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Clarecastle tenor Dean Power

Clare tenor to help celebrate Joyce’s 140th birthday

CLARECASTLE tenor Dean Power will be among those performing at a special concert next month to celebrate James Joyce’s 140th birthday and the centenary of the publication of Ulysses.

The concert on February 1  in the Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire will feature for the first time in Ireland, Geoffrey Molyneux Palmer’s settings of Joyce’s Chamber Music. As well as Dean’s singing, the performance will also feature Mairéad Hurley on piano and Susie Kennedy as the narrator.

In 1907, the year of its publication, Palmer wrote to Joyce asking permission to set some poems from Chamber Music. Joyce enthusiastically received the ten songs he was sent and wrote, “I hope you will set all of Chamber Music in time” and “I shall be glad to hear from you and to know that your delicate music is meeting at last with the appreciation it deserves”

Joyce tried to arrange publication of the songs on several occasions but Palmer was hesitant and it never happened. The reason for Palmer’s reluctance is possibly because Joyce was not accepted in Ireland at the time.

Born in Staines in 1882, the same year as Joyce, Palmer moved to Ireland in 1910 and lived in Sandycove with his two sisters who ran the Rathdown School in Glenageary. He suffered from multiple sclerosis and they looked after him for the rest of his life.

The songs seemed to have been lost until a researcher Myra Teichel Russel found them at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1981. She discovered that after Palmer’s death in 1957, a Joyce collector Dr Harley Croessmann bought the Chamber Music manuscripts from his sisters for $56. He eventually gave them to Carbondale. Russel published the songs in 1993. Thought to be lost for many years, they were Joyce’s favourites

The event is presented by Friends of the James Joyce Tower & Trilling Trilling Productions and has been written and directed by Peter McDermott.

Dean Power was a member of the ensemble at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, where he had been resident since graduating from the company’s Opera Studio at the end of the 2011-12 season.

After ten years as an ensemble member, 20-21 was his final season as he begins to expand upon his already growing career as an international solo guest artist. He will return to Munich in February as a guest and will be making house debuts at Opera Lille and the Salzburg Summer Festival in 2022.

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