Bachtrack – Fun and frolics at Irish National Opera’s Figaro

” Conductor Peter Whelan and the Irish Chamber Orchestra gave what was an invigorating performance, full of energy and lightness of touch. I was impressed by the crisp articulation and sharp rhythms. The balance was well struck between singers and orchestra allowing the glorious vocal lines to soar.   “ Andrew Larkin,

Irish Times: setting high standards for Irish opera

” Under his guidance the Irish Chamber Orchestra in the pit becomes a character in its own right, not just driving and supporting the drama, but effectively commenting on it, too.   Whelan doesn’t just glory in Mozart’s gorgeous writing for wind instruments. He shapes and frames phrases in ways that seem entirely fresh, sometimes generating a […]

Sour Grapes? Signor Ochelli and Figaro’s Irish Connections

Conductor Peter Whelan delves into the history books, revealing Ireland’s intimate connection to the wellspring of classical music, and Irish National Opera’s latest production, The Marriage of Figaro.

“In 1786 Kelly sang the roles of Basilio and Don Curzio at the very first performance of The Marriage of Figaro (1786). Kelly claims to have been the first to have heard the Act 3 duet Crudele perché finora, singing it through with the composer when the ink was still wet. He left a vivid description of the rehearsals for Figaro. Mozart stood on stage keeping time, dressed in ‘a crimson pelisse with a gold-laced cocked hat’.  “

Irish Times – Peter Whelan a Man of Many Parts

The last time I interviewed Peter Whelan, in 2011, I carried out a background check in my listings files. I came up with a number of Peter Whelans who had been active in Dublin. There was a tenor, a piano accompanist, and another who wrote a work for wind ensemble.

They all turned out to be the same Peter Whelan, whose major profile seven years ago was as a bassoonist, although he was already directing his own Edinburgh-based Ensemble Marsyas from the keyboard.

Peter Whelan Interview with GoldenPlec

One of the most engaging of the current generation of Irish early-music players, Peter Whelan returns to Dublin in June with his Edinburgh-based group Ensemble Marsyas. Principal bassoonist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra since 2008, he is familiar to Dublin audiences from his work with the Irish Baroque Orchestra. Also in demand as both a soloist and chamber musician, Peter won a Gramophone award in 2010 for his recording of Vivaldi bassoon concertos with the group La Serenissima…

Peter Whelan Interview with Kate Molleson (The Herald, 2014)

The Proud Bassoon. That’s the name of a new album of baroque chamber music from the Irish bassoonist Peter Whelan and Ensemble Marsyas. There is no exclamation mark, no hint of irony. The cover art shows an elegant 18th century chap holding an elegant 18th century wooden instrument. The text is in unapologetic lime green. Because ‘proud’, Whelan explains, is an adjective that was once regularly applied to the instrument…

How to catch the seedy Undertones in the wind

The bassoon is hardly the most glamorous instrument, but musician Peter Whelan enjoys being right there ‘when everything goes wrong’. BEFORE MEETING up with the bassoonist Peter Whelan, I trawled through old listings files to see what he had been up to in Dublin when he was young. I came across a Peter Whelan who was a tenor, another who was a piano accompanist, and another who composed a work for a wind ensemble. They turned out to be the one person…