Three Irish Tenors to bring touch of Dublin to Annapolis

Christmas program to include show tunes, holiday songs, arias

Arundel Live

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December 04, 2003|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I admit I've never felt compelled to associate Christmas with Ireland.

Sure, the world premiere of Handel's Messiah was in Dublin in the spring of 1742, but that's a tenuous connection at best, considering that the concert took place about 26 decades ago and that two-thirds of that blockbuster oratorio isn't about the birth of Jesus anyway.

St. Patrick's Day, sure. But Christmas and the Emerald Isle?

Let it be noted, though, that I'm changing my tune because of the magical tunes that will be spun out at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts on Sunday evening when Ciaran Nagle, Anthony Norton and Paul Byrom, known as the Three Irish Tenors, visit Annapolis for Christmas from Dublin.

Favorite Christmas melodies, Broadway classics and impassioned tenor operatic arias will be on the program, along with the beloved ballads so emblematic of the island where even the clerics, in St. Adamnan's words, "sing like birds."

Eclecticism rules at Three Irish Tenors concerts because each member of the ensemble is an accomplished artist with a different vocal style.

Nagle, best known as the tenor soloist in the perennially popular Riverdance: The Show, which has thrilled audiences around the world, is a graduate of Dublin's College of Music.

Nagle is a veteran of the opera stage and has performed such roles as Tamino in Mozart's Magic Flute and Tom in Stravinsky's Rake's Progress. Nagle has a vocal style that also has been influenced by starring roles in the Broadway musical West Side Story and in the frothy operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Norton is a former member of the choruses of the Scottish Opera and Milan, Italy's Teatro alla Scala. A frequent performer with Ireland's National Symphony Orchestra, Norton has been a tenor soloist in Benjamin Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erd and the interlude in Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

Byrom, who joined the tenors in April last year, has played leading parts in South Pacific and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and recently sang the title role in Gounod's opera Faust at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre.

The three will be joined by another trio of Irish singers, Jacqueline Whelan, also an expert harpist, Danna Davis and Ellen McElroy, and by a seven-piece band of fiddles, drums and other Celtic instruments.

"It is next to impossible, I believe, to toss a brick in the air anywhere in County Galway without it landing on the head of some musician," flutist James Galway, one of Ireland's national treasures, wrote in his autobiography.

Sounds like a wonderful spot to spend the holiday season at that.

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