The passion of Limerick Choral Union celebrating Easter

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130 choristers with a 40-strong choir led by four soloists and Malcolm Green

A CONCERT invoking the Way of the Cross in music most beautiful is coming to a venue near you. This will be Limerick Choral Union’s Easter tribute at University Concert Hall on Saturday April 29, 8pm when they will present Puccini’s ‘Messa di Gloria’ and Rossini’s ‘Stabat Mater’.

The two oratorio works are of the occasion, harmonic, spiritual and magnificent.

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Chairman Darragh Curtin outlines LCU’s long preparation commensurate with the occasion: 130 choristers and orchestra of piccolo, bassoons, violas, trombones directed by Malcolm Green.

“We have great soloists in Róisín Walsh (soprano), Sarah-Ellen Murphy (alto), Eamonn Mulhall (tenor) and Jeffrey Ledwidge (bass),” this bass-baritone says, crediting Limerick’s Olive Cowpar with having trained Walsh and Murphy in younger years. Olive is a long-serving mentor “who has singlehandedly turned out excellent singers”. Of the sung mass, Darragh observes, “It is operatic. Puccini is naturally operatic, wonderfully so. The essence of opera is passion.”

For himself the love is heartfelt. ”I enjoy the collective, the idea that we all come together in some mechanism to create something in the same moment.

“We have put in thousands of hours, 130 people to create this, 30 or 40 hours each in rehearsal since the start of January. Not to mind the hours that people spend outside of that, listening to the music and going through books.”

The outcome for us the audience is a concert that reflects the profound Passion of Christ. “It is impossible to attend something like that and to not have it evoke some level of involvement.”

“Rossini’s ‘Stabat Mater’ is the crucifix and Christ’s mother, that entire side of it. Both of these pieces, Puccini and Rossini’s, are really operatic. Both are Italian composers who have opera in their DNA. That translates itself in the music they produced for oratorio”.

This celestial swell to Heaven is on Saturday 29 at 8pm, www.uch.ie