become renowned in Ireland, the UK and North America, with a re-issue of the album arriving on vinyl in 2006.
According to Brian O’Reilly, the concert will be one of the most creative and magical homegrown presentations that Ireland has seen in a long while.
“The concert is a mystical Celtic experience, the music is hauntlingly lyrical and spiritual, yet in idiom it is contemporary and vital in a recognisable Celtic style.”
The concert will be performed three times over February 3 and February 4 with choirs from two Wexford schools, the Loreto Convent and Selskar Abbey, getting the opportunity to showcase their talents. In total 120 people will perform The Children of Lir.
The event is taking place as part of Wexford’s cultural celebration of the 1916 centenary, with the arrangement and the participation of local adult and children’s choirs and performers turning the project into a vibrant community venture.
The Children of Lir is an ancient Irish allegory that describes the persona of Ireland in a mythological sense. The centrepiece of the legend is that love, sorrow and betrayal transmigrate from humans to swans, with the metaphor reflecting freedom, beauty, jealousy and everlasting youth as well as eternal silence.
It will be performed in Wexford at 12 noon and 8pm on February 3, and 8pm on February 4. www.nationaloperahouse.ie
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