Donnacha Dennehy: The Last Hotel Donnacha Dennehy
- Donnacha Dennehy (b. 1970): The Last Hotel:
- 1The Last Hotel: Nice Decorative Features. Feels Homely02:53
- 2The Last Hotel: It Was to Celebrate These New Houses05:14
- 3The Last Hotel: Each of Our Rooms05:07
- 4The Last Hotel: I Respect the Buffet04:11
- 5The Last Hotel: It's Me00:48
- 6The Last Hotel: Breathe Deep07:25
- 7The Last Hotel: The Kids Said I'd Die Fat04:11
- 8The Last Hotel: We'll Rehearse, Right?01:51
- 9The Last Hotel: Man Is Nothing Without Dreams, Pt. 103:18
- 10The Last Hotel: The Rehearsal02:31
- 11The Last Hotel: She's in a Desperate State02:07
- 12The Last Hotel: To Feel like the Sun04:30
- 13The Last Hotel: And Leave Now, and Change to Another03:59
- 14The Last Hotel: Man Is Nothing Without Dreams, Pt. 203:31
- 15The Last Hotel: Look at You Two01:18
- 16The Last Hotel: It May Pass02:58
- 17The Last Hotel: An Afternoon in Surrey02:51
- 18The Last Hotel: And They Are Coming Home05:15
- 19The Last Hotel: Let Me Leave02:40
- 20The Last Hotel: How Still the Sea05:52
- 21The Last Hotel: The Hotel Porter's Dance01:51
Info for Donnacha Dennehy: The Last Hotel
Reviewing the world premiere in Edinburgh of composer Donnacha Dennehy and playwright Enda Walsh’s opera The Last Hotel, The Guardian’s Kate Molleson was smitten by “a dark drama in which death hangs over every move – the titular hotel is a shabby establishment where guests go to kill themselves.”
That description alone is all the listener needs to appreciate the visceral energy of the performances captured here by Claudia Boyle, Robin Adams, Katherine Manley and actor Mikel Murfi (whose presence as the silent Porter is more implied than directly felt), all ably supported by the agile, dynamic sound of Ireland’s renowned Crash Ensemble, conducted by Alan Pierson.
“It’s great to work with someone like Enda, who’s a genius in his own field,” Dennehy observed in an interview shortly before the premiere. “The opera is about an English couple who arrive in Ireland to meet this Irish woman, and basically as it goes on, you realize that the Irish woman wants to kill herself, with their assistance. But it’s incredibly funny in places, despite the tragic subject matter.”
In the true spirit of modern musical theater, which has consistently pushed against the boundaries of what constitutes “opera” in the traditional Western classical sense, The Last Hotel merges the grit and gall of experimental theater and independent arthouse films with the crackling trajectory of post-classical chamber music. It’s a multivalent work that reunites Dennehy and Walsh, two of Ireland’s leading creative lights, in a collaborative triumph that recalls the poignancy and power of their work together on Walsh’s Misterman, which starred actor Cillian Murphy and garnered rave reviews in Galway, London and New York.
“The Last Hotel unleashes a thrilling musical energy. Dennehy’s 12-piece ensemble includes accordion, electric guitar and heavy percussion, and thrums with a savage, unstoppable groove, shouting the unspeakable, seething with emotions that characters are too numb to express. It’s propulsive, gritty and rich.” — The Guardian
Ultimately, The Last Hotel is the first in a trilogy of operas planned between Dennehy and Walsh. The Second Violinist (2017), their second opera together, won the Fedora-Generali Prize for Opera in Salzburg, and has received critically acclaimed productions in Ireland and the UK already. It travels to the Netherlands in March 2019 as part of Dutch National Opera’s Opera Forward Festival in Amsterdam. Dennehy and Walsh are now collaborating on the final opera of their trilogy, The First Child.
This recording of The Last Hotel is culled from a 2017 live performance at Les Théâtres de la Ville in Luxembourg, with additional recording and mixing done at Teldex Studio Berlin.
Robin Adams, baritone
Claudia Boyle, soprano
Katherine Manley, soprano
Sophie Motley, tape
Donnacha Dennehy, tape
Irish National Opera
Alan Pierson, conductor
Born in Dublin in 1970, Donnacha Dennehy has received commissions from Dawn Upshaw, the Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Electra, the Fidelio Trio, Icebreaker, Joanna MacGregor, Orkest de Ereprijs, Orkest de Volharding, Percussion Group of the Hague, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra (BBC Radio 3), Smith Quartet, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players among others. Collaborations include pieces with the choreographers Yoshiko Chuma (To Herbert Brun) and Shobana Jeyasingh, (Hinterlands), the writer Enda Walsh (Misterman) and the visual artist John Gerrard (Composition for Percussion, Loops, Blips and Flesh).
His work has featured in festivals such as ISCM World Music Days, Bang On A Can in New York, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, WNYC?s New Sounds Live, Sonic Evolutions Festival at Lincoln Center, EXPO, the Ultima Festival in Oslo, Fuse Leeds, the Saarbrucken Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the State of the Nation at the South Bank in London and the Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam. In 2010, his large single-movement orchestral piece, Crane, was 'recommended' by the International Rostrum of Composers.
Returning to Ireland after studies abroad at the University of Illinois (USA), Ircam (France) and the Netherlands, Dennehy founded the Crash Ensemble, Dublin's now renowned new music group, in 1997. Crash Ensemble is very much associated with the performance of many of Dennehy's landmark works, including the pieces Gr? Agus B?s (with the singer Iarla O' Lionaird) and That the Night Come (with Dawn Upshaw) which feature on Dennehy's 2011 release on Nonesuch Records (entitled Gr? Agus B?s). The Guardian, in a 5-star review of that disc referred to the music's "startling freshness". NPR named the disc one of its "50 Favorite Albums" (in any genre) of 2011. It also featured in many other end-of-2011 lists including both the listener's poll and John Schaefer's top ten from WNYC.
Upcoming premieres include pieces for the Kronos Quartet, and Dawn Upshaw with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. At present, Dennehy is working on a new piece for Upshaw and Alarm Will Sound. Dennehy lectures in music composition at Trinity College Dublin, and was appointed a Global Scholar at Princeton University for 2012-13.