Summer Lunchtime Concert Series Finale at the National Concert Hall, August 26th 2014.

The RTÉ Concert Orchestra is ready and rearing to go as we take our seats in the main venue for this, the final concert of the 2014 Summer Lunchtime Concert series.

Conductor George Jackson takes to the podium, and we are grateful to be introduced to the concert with a particularly sonourous lower brass chorale from Verdi’s Nabucco overture. The piece progresses into lightning fast string parts as Jackson lights up the stage with his proactive style and clear bodily involvement in the music.

Eamonn Mulhall soon joins Jackson at the front of the stage for more Verdi, this time the far more harrowing scene and aria ‘Quando le Sere al Placido‘ from Luisa Miller. Unlike many modern opera singers, Mulhall’s tremulous vibrato does not hamper the strength of his voice and capacity for subtle dynamic inflections. Both here and in the later ‘Una Furtiva Lagrima‘ while we appreciate his tone and technique, the audience does not weep with him over loves lost nor found.

Throughout the concert, presenter George Hamilton keeps us abreast of the musical contexts; audience members comment on the ease with which he can recall details and anecdotes about not just the more famous Donizetti piece but also the lesser-known Sibelius suite Excerpts from Pelléas et Mélisande. The piece ranges in its excerpts from sleepy and somewhat dull to a riveting ending, but is dominated completely by the finale of the concert; Kabalevsky’s Galop from The Comedians. The racing finish is particularly enjoyed by the children through the audience who bounce on their seats – a positive contrast from holding their hands over their ears during the earlier brass fortissimos.

This light finish comes after what was often a surprisingly dark programme, but one that was thoroughly enjoyed by all in the auditorium – and hopefully all of those listening via RTÉ Lyric FM as well. We’ll certainly  be looking forward to summer 2015 not just for an improvement on the weather, but also the return of the RTÉ Summer Lunchtime Concert series.


Verdi – Nabucco Overture

Verdi – Scene and aria ‘Quando le sere al placido’ from Luisa Miller

Leoncavallo – Scene and aria ‘Recitar! Vesti la Giubba’ from Pagliacci

Coates – By the Sleepy Lagoon

Donizetti – ‘Una Furtiva Lagrima’ from L’Elisir d’Amore

Sibelius – Excerpts from Pelléas et Mélisande

Kabalevsky – Scherzo and Galop from The Comedians