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Belfast’s Ulster Hall host ‘The Three Tenors’ on national tour

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Belfast’s 19th century Ulster Hall with its copper-colored Mulholland pipe organ as a giant stage backdrop provided the classic ambience for an uplifting performance by ‘The Three Tenors,’ with a repertoire that ranged from Giacomo Puccini to Leonard Cohen and Frank Sinatra.
The Dublin-based trio - Declan Kelly, Ray O’Hare and Dominic McGorian - now in the midst of a national tour (see website below for details) began their two-part show by paying tribute to northern Ireland’s renown singer, Josef Locke (stage name of Joseph McLaughlin) with a rendering of one of his old favorites, ‘We’ll Build A Bonfire Of Our Troubles.’
Then it was straight into the lovely ballad ‘Song for Ireland,’ a song closely associated with The Dubliners and soloist, Mary Black. Remaining on the Irish theme, the tenors introduced their accompanying pianist and violinist Gillian and Maria who played a lovely version of ‘The Lark in the Clear Air.’
The show, however, while having its fair share of soft and lively Irish songs including ‘The Wild Rover’ and ‘Maggie’ reflected the wide repertoire that The Three Tenors have become known for.
These included a stirring rendition of ‘Jerusalem,’ an upbeat version of Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the World’ and a poignant take on the love song, ‘She,’ written by Charles Aznavour and Herbert Kretzmer. Highlights of the concert were the tenors’ performance of ‘Nessun dorma’ (‘None shall sleep’), an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera ‘Turandot,’ and Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah.’
Added dimension to the evening’s enjoyment was the participation of children of two Belfast choirs, from Holy Family and Currie Primary Schools. Not only did the youngsters provide excellent backing for the tenors on several songs but were wonderful in their own right, especially on a traditional African tribal song in which they also performed collective choreographed movements.
The Ulster Hall, a beautiful example of Victorian architecture situated in downtown Belfast on Bedford Street, is well worth a visit, show or no show. Built in 1859 and opened in 1862, it underwent a £8.5 million (10 million dollars) renovation in 2007. Aside from the giant organ, acclaimed historical paintings of Belfast that line the walls. Over the last 150 years it has played host to many of the world’s most celebrated personalities, including Charles Dickens, Caruso, the Rolling Stones and the Dalai Lama.
The Three Tenors, natives of Dublin, Wexford and Meath, perform over 100 concerts annually in venues throughout Ireland and the UK.

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