Sligo to echo to Baroque sounds


The 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music takes place this weekend, from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 September.

VISITORS: Prague Baroque group Collegium Marianum will perform this weekend as part of the Sligo Festival of Baroque Music.
VISITORS: Prague Baroque group Collegium Marianum will perform this weekend as part of the Sligo Festival of Baroque Music.

With the range and quality of music on offer in Sligo these days to suit all tastes it would not be far fetched for the city to lay claim to the title of musical capital of Ireland.

Music by the famous and today widely popular composers Handel and Vivaldi will feature in the forthcoming festival of music to take place in The Model over the weekend 25th to 27th September along with the music of other less well known but equally brilliant contemporary composers of the so called Baroque period (roughly the period 1650-1750).

The programme of this year’s Sligo Festival of Baroque Music features a concert by The Irish Baroque Orchestra under the dynamic leadership of violinist Monica Huggett. The festival also provides a unique Irish opportunity to hear a celebrated group from Prague – Collegium Marianum – who will feature in their concerts music popular in their native city during the period by well-known composers including Vivaldi and by lesser known composers, notably Czech masters.

The opening Friday evening concert (at 8 pm) provides a unique juxtaposition of arias and duets from Handel’s opera Floridante performed by Sarah Brady (Soprano), Niamh O’Sullivan (Mezzo–soprano) and the Sligo Baroque Orchestra, accompanied by 21st century contemporary dance from Hereinafter Dance Company.

Collegium Marianum from Prague will perform at the Saturday lunchtime (1 pm) and for the final Sunday evening concerts (at 7.30 pm) and at the Sunday concert they will be accompanied fellow Prague musician, Soprano Hana Blazikov who recently made her debut in New York’s Carnegie Hall. The concert will include a beautiful and very moving aria by the otherwise little known Antonio Caldara, which will be familiar to listeners to RTE Lyric FM.

Monica Huggett’s illustrious career has taken her across the world playing with the leading Baroque orchestras under Ton Koopman, Christopher Hogwood and Trevor Pinnock.

Monica Huggett brings to her playing of Baroque music an energy, passion and intensity which would rival any rock music performance and puts a lie to any suggestion that this type of music is anything but alive and as gripping as it was when written so many centuries ago. The Saturday evening performance of the Irish Baroque Orchestra featuring Telemann and Vivaldi under Monica Huggett’s leadership will be a performance not to be missed.

The Saturday late night concert (10 pm) features a return of the superb Colin Booth noted harpsichord maker and player. An intimate Sunday afternoon concert will feature Sarah Groser on viols at 2 pm.

The weekend also includes an introduction to Baroque Music for Schools and workshops and ensemble playing masterclasses which will allow young players to learn from experienced professionals.

Over the weekend there is also a chance to hear talented local young musicians and professionals of the Sligo Baroque Orchestra lead by violinist Nicola Cleary and under the direction of the inspirational Rod Alston who has done so much for music in Sligo since founding the Sligo Baroque Orchestra 25 years ago and the Festival of Baroque Music now in its 20th year.

The orchestra provides a rare opportunity for young players to learn the dynamics of playing in ensembles and has undoubtedly inspired some who have already gone on to forge professional musical careers. While based in Sligo Nicola Cleary maintains an impressive international career – including being leader of the orchestra at the celebrated Wexford Festival Opera.

Admission charges for individual concerts vary from €15- €18 full price (concessions €8 – €15). Season tickets are €75 (concessions €50). Advance tickets available from the Hawkswell or Wards pharmacy. The cost of admission to the Introduction to Baroque Music for schools at 1.30pm on Friday 25th is €4 for children and €8 for adults. Admission to all concerts is free for accompanied children under 12 years.

For full programme details see Facebook or – including contact details for masterclasses/workshops.

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