Events Tickets

Wed 25th July at 1.05pm

St. Iberius Church, Wexford

Tickets: €12, €10 (concessions) & €5 students 

A recital by students from the Royal Irish Academy of Music

Concerto di Donne


Ensemble Dagda presents

Clodagh Kinsella – soprano, Caitríona O’Mahony – baroque violin,

Norah O’Leary – baroque cello, Kieran Finnegan – harpsichord

This concert features works by 17th century female composers, many of which have never been heard in Ireland before. The title refers to the virtuosic all-female ensemble resident at the court of Duke Hercules of Ferrara in the sixteenth century. This ensemble inspired imitations across Italy and was a powerful starting point for women to develop musical careers over the coming century. Beginning with the sacred chant of the first woman composer to go down in history, Hildegard von Bingen, we hear music from women composers in all walks of life. The exquisite sacred music of cloistered nuns Leonarda, Perucona and Cesis gives way to the operatic cantata style of Versailles-trained Jacquet de la Guerre, the first woman to write an opera.  Francesca Caccini is usually mentioned in one breath with her famous father, Giulio, one of the foremost composers in the Second Pratica, while illegitimate Barbara Strozzi nevertheless went on to be one of the most influential vocal composers in Venice.

The Programme

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179): ‘Antiphonae de spiritu sanctae’


Claudia Francesca Rusca (1593-1676): ‘Jubilate Deo’ from Motetti con strumenti. For violin, cantus and continuo


Isabella Leonarda: Motet ‘O anima mea’. For two canti and continuo


Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729): Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major. For violin and continuo


Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677):‘Che si puo fare?’. For soprano & continuo

Jacquet de la Guerre – Excerpts from ‘Le sommeil d’Ulisse’ from Cantates Francoises Livre III. For soprano, violin/flute & continuo


Sulpitia Cesis (1577-after 1619): – Motet ‘Maria Magdalena’. For cantus & bassus


Francesca Caccini (1587-after 1641): Canzonetta ‘Fresche Aurette’ from Il Primo Libro delle Musiche. For soprano & continuo


Maria Xaviera Perucona (1652-after 1709): ‘O superbi mundi machina’from Sacri Concerti de Motetti

Ensemble Dagda

Bringing baroque music to vibrant life in the twenty-first century, Ensemble Dagda was formed in 2014 by Caitríona and Norah and its members have been brought together by a mutual love of early music and a desire to bring to life lesser heard works of the baroque era. Popular with audiences for their playful interpretations and engaging performances, in recent years they have championed lesser-heard works by seventeenth-century composers and in particular works by women composers of the Baroque era. The group has been invited to play in the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, East Cork Early Music Festival, ‘Finding a Voice’ Festival, Clonmel, and the Kaleidoscope Night Series, Dublin. In varied incarnations its members have played in the Encanto Salon Music Festival Helsinki, in the American Irish Historical Society New York, the Liszt Academy Budapest, the National Gallery of Ireland, and Dublin Castle.  They take their name from Irish mythology, and were inspired by the magical harp which was played by Dagda, the king of the Tuatha de Danann.

Hailing from Cork, Caitríona O’Mahony graduated in 2014 with a first class honours BMus from the Cork School of Music, where she was a student of Ruxandra Petcu-Colan, Marja Gaynor and Simon Aspell. She subsequently studied for two years with Walter Reiter and Kati Debretzeni in the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and was then awarded scholarships to continue her studies in Ireland.

Caitríona has had the pleasure of playing with baroque orchestras including Camerata Kilkenny and the Orchestra of the 18th Century (Student Scheme), and with soloists including Dame Emma Kirkby, Mark Padmore, and Maya Homburger. She has been a member of the Cork Baroque Orchestra since its foundation. With a particular passion for chamber music, she has been invited to play in the West Cork Chamber Music and East Cork Early Music Festivals, and has won first prizes in the Vanbrugh Quartet Chamber Music Competition and East Cork Early Music Young Ensembles’ Competition.

Kieran Finnegan, pianist and harpsichordist, began his studies at the age of nine with Frederiek Biesma in his hometown, Kenmare. He completed his BMus in the Cork School of Music [CSM], graduating with First Class Honours in 2014. He has been highly commended in the CSM‘s Piano Accompaniment Competition and in the Advanced Recital Competition, and commended in the Senior Concerto Competition. He has also had success in competitions such as Féile an tSamhraidh and Feis Maitiú. Studying harpsichord with Pauline MacSweeney since 2010, Kieran is an avid continuo player, and has played in Vanbrugh Camerata alongside members of the Vanbrugh Quartet. His Baroque chamber music group, The Riva Quartet, won the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet Chamber Music Competition in 2013. He has also participated in the East Cork Early Music Festival and has played in the Cork Baroque Orchestra at the Cork Choral Festival 2015. He has been a member of Ensemble Dagda since its foundation in 2015.

Norah O’Leary holds a Masters of Performance of Early Music from the Sibelius Akatemia of the University of Fine Arts, Helsinki. She is the recipient of a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) under the tutelage of William Butt. She began her studies at the age of four with both Olwen Lewis and Heather Boxwell in the Wexford School of Music and at the age of eleven was accepted on a full scholarship to study both the cello and clarinet in the Royal Irish Academy of Music. In 2006 she received a Diploma in Music Teaching and Performance, and now also holds the Teacher’s Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music.  In the final year of her undergraduate studies Norah became a keen advocate of Historically Informed Practice and soon became the newest member of Respicio, an early music specialist ensemble and ensemble in residence with Opera Antiqua.

In 2014 Norah commenced her studies for a Masters in Early Music at the renowned Sibelius Academy (SibA) in Helsinki, Finland. She made her debut as a soloist with the SibA Baroque Orchestra within her first semester there and was consequently offered collaboration projects with Concerto Copenhagen and the Royal Danish Academy of Music. In January 2015, Norah was accepted as cellist with the Nordic Baroque Orchestra where she worked closely with leading baroque specialists. She has filled the position of Assistant Artistic Manager with West Cork Chamber Music Festival (WCCMF) and been awarded the position of continuo cellist with WCCMF’s Baroque master class scheme as a member of Bantry Baroque in collaboration with Concerto Copenhagen. Most recently, Norah was accepted on full scholarship to the Vadstena Opera and Baroque Dance Residency programme in Sweden for their 2017/18 season. However she would like to state categorically that she is ‘not no faith boy emigrating’, this is just a temporary leave of absence which will not begin until June 2018.