Galway Early Music Festival 2016

Gerard van Honthorst's 1623 painting The Concert.

Gerard van Honthorst's 1623 painting The Concert.

GENDER-BENDING baroque opera singers, 12th century love songs, and young musicians playing music from centuries ago, not to mention women's contribution to European music - it's the 2016 Galway Early Music Festival.

The festival, now in its 21st year, runs from Thursday May 12 to Sunday 15. This year's title/theme is Play, Lady, Play, as it explores women as composers, musicians, patrons, and inspirations in mediaeval, renaissance, and baroque music.

The highlight is likely to be Witches, Bitches and Britches: Gender-bending in Baroque Opera, on Friday 13 at 8pm in the Aula Maxima, NUIG. Leading Irish mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty will explore the roles for women in 17th century opera, and how sometimes women played male characters and men played female characters. It features songs by Vivaldi and Handel, along with music from Marc Antoine Charpentier’s setting of the Greek tragedy Medea.

Other shows to watch out for are 12th century love songs with Brigitte Lesne and Alla Francesca; the life of musician, patron and powerful political woman, Margaret of Austria with Sarah Groser; and a come-back concert by th efounders of the festival, The Good Ladies of Galway.

The young musicians of Athenry Music School and the St Nicholas Choristers perform the festival's opening concert with The Gregory Walkers (Laoise O’Brien, Malachy Robinson and Eamon Sweeney ), as part of the Galway Early Music pilot project, Early Music for Young Musicians. This gives young people the chance to work with professional musicians working in early music, and to perform with them.

More information and ticket booking is available on www.galwayearlymusic.com

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