Arts

Ciáran Hinds takes to Belfast stage tonight in century-old classical music theatre tale

Music, dance and drama combine in The Soldier's Tale, featuring the The Fews Ensemble and Ciarán Hinds being performed in three venues across Northern Ireland this week

IT IS 100 years since Igor Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale was premiered, just before the end of the First World War. Now, in a modern translation of this musical theatre production, Newry Chamber Music will present the iconic work, featuring the Fews Ensemble, Belfast born actor Ciáran Hinds and contemporary dancer Emily Ayers.

Stravinsky's dark fable tells the story of a soldier on leave from war, who meets the devil and trades his fiddle for a book that controls the key to untold wealth and success – or so he is led to believe.

This production of the "cautionary tale for all cultures and times" is the brainchild of violinist Joanne Quigley McParland, who together with her brother, concert pianist David Quigley, formed Newry Chamber Music almost 15 years ago.

The pair, from Camlough in south Armagh, formed the Fews Ensemble, a flexible chamber ensemble, in 2016 and have performed a number of concerts.

Its title comes from the both their home region's historical name, as well as making reference to it's intention to fuse various art forms, and for this production will use seven musicians.

"Ciáran and I first talked about it five years ago and then I got busy having kids and he got busy making movies. I brought up the subject again six months ago and decided to go for it," explains Joanne.

Joanne first became acquainted with Game of Thrones and Harry Potter actor Hinds when she performed The Coolin live in an RTÉ interview with Miriam Callaghan, where he chose tracks that were meaningful to his life.

"The Soldier's Song was the first piece of Stravinsky I encountered at college and shortly after I played his music again at the Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra," says the former acting leader of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, who now works freelance.

"The music is so rhythmical and powerful and it's the perfect piece for Ciáran, who plays the three roles of the narrator, the devil and the soldier. "

:: The Fews Ensemble with Ciarán Hinds present The Soldier's Tale at Belfast MAC tonight (themaclive.com), Warrenpoint Town Hall on November 9 (newrychambermusic.com) and the Seamus Heaney HomePlace on November 10 (sold out).

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