• Chris O'Rourke

Mezzo Masterpiece #2 - Tara Erraught


Mezzo Masterpiece #2 - Tara Erraught. Image by Pat Redmond.


Bel canto. Translated as 'beautiful singing'. Yet beautiful singing isn't simply singing beautifully. The technical aspects - legato, trills and leaps, messa de voce, breathing, position and support of the voice - take years of practice and a lifetime to master. Many hope to be called, but few are chosen to be its exponents. Irish Mezzo-soprano, Tara Erraught, is one of opera's chosen. In Mezzo Masterpiece #2 - Tara Erraught, Irish National Opera showcase bel canto singing and Erraught's talent, with Erraught revealing why she is taking the world by storm.


Produced in partnership with the Office of Public Works, Mezzo Masterpiece #2 also showcases the iconic St. Patricks Hall, Dublin Castle. Within whose walls Fergus Shiel conducts the Irish National Opera Orchestra in a rousing performance of Bellini's sweeping overture from I Capuleti E I Montecchi, (Romeo and Juliet) to get the evening underway. Bold, brash, and deliciously bombastic, hearts are set to racing and expectations raised. As if a gauntlet is being thrown to Erraught, daring her to follow. A brief respite as Irish National Opera's Executive Director, a debonair Diego Fasciati, outlines the evening, and Erraught takes up the challenge. By the time she concludes the exquisite short aria, Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio, followed by the impassioned, and unannounced, La tremenda ultrice spada, you are helplessly spellbound.

Tara Erraught with Irish National Opera Orchestra conducted by Fergus Shiels. Image by Pat Redmond.


Simply put, Erraught is simply extraordinary. Her singing conveying the lyrics, everything that lies beyond them, and something uniquely her own. Her voice, a magnificent instrument, shows amazing virtuosity, which, under Shiel's expert baton, traverses the height and depths of her emotional and vocal registers with ease. With Dopo L'oscuro Nembo, from Bellini's lesser known, Irish based opera, Adelson E Salvini, Erraught gives voice to the heartache words can only point to, leaving you curious to hear the full opera. Rossini's rarely heard aria Ah, Se È Ver Che In Tal Momento from, Il Barbiere Di Siviglia finds Erraught buoyant, soaring to musical and emotional crescendos then diving to endearing diminuendos.

Amy Ní Fhearraigh . Image by Pat Redmond.


Tempering the flourishes of bel canto with a charming touch of verismo, Irish soprano Amy Ní Fhearraigh's interpretations of Sì, Mi chiamano Mimi from Puccini's La Bohéme, followed by Lo son l'umile ancella from Francesco Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, prove something of a revelation. Looking composed and confident, rising star Ní Fhearraigh seems the type of singer capable of lighting up every recess of the stage with her voice and presence. Her captivating singing is such you could listen all day, and long into the night. Indeed, INO's showcasing of up and coming talent is not only commendable, it offers an opportunity to earn bragging rights for being able to say, "I saw them, then.' And you will want to hear Ní Fhearraigh, and hear more of her.

Tara Erraught. Image by Pat Redmond.

Rounding out the evening with a trio from Rossini, Erraught returns with Bel raggio lusinghier from Semiramide and Assisa a' pie d'un salice from Otello. The latter highlighting the silken harp skills of Dianne Marshall. Finishing with the delightful Tanti Affetti from La Donna Del Lago, aptly translating as 'so many emotions' Erraught reminds you why her star is shining so brightly


Whether singing joy unconfined or heartbreak by the numbers, Erraught is simply divine. As in lNO's magnificent La Cenerentola, Erraught is wholly immanent and utterly transcendent, displaying power and precision in the service of passion, with a youthful vulnerability that belies the wisdom in her voice. Indeed, to listen to Erraught is to listen to miracles.


Mezzo Masterpieces #2 featuring Mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught performing a bel canto selection was streamed live from St. Patrick's Hall, Dublin Castle on November 15 at 8.00pm and is available online for fourteen day after.


Mezzo Masterpieces #3 featuring Mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy, performing a selection from Mozart, will be live streamed from The Picture Gallery, Kilkenny Castle on December 10 at 8.00pm and available online for fourteen day after.


Tickets and information available from Irish National Opera.


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© 2020 Chris O'Rourke