The Alma Fetish – ‘lavish’ and ’emotionally loaded’ Irish Times

The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Wide Open Opera: cast and creative team of The Alma Fetish (from L-R) Graeme Danby, Daire Halpin, Majella Cullagh, Fergus Sheil, Pauline Bewick, Leigh Melrose, Megan Kennedy, Deirdre Moynihan, Raymond Deane and Gavin Kostick.

Working on the world premiere of Raymond Deane’s The Alma Fetish was a fabulously exhausting experience. The work was dense and complex but the creative team were endlessly patient and created a wonderfully supportive atmosphere to deliver a performance of incredible intensity. The night itself felt like an extraordinarily special occasion – the first time all the elements of this great work came together to be heard by an audience. It was very moving and thrilling to be involved. This is an astonishing work of great depth and complexity and deserves many performances.

The Irish Times noted: ‘There is fine, well-characterised singing from the three leads – Majella Cullagh in the comparatively small part for the eponymous Alma, Leigh Melrose in a highly complex portrayal of Kokoschka, and Daire Halpin often stealing scenes in Deane’s high-wire writing for the maid, Hulda.’

The Golden Plec notes: ‘Both baritone Leigh Melrose and soprano Daire Halpin steal the show, showing the audience their ability as performers through their mastering of Deane’s challenging score and understanding of Gavin Kostick’s libretto.’