By Donnacha Dennehy Alarm Will Sound Conducted by Alan Pierson Directed by Tom Creed
Presented in association with Irish Arts Center
Underdog history comes to life through new music and old Irish songs in composer Donnacha Dennehy’s opera about the Great Famine of 1845-52, rooted in Asenath Nicholson’s harrowing first-person account in Annals of the Famine in Ireland. Featuring acclaimed ensemble Alarm Will Sound (Nonesuch Records at BAM, 2014 Next Wave) and celebrated Irish folk singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, The Hunger imagines soprano Katherine Manley as Nicholson and Ó Lionáird as the voice of the voiceless, with instrumentalists integrated into the staging. Old recordings of traditional sean-nós songs dovetail seamlessly with Dennehy’s score, while video clips of interviews with Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, and others underscore the political roots of this tragedy that brought a nation to its knees.
Set and video design by Jim Findlay
Co-produced by Alarm Will Sound and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Commissioned by Alarm Will Sound with additional funding from Arts Council of Ireland, MAP Fund, The Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and New Music USA
Tom Creed and Donnacha Dennehy discuss the Great Famine of 1845—52 in Ireland and what it means to create an artistic work that brings to light new dimensions of historical narrative.
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