Northern Ireland Opera (NIO) is set to take part in Sundays on the Maritime Mile, a series of free concerts taking place in different locations on Belfast’s historic Maritime Mile, part of the city’s Titanic Quarter, the opera company has announced.
The event is being hosted by Maritime Mile, an initiative developed by Maritime Belfast Trust, a charity responsible for preserving and celebrating Belfast’s maritime heritage. It is a series of visitor attractions and projects along the city’s iconic waterfront.
Each of the NIO concerts takes place on a Sunday afternoon and lasts for an hour. They are all free, with seating allocated on a first come, first served basis.
“Stay for an hour or drop by for an aria or two!” NIO said in a statement. “Each week we’ll be delivering a different pop-up performance with artists from our Studio and Associate Artists programmes and from our past productions.”
Accompanied by a pianist, various soloists will be performing music by composers such as Verdi, Puccini, Bellini, Bizet and Massenet.
The next event takes place on 5 June, at 2pm. It features vocalist Harry Lambert, who received his professional debut as the Steward in NIO’s recent production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods (1986). Lambert is also lead singer with Northern Irish-based folk band Carousel.
The concert will be held at the SS Nomadic. The world’s last-remaining White Star Line ship, the Nomadic has been fully restored and is back at home in Hamilton Dock, where she was built more than a century ago.
On 12 June at 2pm, Pennsylvania-born soprano Rachael Heater – who is set to star in NIO’s new production of Verdi’s La traviata (The Fallen Woman, 1853) – will be joined by pianist Lorraine Stanley – an accomplished Belfast-based musician with many years’ experience as a pianist, cellist and conductor – for an hour of arias and songs. This will also take place on the SS Nomadic.
Taking place on the same date is a special screening at RiverBox, a big screen on shipping containers on the Titanic Slipways – where the famous ship was built – showing a selection of films from NIO’s Northern Songs series.
From 9am to 9pm audiences can watch films of singers performing songs by Irish composers in iconic locations around Northern Ireland. All the singers have been winners or finalists in the Glenarm Festival of Voice, which takes place each year at the end of August in the coastal village of Glenarm.
Also at the Titanic Slipways, on 19 June, bass-baritone Ryan Garnham – a former NIO Associate Artist and a member of the NIO chorus – will perform selected pieces accompanied by Lorraine Stanley.
Harry Lambert will return to the Maritime Mile to perform at the SoundYard on 26 June at noon. This innovative art installation-cum-music pavilion was inspired by the sounds of Belfast’s shipyards. It is located on Queen’s Quay.
The final concert in the Sundays on the Maritime Mile programme heads back to the SS Nomadic. It brings together soprano Susan Shepherd – who is also a member of the NIO chorus – and pianist Lorraine Stanley, and will take place on 3 July at 2pm. The pair will perform a selection of well-known arias and songs.
In addition to these NIO artists, there will also be pop-up concerts by folk and bluegrass bands and performers, with events taking place from 1pm to 5pm on each of these dates, all at different venues along the Mile. Northern Irish performers such as Anthony Toner, Clive Culbertson, John McCullough Ciara O’Neill, Sarah Toner, Charlie Hanlon and many more are all taking part. Further details of these concerts are available on the Maritime Mile website.
Sundays on the Maritime Mile is a programme of free concerts along Belfast’s iconic waterfront.