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IBO launches Spring/Summer season 2023

The Irish Baroque Orchestra’s new season places innovative programming and artistic excellence at its core, bringing high-quality experiences to audiences across Ireland and abroad. The orchestra becomes an Associate Artist at the National Concert Hall in 2023, marking 10 years since its installation as a resident ensemble of this significant national cultural institution. The international profile of the orchestra continues to develop with its début performance at London’s Wigmore Hall in April 2023.

A new annual commitment to performing Bach’s St Matthew Passion at Easter sees this powerful telling of the crucifixion story brought to audiences in Kilkenny, Dublin and Galway. A revival of the piece in 1829 by Felix Mendelssohn, describing it as “the greatest of all Christian works”, sparked a broader movement of interest in Bach’s music which has stood the test of time. This extraordinary piece is brought to life by the IBO and the voices of Sestina, under the artistic direction of Peter Whelan.

Handel’s ‘Messiah’, the 1742 Dublin premiére of which was a defining moment in Ireland’s cultural history, is a fitting choice for the Irish Baroque Orchestra’s debut at the Wigmore Hall in London this April. With a stellar array of soloists including Hilary Cronin, Helen Charlston, Mark Chambers, Anthony Gregory, Frederick Long and Edward Grint, this is sure to be a rendering of ‘Messiah’ like no other.

The IBO welcomes renowned director, organist and musicologist John Butt and rising star Hugo Hymas in May for a programme exploring deep emotion in the German Baroque. Works by Bach and Buxtehude showcase the emotional implications of textual expression, combined with their mastery of rich harmonies and dark textures. ‘Emotional Motivations’ offers the opportunity for audiences to be transported and inspired, through deep and reflective calm.

The phenomenal Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy joins the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Peter Whelan for a return to beautiful Co. Waterford in June, at the invitation of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival. A vibrant programme of Handel arias is sure to create musical fireworks, in the stunning setting of Dromore Yard with panoramic views across the Blackwater Valley.

The role of female composers in the Baroque period has recently come into focus, with audiences and musicians increasingly becoming aware of the astonishing contributions that women made to the genre. In the new digital feature ‘Jacquet de la Guerre’, Claire Duff, Aisling Kenny and musicians from the IBO explore the story of Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, with performances of two of her trio sonatas and a cantata ‘Le Sommeil de L’Ulisse’. This feature marks International Women’s Day in March and is presented in partnership with Finding a Voice.

A new relationship with the National Centre for Early Music in the UK sees the IBO making its first visit to the Beverley Early Music Festival in May, under guest director Tom Foster. ‘Quintessential’ explores music from Central Europe, where composers were inspired by use of the 5-part string band (an inheritance from the rich sound world of Lully’s writing). This developed with fashionable new harmonic frameworks from Italy, with Corelli’s influence clearly in evidence. This performance creates a journey that sets dark and sombre moments alongside exuberant virtuosity - be moved and inspired!

You can explore the full season here. We look forward to welcoming you to a performance in 2023!

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