Olagón: a Cantata in Doublespeak is our first collaboration with vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird of the Irish supergroup The Gloaming, Princeton-based composer-fiddler Dan Trueman, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon. A modern retelling of an ancient Irish epic, Olagón depicts — not without irony and humor — a privileged “power couple” mired in envy, greed, and adultery, descending into criminality and addiction as Ireland’s “Celtic-Tiger” economy collapses in the early 21st century.
Trueman’s score combines elements of the traditional music of Ireland, Norway, and America with the raw urgency and sonorities of contemporary classical music. Muldoon’s text interweaves verses in English and Irish Gaelic, seasoned with word-play and wit.
Ó Lionáird, whom The Guardian calls “one of the most dramatic voices in contemporary music,” sings the text in the unique and highly ornamental Irish style known as sean nós. The production incorporates the gorgeous young voices of students of acclaimed Irish sean nós singer Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, who also makes an appearance.