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19th Annual Irish Dance Festival: Workshops & Dancing Streamed Live


The Irish Arts Center NYC, undeterred by the global pandemic, are making the 19th Annual Irish Dance Festival a streaming event for all to see. Running Sunday, June 7 2020 the festival includes workshops and performances curated by artistic director Niall O’Leary TCRG, ADCRG.

The 19th annual celebration of Irish dancing features traditional music and moves from notable talent from around the country and local students alike. Panels and workshop also educate viewers on the rich history of Irish dancing.

Dancers include:

  • Donny Golden Dancers
  • Niall O’Leary Irish Dance Troupe
  • Darrah Carr Dance
  • Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance

To learn more, go to:

19th Annual Irish Dance Festival
June 7, 2020

Italy By Way of Hungary at Carnegie Hall

Photo by Attila Nagy.
The marvelous American debut tour of the superb Hungarian State Opera continued with a memorable orchestral concert at Carnegie Hall on the evening of Monday, November 5th.
The first half of the program, excellently conducted by Balázs Kocsár, was devoted to music from Italy, beginning with three works by the lesser known composer Aldo Finzi whose work has recently received some performances in New York. The first piece was the tempestuousInterludio,followed by the more noteworthy L’Infinito—one wonders if the title is an allusion to the celebrated eponymous poem by Giacomo Leopardi. This opus features an extremely beautiful Impressionist soundscape for much of its length. After Numquam (Sinfonia romana),the impressive soloist Nagao Haruka took the stage to perform Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Fabio Vacchi who joined the artists for a final bow.
The adored tenor Placido Domingo led the musicians in the delightful Rákóczi Marchof Hector Berlioz after which soprano Andrea Rost then joined the ensemble to sing “Heia, in den Bergen . . .” from the classic operetta, Die Csárdásfürstin” by Emmerich Kálmán and the lovely “Vilja Song” from Franz Lehár’s extremely popular The Merry Widow. The final two works on the program were the most substantial: the rarely performed Symphonic Minutes of the underrated Ernő von Dohnányi and the extraordinary Suite from The Miraculous Mandarinby Béla Bartók. Enthusiastic applause was rewarded delightfully with an encore of the final movement fromSymphonic Minutes.
The debut tour continues this week with performances of the Hungarian National Ballet at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

Stunning Gala Performance of Hungarian Opera & Ballet

Photo by Attila Nagy.
The marvelous Hungarian State Opera and Hungarian National Ballet presented a wonderful gala performance at the David Koch Theater on the evening of Sunday, November 4th, as part of its American debut tour which thus far has been a revelation.
The audience stood with the chorus for Ferenc Erkel’s moving “Himnusz”, the national anthem of Hungary, after which the winsome mistress of ceremonies addressed the guests followed by the appearance of celebrated soprano and former star of the Metropolitan Opera, Éva Marton, who spoke about her career. Legendary Placido Domingo delivered a recorded greeting and then the Hungarian Secretary of State for Culture, Peter Fekete spoke as well.
The excellent Overture to Erkel’s famous opera, Hunyadi László, preceded two further excerpts from the same work: La Grange’s aria, sung by Orsolya Hajnalka Rőser, and the Act I Finale, “Meghalt a cselszövő”, sung by István Horváth. Two excerpts from the same composer’s magnificent Bánk Bán followed: Petur’s aria sung by Zoltán Kelemen and Bánk’s aria, “Hazám, hazám”, sung by Boldizsár László. Contemporary choreographer Hans Van Manen’s effective Trois Gnossiemes, set to glorious piano music by Erik Satie preceded the thrilling Whirling—choreographed by András Lukács and set to music by Philip Glass—which was reminiscent of the work of Twyla Tharp and exquisitely closed the first half of the program.
After intermission, the dancers were electrifying in the fabulous Pas de trois from the superb Marius Petipa ballet, Le Corsaire. Piano soloist József Balog then took the stage to play Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasy and also played another work by the same composer while accompanying a lovely acrobat performing a remarkable aerial show.
The General Director of the company then recounted the impressive number of Hungarian conductors that have led major American orchestras after which the evening concluded with extraordinary music by the great Hungarian composer, Zoltán Kodály. First, there were two excerpts from the renowned opera, Háry János: “Szegény vagyok”, sung by Erika Gál, and the Intermezzo accompanying an astonishing quintet of folk dancers. Two numbers from The Spinning Room followed: “A csitári hegyek alatt” sung by Horváth and Zita Szemere, with more acrobatics; and the work’s memorable Finale which featured the company as a whole. The audience was invited to sing another of Hungary’s national anthems which it did with appropriate solemnity. This exceptional event was a fine tribute to the nation’s outsized contribution to world culture.

Cirque du Soleil ‘s "Volta" Strikes in Long Island May 17 - July 1


The new big top show from international entertainment behemoth Cirque du Soleil, Volta, with an energy-jolting focus on space-age extreme sports, plays Long Island May 17 – July 1. Its new eco-friendly white and grey “grand chapiteau” has risen adjacent to NYCB Live/Nassau Veterans Coliseum in Uniondale. The show is so colossal it took 16 creators to assemble it.

VCirqueSpecolta, written and directed by Bastien Alexandre (concept artist, Cirque’s Zumanity) under “director of creation” Jean Guibert, tells “a spellbinding story of transformation, about being true to oneself – fulfilling one’s true potential to be free to blaze your own trail.” Alexandre says it’s inspired, in part, “by the adventurous spirit that fuels action sports.”

The show stars a cast of international athletes who provide the adrenaline rush of jawdropping acrobatics against the visually striking production, driven in the tried-and-true Cirque tradition by a pulsating score. The band is under music director and international electronic composer Anthony Gonzalez, of the French band M83. Vocalists are Darius Harper and Camilla Bäckman. Julie Perron (Cirque’s Delirium, Viva Elvis, and Wintuk). is choreographer. Rob Bollinger and Philippe Aubertin are the acrobatic performance designers.

The story-line follows Waz, a game show contestant who’s lost touch with himself. He goes on the show in search of fame, thinking that will bring him love and acceptance, but finds fame isn’t the answer. Was begins a personal quest to find his true self. Along the way, he’s encouraged by an amazing group of free spirits to help him recognize the power to make it possible.

CirqueUnicycleDuoAmong those that make his journey extraordinary are unicyclists, roller skaters, precision tight rope walkers, military-style parkour [running, climbing, swinging, vaulting], BMX (bicycle motocross) daredevils, a woman swirling through the air suspended by her hair, Swiss ring and bungee artists, shape divers [sailing through gymnastic hoops and rings), and one of the most incredible acrobatic ensembles in Cirque’s history.

A highlight of every Cirque show is the costuming and the designs of acclaimed Emmy-winning Filipino-American fashion designer Zaldy (Goco) (Cirque’s Michael Jackson ONE, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball) may be the most colorful and daring of their 41 original productions [since 1984].

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