GALWAY CITY’S Annual Gala Christmas Cabaret, takes place this year on Thursday December 1, in The Inis Mór Ballroom of the Radisson Blu Hotel, and boasts a superb programme of music, dance, and song which promises to be a truly memorable night’s entertainment.
The concert is in aid of three very worthy charities; Croí (The West of Ireland Cardiology Foundation ), The Galway Hospice, and Irish Autism Action.
Among the many notable performers who will appear on the night is internationally-renowned Irish soprano Regina Nathan. Her career in opera, concert, and recital has taken her from her native Ireland across Europe, and as far as New York’s Carnegie Hall, and Kuala Lumpur.
Regina has sung major lyric soprano roles throughout her career. Her repertoire ranges from the title role in Cavalli’s La Calisto to the world-premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s The Country Of The Blind for the Aideburgh Festival of English National Opera.
Regina has appeared as Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, Moore’s Baby Doe, Gluck’s Euridice, Verdi’s Violetta, Bizet’s Leila, Offenbach’s Antonia, and as Amelia in Verdi’s Un Ballo In Maschera. Her portrayal of the role of Puccini’s Cio Cio San in Madame Butterfly for Opera Ireland and at the Stadttheater Glessen, was showered with critical praise as was her role of Cleopatra in Handel’s Julius Caesar and when playing the title role in Bellini’s Norma.
Her recordings include Britten, Complete Folk Song Arrangements, Mahler’s Symphony No 8, and Ave Maria with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
A devoted recitalist, Regina’s talents also embrace everything from classic lieder to traditional Irish song. She has captivated audiences throughout Ireland, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Room, the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, and famously with Placido Domingo in a sold-out concert at Dublin’s Point Theatre.
A return to the stage
Over the last five years, since the birth of her daughter, audiences have not seen quite so much of Regina in performance as she put the emphasis on her home life but it looks as if that is set to change as she gears herself up to resume more work.
“I didn’t want to be leaving my daughter as she was so small but I’m starting to get back in my career again now,” she reveals over a morning phone call. “I have two CDs in the pipeline which were sponsored by The Independent and should be out in the next couple months all going well.
“One is entitled Nearer to Thee which is a mixture of old hymns and sacred songs, like ‘How Great Thou Art’, ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Holy City’ - I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out. The other CD features material from my operatic repertoire by the likes of Puccini, Verdi, and so on.”
Having enjoyed so many successful operatic roles in her career to date, what would Nathan pick out as her favourites and are there any special roles she would like to do in the future?
“My favourite ones to date are Madame Butterfly and La Traviata. I could sing those forever,” she declares. “I don’t know what it is about them but every time I perform them something new always hits me, that’s just the genius in the music.
“There’s always something alive and creative going on with them. As for roles I would like to do, I’m still working on Mozart roles which are fantastic like Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and the Countess in Marriage of Figaro. I’m working on them myself because working Mozart is very good for the voice.”
What can Galway audiences look forward to hearing her perform at the Gala Christmas Cabaret?
“I’m still finalising my set-list because I want to make sure it fits in with the rest of the programme,” she says, “but it will be a mix of light and popular songs and some operatic pieces. I may do a few seasonal songs as well.”
As well as Regina Nathan, the concert will also feature such performers as internationally feted composer, singer, and Roman Catholic priest Liam Lawton, harpist Annette Griffin, Italian tenor Fabio Stara, vintage-dance ensemble The Vaudeville Vamps, tango-dancers Enrique and Marion, Dance Fusion Galway, and the Galway Swing Dancers.
The cabaret will commence in the foyer of the Radisson with Christmas carols from the Tribal Chamber Choir and music from the brilliant Guinness Jazz Band. MC for the evening is popular TG4 personality Daithi O’Sé. The music director is Mark Keane and the show is produced, as always, by Mary A Cunningham.
It seems sure to be a fantastic night out and tickets, which are only €25 are available from Zhivago Records in Shop Street.