The story of Brigid is central to Irish Celtic mythology, and the legend of the goddess proves to be captivating subject matter for a song cycle for two sopranos and a small ensemble. Poet and composer Jodie O’Regan’s re-creation of the story of Brigid has the flavour of the oral tradition of epic poetry that pre-literate societies developed to enshrine and perpetuate their mythology.
Soprano Bethany Hill takes the role of the pre-Christian goddess of Ireland, Brigid. In a work comprising nine pieces, the songs are performed by Hill, who also plays the bodhrán (a frame-drum), and the Bard, soprano Emma Horwood, who accompanies herself on Celtic harp. This was the first performance of O’Regan’s extended arrangement for chamber ensemble of her Fire Songs, which was premiered in 2018, and the members of the invited ensemble include Ali O’Connell, handbells, Rachel Bruerville, cello, Kerryn Schofield, flutes and Irish pipe, with the composer herself playing bass drum and conducting.
In opening the performance, Schofield called the audience to attention with several powerful notes on a traditional horn and O’Regan then spoke of...