A Celebration of Saint Columba

with Alexander’s Feast by Georg Friedrich Handel

Featured Artists

Conductor
Darren Hargan
Harp
Alexander Boldachev
Concertmaster
Bojan Čičić
Soprano
Claudia Boyle
Mezzo-Soprano
Carolyn Dobbin
Tenor
John Porter
Bass-baritone
Kamohelo Tsotetsi

Alexander’s Feast is best summed up by its other title, The Power of Music. The text is by John Dryden but was adapted by Handel’s friend, the Northern Irish librettist Newburgh Hamilton (1691-1761), who was originally from county Tyrone.

Alexander’s Feast is Handel’s enduring tribute to music’s magical ability to “raise a mortal to the skies”  and “draw an angel down” and, therefore, it’s the perfect choice to open the residency of Le Foyer des Artistes at St Columb’s Hall, bringing together some of the world’s best musicians and artists for this performance played with period baroque instruments, led by concertmaster, Bojan Čičić.


Featuring

Le Foyer Open House person on roof
Conductor

Darren Hargan

Harp

Alexander Boldachev

Concertmaster

Bojan Čičić

Claudia-Boyle
Soprano

Claudia Boyle

CDobbin_opt
Mezzo Soprano

Carolyn Dobbin

Tenor

John Porter

Kamahelo
Bass-baritone

Kamohelo Tsotetsi

Booking Opens
22 September 2022

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Booking Opens
22 September 2022

For a reminder please enter your email address here:

 

Booking Opens
22 September 2022

For a reminder please enter your email address here:

 

Booking Opens
22 September 2022

For a reminder please enter your email address here:

 

Booking Opens
22 September 2022

For a reminder please enter your email address here:

 

Booking Opens
22 September 2022

For a reminder please enter your email address here:

 

- Picture David Creedon / Anzenberger
Associate Pianist
Gary Beecher

We are pleased to announce Gary Beecher as Associate Artist with Le Foyer des Artistes and as official pianist for The Concerto Competition, Finalists’ Recital. One of Ireland’s most accomplished young pianists, Gary Beecher is from Cork and leads an extremely varied career as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist.

He has performed as concert soloist with RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra. He has also appeared as soloist at the National Concert Hall and RDS in Dublin, University Concert Hall, Limerick, Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall in London.

In 2019, Gary had a string of success at international competitions, winning the Nadia and Lili Boulanger International Voice-Piano Competition in Paris and the Rudolf Jansen Pianist Prize at the 53rd International Vocal Competition Lied Duo in ‘S-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. In the same year he also won 2nd Pianist Prize at the prestigious International Helmut Deutsch Lied Competition in Vienna.

Gary was also a Fellow and staff accompanist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where he completed his Master Degree, mentored by Julius Drake and Charles Owen. He is an alumnus of Cork School of Music, where he studied with Susana and Jan Čáp, Michael McHale and Gabriela Mayer. He is also a former pupil of Jacques Rouvier, Universität der Künste, Berlin, and John O’Conor, Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM).

In addition to his concert career, Gary teaches piano at the RIAM, and is coach and accompanist at both the Cork School of Music and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick.

Le Foyer Open House person on roof
Conductor
Darren Hargan

Darren Hargan is the founder and Artistic Director of Le Foyer des Artistes. He is a conductor and one of the most sought-after vocal coaches and accompanists for singers in Europe. From Derry City in Ireland, he also holds Swiss citizenship.

He studied on the prestigious joint course at the Royal Northern College of Music with the University of Manchester, spending his final year at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. He was subsequently awarded a full scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London.

He began his career at the Opernhaus Zürich in Switzerland under Alexander Pereira where he was engaged for 7 years as pianist and assistant conductor, working with the most famous singers and conductors in the world. During this time he was also principal coach of the Internationales Opernstudio, working with international casts of young singers.

Darren has conducted the Philharmonia Opernhaus Zürich, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Voralberg Sinfonieorchester in Bregenz, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Vienna, Arnold Schoenberg Choir, and the Karlsbader Sinfonieorchester in the Czech Republic. He has also worked as assistant to Markus Poschner at the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana and the Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera in Lugano, Switzerland.

Passionate about contemporary music, he has conducted several world premières. He has also conducted many works by Schoenberg and Pierre Boulez. He has conducted Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, The Turn of the Screw and a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Switzerland and England for the Britten Centenary. Darren has also worked regularly with period instruments, conducting productions of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Handel’s Rinaldo as well as Gluck’s Armide and Orfeo with French classical instruments.

He has worked as a guest at Le Grand Théâtre de Genève, Wexford Opera Festival, Festival di Morcote, Selzach Summer Opera Festival, Zürcher Kammerorchester, Locarno Film Festival, Theater Luzern, American Music Institute in Graz, Theater Orchester Biel Solothurn, Theater 11 Zürich, Opera Northern Ireland and Theater an der Wien.

In 2019, he was invited to the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival in Ireland where he conducted Don Pasquale to critical acclaim. He returns later in 2021 to conduct Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi as well as the world première of Ina Boyle’s Maudlin of Paplewick in his own critical performing edition.

Darren studied piano with Irwin Gage and conducting with renowned contemporary music specialist Arturo Tamayo and Marc Kissoczy, Professor of conducting at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.

ABoldachev
Harp
Alexander Boldachev

Alexander Boldachev was born in 1990 in Saint Petersburg, Russian and has been hailed for his ‘absolutely thrilling’ performances. He studied at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Switzerland and has been breaking the mould of the C21st harpist with his exceptional virtuosity on both the concert pedal harp as well as the Salvi Delta electric harp. He is the official artist of Salvi Harps, a regular guest artist at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and founder of the Harp Festival Zürich.

Following his solo debut at age 8, Alexander began his international career as a soloist, chamber musician, and composer, bringing the harp to new audiences throughout 45 countries across 5 continents. As a composer and arranger, his extensive compositions have expanding the harp repertoire with transcriptions of major orchestral works, popular hits by Queen, The Beatles, Nirvana, and Adele, and excerpts of music from films such as Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spirited Away, and James Bond.

In addition to more than 200 arrangements, Alexander’s compositions include programmatic works for harp and orchestra, harp featured theatrical works, choral works, and film music collaborations. As a harp pedagogue, he has led masterclasses at The Juilliard School, Royal Academy of Music, Toronto Royal Conservatory, and other prestigious music conservatories around the world.

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Concertmaster
Bojan Čičić

Croatian-born Bojan Čičić is one of the most outstanding violinists of his generation. A specialist in repertoire ranging from the late 16th century to the romantic violin concertos of Mendelssohn and Beethoven, he is also the leader of both the Academy of Ancient Music and Florilegium.

Bojan is the founder of the Illyria Consort. Established to explore rare repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries, they have appeared at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, the Korkyra Baroque Festival, Festival Laus Polyphoniae, and at the Festival de Sablé. Their debut recording of Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli’s Sonate da camera Nos. 1-6a won critical acclaim and was chosen as one of Presto Classical’s “Presto Recordings of the Year” for 2017. Bojan’s recording with Rachel Podger, of J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, was also named the best available recording of the work by BBC Music Magazine.

The Illyria Consort’s second disc, a world première recording of Giovanni Giornovich’s London Violin Concertos, was released in March 2019, followed by the second volume of Carbonelli’s Sonate da camera (Nos. 7-12).

He recently appeared as soloist in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the Kioi Hall Chamber Orchestra Tokyo, and with Instruments of Time and Truth in violin concertos by Mendelssohn and Beethoven. In 2021, Bojan will appear as director and soloist with Het Gelders Orkest in the Netherlands, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and the Washington Bach Consort.

In 2016, Bojan was appointed Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music, London and he is passionate about training the next generation of instrumentalists in historically-informed playing styles. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife and two children.

Claudia-Boyle
Soprano
Claudia Boyle

Claudia Boyle is one of Ireland’s most outstanding sopranos. A former member of the Young Singers Project at the Salzburger Festspiele, she has performed internationally to critical acclaim at the most important cultural centres in the world including Zürich, Rome, Dresden, London, Berlin and New York. She has also appeared at Den Norske Opera, Semperoper in Dresden, Danish National Opera, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and English National Opera.

Praise for her exceptional vocal versatility and dramatic ability for contemporary music, Claudia has excelled in the performance of music by Gerald Barry and his contemporaries, appearing at the Rose Theater, New York with the New York Philharmonic, the Barbican Centre, London, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

At the Salzburger Festspiele she has performed with Riccardo Muti, in Tokyo with Paavo Järvi and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, in Liverpool with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Ian Tracey, and in Hannover with Eivind Gullberg Jensen and the NDR Radiophilharmonie in Henze’s Nachtstücke und Arien.

Claudia has also performed with Alan Gilbert and the Orchestre National de Lyon in Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 and with Paarvo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Bremen. With Kent Nagano and Ensemble Modern, Claudia sang in the première performances of a new chamber version of Bernstein’s A Quiet Place at the Konzerthaus Berlin with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, which was subsequently recorded for Decca.

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Mezzo Soprano
Carolyn Dobbin

The Northern Irish mezzo-soprano Carolyn Dobbin has performed extensively throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe. She has sung at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio, English National Opera, Grange Park Opera, Opera Holland Park, Irish National Opera, Mid Wales Opera, Longborough Opera, Dorset Opera Festival, Stadttheater Bern, and the Royal Albert Hall.

A former Samling Scholar, Carolyn began her career as a teacher of art and design before being offered a place at the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. In 2010 she became an Associate Artist at Welsh National Opera and in 2012 she was engaged for 2 years as principal mezzo-soprano at the opera house in Luzern, Switzerland.

Carolyn sang with Richard Bonynge and Retrospect Opera in the recording of Edward Loder’s rare opera Raymond and Agnes. She also established the Northern Irish Song Project with the aim of collecting and record forgotten songs by Northern Irish composers and promoting song cycles by living composers. Her solo CD of songs by Northern Irish composers, recorded with Iain Burnside and released by Delphian Records, featured on BBC Radio 3 and BBC TV in 2018.

John Porter
Tenor
John Porter

From Donegal in Ireland, John Porter is a graduate of the University of Ulster and Royal Academy Opera, London. He is an alumnus of the Georg Solti Accademia in Italy and Les Azuriales in France, and has been a Young Artist at Garsington Opera and Northern Ireland Opera (NIO). More recently, he was a finalist in the prestigious competition at Accademia Teatro alla Scala, Milan.

In 2019/20, John returned to NIO as Alfred in Die Fledermaus and as the Narrator in The Chronic Identity Crisis of Pamplemousse, a new children’s opera by Greg Caffrey. He joined The Belfast Ensemble to sing in the world première of Conor Mitchell’s new stage work Abomination: A DUP Opera Review, which was hailed in The Guardian as ‘an outstanding new work’. John also made his debut as Tamino in The Magic Flute at the Waterperry Opera Festival. In concert, John has performed works such as Bach’s St John Passion, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.

This year, he performed in the Northern Songs Project for NIO, produced in conjunction with Jackdaws Music Education Trust, as part of their award-winning education project, OperaPLUS.

John makes his debut at the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival in September 2021 as Rinuccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. He will also create the role of Aeglamour in the world première performance of Maudlin of Paplewick by Ina Boyle.

John continues to study with Rosa Mannion and he is grateful for the generous support of The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, The Kathleen Trust, The Richard Lewis Jean Shanks Trust, The Nicholas Berwin Charitable Trust, Help Musicians UK, and International Opera Awards Foundation.

Kamahelo
Bass-baritone
Kamohelo Tsotetsi

South African Bass-Baritone, Kamohelo Tsotetsi was born in 1990. He studied music at the North West University in Potchefstroom, graduating in opera under the guidance of Professor of Singing, Cupido Conroy.

He grew up in Kroonstad playing the trumpet and trombone with local bands, and later began singing with local choirs. This experience led to various opportunities to sing opera and participate in the South African schools singing competition. He has since appeared in productions of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, Purcell’s Dido & Aenas, Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion, Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Haydn’s Die Schöpfung.

Kamohelo was a semi-finalist in the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition and he was also a finalist in the ATKV-Muziqanto Singing Competition in 2017. He has participated in masterclasses led by Kobie Van Rensburg, Werner Nel, Jacques Le Roux, Kamal Khan and Barbara Hill Moore.

In 2020, Kamahelo won the Voices of South Africa International Opera Singing Competition, founded by South African opera singer, Njabulo Madlala. This incredible success has gained Kamohelo the attention of an international audience and he has recently been invited to join the prestigious National Opera Studio in London where he will begin in September 2021.