Claudia Boyle, Niall O’Sullivan & Brian Connor

Claudia Boyle, Niall O’Sullivan & Brian Connor

Claudia Boyle, Niall O’Sullivan & Brian Connor
The enduring appeal of high brasswinds combined with voice goes back several centuries, to the days when trebles and tenors of the Venetian cori spezzatti sang alternatim against cornetts and sackbuts high from the balconies of St. Mark’s in Venice.

Claudia Boyle soprano
Niall O’Sullivan
Brian Connor

April’s tour showcases the lasting appeal of this pairing through the combined talents of a trio made up of some of the country’s most sought-after artists. Leading this line-up is soprano Claudia Boyle, a national treasure whose stellar international career has taken her to the four corners of the globe in collaboration with the likes of Riccardo Muti, Paavo Järvi and Kent Nagano. Equally at home on opera and concert stages—or even in front of a film camera—Boyle’s crystalline voice intertwines with the world-class musicianship of Irish trumpet virtuoso Niall O’Sullivan in an eclectic programme that includes Mozart, Handel and Haydn alongside Donizetti, Kurt Weill and Piazzolla. Weaving together the clarion call of these two trebles is the indefatigable Brian Connor, pianist, producer and arranger, whose impressive collaborative pedigree completes this trio of consummate artists to enthral and enchant audiences everywhere.

A former member of the Salzburger Festspiele’s prestigious Young Singers Project, Irish Soprano Claudia Boyle has won both 1st Prize and the Critics Award at The Maria Callas Competition in Verona where the Callas Estate presented her with the miraculous medal once owned and worn by the legendary singer. She was also chosen by acclaimed film director Mike Leigh to star in his first ever venture for the operatic stage as the leading heroine Mabelin Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance in London’s Coliseum.

Career highlights have included the roles of Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and Komische Oper Berlin, Alice in Alice’s Adventures Underground at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden under Thomas Adès, Adina in L’elisir d’Amore at Semperoper Dresden and Den Norske Opera, Leila in The Pearl Fishers for English National Opera, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream conducted by James Conlon at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, and Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor with Danish National Opera.

Claudia appeared with the New York Philharmonic at the Metropolitan Opera’s Lincoln Centre, singing the role of Cecily Cardew in Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest. She performed the four roles of Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta and Stella in Les Contes d'Hoffmann for Irish National Opera and as a testament to her linguistic strengths, made her debut as Verdi’s Gilda in Rigoletto at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma to overwhelming audience and critical acclaim.

Her blossoming concert career has taken her further afield to Tokyo, Sao Paolo and Ankara. She has appeared at the Salzburger Festspiele in Cherubini’s Chant sur la mort de Joseph Haydn under Riccardo Muti, with NHK Symphony Orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No.8 under Paavo Järvi, and in Henze’s Nachtstücke und Arien with NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover under Eivind Gullberg Jensen. Claudia joined Kent Nagano and Ensemble Modern in the role of Dede for the premiere performance of a new chamber version of Bernstein’s A Quiet Place at Konzerthaus Berlin, subsequently joining Nagano and l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal for further performances and a CD recording for DECCA.

Claudia collaborated with playwright Enda Wash and composer Donnacha Dennehy on their first opera The Last Hotel which received critical acclaim at The Dublin Theatre Festival, The Edinburgh Festival and The Prototype Festival in New York. This was subsequently filmed by Sky Arts and recorded by Cantaloupe Music record label.

One of Ireland’s foremost classical musicians, Niall O’Sullivan has performed all over Europe, Asia and the USA appearing in prominent concert halls to sell-out crowds with his ensemble of world class musicians. Both Niall’s self-titled debut album and Ballads EP reached No. 1 on the iTunes classical & jazz charts. His orchestral album Niall O’Sullivan and Friends was produced by Julian Lloyd Webber and Gavin Murphy and features opera star Danielle de Niese, four-time Grammy-winning jazz guitarist Larry Carlton, theatre royalty Kim Criswell and two of Ireland’s finest vocalists, Emmet Cahill and Lisa Lambe.

Niall has performed baroque and classical works for trumpet and orchestra with the National Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra and several other ensembles throughout Ireland including a performance of Vivaldi’s Double Trumpet Concerto with trumpet legend Crispian Steele-Perkins. As an arranger, he has performed his own unique arrangements of iconic works with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for live radio broadcasts and concert performances.

Niall and his wife, vocalist Shóna Henneberry, have toured the USA extensively with their sell out show My Funny Valentine. As a featured guest, he has performed with Josh Groban, The Priests and The Unthanks and as a sideman he has shared the stage with Tom Jones, Amy Winehouse, Jose Carreras, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Dionne Warwick and Sinead O’Connor. He has performed for every president in Ireland since 1990 and was principal trumpet for the Pope’s Irish visit in 2018.

Esteemed pianist, producer and arranger Brian Connor has been Musical Director of shows in London’s West End, Chicago and on Broadway. He was Musical Director of Riverdance – The Show and the National Theatre of Ireland's centenary celebrations – Abbey100. A major focus of his career has been his collaborations with singers, having performed and recorded with artists such as Danielle de Niese, Sinéad O'Connor, Agnes Bernelle, Ramin Karimloo and jazz vocalist Claire Martin.

He has produced award-winning albums for singers in Europe and the USA, including Yola for Irish singer-songwriter Eleanor McEvoy which was awarded UK Hi-Fi Album of the Year. He also produced Blod pa Spora, a reworking of Bob Dylan's classic album Blood on the Tracks in Nynorsk – the traditional language of Norway, for Norwegian artist Tom Aadland.

Recently, Brian co-produced and orchestrated a concert of music and poetry by Leonard Cohen for RTÉ/Bord Gáis Theatre, produced the soundtrack for RTÉ’s contemporary dance piece I Am Ireland and broadcast and produced a concert celebrating the literary and musical legacy of American poet Emily Dickinson for RTÉ and the National Concert Hall.

Claudia Boyle and The Point Ensemble - I dreamt I dwelt in Marble Halls (Balfe)

Niall O' Sullivan with National Symphony Orchestra performing Handel Suite in D, 2nd movement

Claudia Boyle Pirates of Penzance Act 1

Niall O'Sullivan concert excerpts (w. Brian Connor & orchestra)