Midsummer Music
Celine Byrne (soprano) & David Quigley (piano)
Tuesday 18th June 2013, 8pm

Concert Review

Reviewed by Terry Blain
June 26 2013
Culture Northern Ireland

"A 'delightfully informal' performance from the soprano is the highlight of the latest Newry Chamber Music concert"

Nestling in a secluded clearing on the site of an ancient oak wood at Derrymore, County Down is the Meeting House of the Religious Society of Friends, better known to many as Quakers. The squat, simple structure, hewn from Bessbrook granite a century and a half ago, makes a beautiful location for Newry Chamber Music's summer concert.

Wood-panelled and unostentatious, the hall is full and buzzing. No wonder – soprano Celine Byrne, a rising star in the younger generation of Irish classical performers, is giving a recital. She’s partnered by Camlough pianist David Quigley, who, with his sister Joanne, is the moving spirit behind the excellent range of concerts NCM is in the habit of providing.

Byrne opens with an operatic section, and hits the ground running with a dramatically charged account of ‘Song to the Moon’ from Dvorak’s Rusalka. No sense of easing her way gently into the evening here – Byrne is already nailing Dvorak’s soaringly rhapsodic melodies, and pinning the audience’s ears back with the raw emotion of her singing.

The voice is specially rich in its middle section, and has distinctive mezzo colorations in that register. The top is firm and penetrating, and though her trilling in Gounod’s ‘Jewel Song’ ... (Read the full review here at Culture Northern Ireland)

Culture Northern Ireland

Celine and David presented a delightful programme which included popular operatic arias, lieder by Brahms and Schumann and songs from hit musicals.

Song to the moon - Dvořák
O mio babbino caro - Puccini
Jewel Song - Gounod

Andante and Variations in F minor - Haydn (piano solo)
Two Intermezzos op.118 - Brahms (piano solo)

Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer - Brahms
Botschaft - Brahms
Widmung - Schumann


The Lark in the Clear Air - arr. Phyllis Tate
Sea Wrack - Hamilton Harty
My Lagan Love - Hamillton Harty
The Mother - TC. Kelly

Après un rêve, Nell - Fauré/Grainger (piano solo)
The Man I Love, Love Walked In (piano solo) - Gershwin/Grainger

Summertime (Porgy & Bess)  - Gershwin
I could have danced all night (My Fair Lady) - Lerner & Lowe
You'll never walk alone (Carousel) - Rodgers & Hammerstein

Friends Meeting House, Derrymore Road, Bessbrook BT35 7DN (map)
Date/Time: Tuesday 18th June - 8pm

For more information about each artist please visit the artists' individual website: and

About Celine Byrne
Irish soprano, Celine Byrne, has been making her mark on both the operatic and concert stages throughout the world with performance débuts at Carnegie Hall and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Her appearances at such houses and others including, the National Concert Hall, Dublin, the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow, National Grand Theatre, Beijing and Berliner Philharmonie have been greeted with enthusiastic acclaim by her audiences. “She has presence, a powerful and flexible voice, and the intelligence to understand how music and words work together” – The Irish Times.

Celine has become familiar to international audiences thanks to her collaboration with world-renowned tenors José Carreras, Roberto Alagna and Joseph Calleja. Together with Carreras, Celine has graced stages in Rotterdam, Linköping, Malmö, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Munich, Tecklenburg, Berlin, Nürnberg, Hamburg, Zagreb, Zadar and Ljubljana. Her musical partnership with Roberto Alagna has seen her in concert in Russia’s two major artistic centers; Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow and at the famous Mikhailovsky (Mussorgsky) Theater, St Petersburg while her performances with Joseph Calleja have brought her to Istanbul. Celine has also performed with many prestigious classical musicians including percussionist Evelyn Glennie and cellist Steven Doane.

The young singer has performed extensively throughout Europe as well as in the US, China, Russia and Mexico. From January to mid-March 2012 Celine covered 2 roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden – Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (conductor: Constantinos Carydis) and the title role in Rusalka (conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin). In March 2012 Celine made her Covent Garden début standing-in for Camilla Nylund as Rusalka. Other noteworthy engagements in recent seasons brought her back to Carnegie Hall and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall with Camerata Ireland led by Barry Douglas, and to the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing where her concert with the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra was broadcast to 400 million people.

Celine has also performed in Royce Hall, the Lütfi Kirdar Centre with the Istanbul Borusan Orchestra under the baton of Sascha Goetzel and on many occasions with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra at Dublin´s National Concert Hall. In March 2010 Celine made her operatic début as Mimì in La Bohéme with Scottish Opera. Her début CD ‘For Eternity’ was released in October 2010 and features arias from Italian, French and Czech operas in addition to Spanish Zarzuelas. This recording was conducted by Marco Zambelli and produced by RTÉ lyric fm. Celine has given public performances for such luminaries as President Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese. She has also had the pleasure of performing privately for Presidents, Ambassadors and other foreign dignitaries throughout the world.

Celine has performed at festivals including the Wexford Fringe Festival, Lyric Opera Dublin, The Anna Livia Opera Festival, Central European Music Festival, St. Moritz Arts Masters and Musical Olympus Festival in St. Petersburg amongst others. She has frequently appeared on television and radio – RTÉ, BBC, HRT, Beijing TV, Holland’s Radio 4, including international coverage of the Dubai Duty Free Derby, The International Eucharistic Congress, President Obama’s visit to Ireland and live concerts with José Carreras. Celine has a Masters in Music from the Royal Irish Academy of Music where she studied with Dr. Veronica Dunne and Dearbhla Brosnan, receiving the RIAM award for outstanding achievement. Celine also has an honours Music Degree from the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama where she studied with Edith Forrest, Trudi Carberry and Deborah Kelleher, and was awarded the college Gold Medal for excellence. She has received coaching at the National Opera Studio of London and studied with Christa Ludwig and Kristin Okerlund at the Vienna Staatsoper.

Celine was a participant in the inaugural artistic development programme at Wexford Opera and she has attended master classes with Wolfgang Holzmair, Malcolm Martineau, Dennis O’Neill, Tina Ruta and Roberta Alexandra. Celine currently consults with Christa Ludwig in Vienna, and Brenda Hurley in Dublin. Celine has received many awards both on a national and international platform. In Dublin, 2009, she was presented with the Margaret Burke-Sheridan Gold Medal for her contribution to the Arts. She was awarded First Prize at the Maria Callas Grand Prix, Athens 2007, the William Young Prize at the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition, Dublin 2007, and the ‘Brabants Dagblad Press Prize’ at the IVC International Singing Competition in s’Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands 2006. Celine is also a winner of 10 prizes at the Feis Ceoil, Dublin, the Bill Canning Bursary, Waterford 2003, and the John Mc Cormack Bursary, Dublin 2003.