Following the world premiere in Los Angeles and the Irish and European premiere in Cork earlier this year, tenor Gavan Ring returns to his hometown of Cahersiveen to perform a fantastic new cycle of songs based on the poetry of the bard of Iveragh, Sigerson Clifford.

Joined by acclaimed Los Angeles-based and Dublin-born pianist Louise Thomas, tenor Gavan Ring will take time out from his role as leading tenor in Verdi’s La Traviata at Opera North in the UK this Autumn to perform this incredible new work by Irish composer Stephen McNeff. The performance will take place in the historic surrounds of the Daniel O'Connell Memorial Church in Cahersiveen on the 16 October 2022 at 7pm.

Probably best known for penning the now hugely famous ‘The Boys of Barr na Sráide’, and ‘I am Kerry’, Sigerson Clifford was born in Cork City in 1913 and was raised in Cahersiveen, County Kerry. ‘Ballads of a Bogman – The Sigerson Clifford Song Cycle’ forms a selection of texts from Clifford’s seminal 1955 collection of poetry of the same name. Working with themes such as the revolutionary period, emigration, rural decline and the travelling community in Ireland, McNeff has set Clifford’s poetry to the most exquisite and poignant music, capturing beautifully the spiritual, historical and social fabric of early-twentieth century rural Ireland through the prism of life in South Kerry at the time.

‘I am hugely excited to finally bring these songs home – it has been a dream of mine ever since I read these poems a young lad growing up in Cahersiveen and South Kerry, to have them operatically set to music’, explains a delighted Gavan Ring. ‘These poems are so special, so evocative and Stephen – our brilliant composer – has created something truly unique and poignant. I think the audience in Cahersiveen will be blown away by the power and drama that Stephen has organically extracted from these exceptional poems. These songs elevate Clifford’s already magnificent poetry to the highest possible level’!

This new and exciting composition was facilitated by Chapman University in Los Angeles back in April where pianist Louise Thomas is Associate Dean of the College of Performing Arts and composer Stephen McNeff who is Professor of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music in London is eagerly anticipating the homecoming of these songs to South Kerry. ‘I am a big fan of Gavan’s voice and I approached him in late 2020 to collaborate as part of ‘CMC Colleagues’ a Contemporary Music Centre initiative to partner composers and artists together. Gavan had no hesitation in recommending that I look at Clifford’s poetry. I was instantly bowled over by his texts; Clifford possesses a clear voice and a technical mastery which made them perfect for these operatic songs’, describes an excited McNeff.

This performance is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media through Kerry County Council and the Daniel O’Connell Summer School. The concert will be also be recorded for broadcast by RTÉ Lyric FM.

Pre-booking for this event is essential.
Tickets €20 plus booking fee.

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