Culture and Arts Update

A lot to look forward to in Belfast in the coming weeks

BFQ 2006 first highlights
Fun for children of all ages at the Ulster Museum
Urban Regeneration exhibition in East Belfast
Bavarian Choir at St Anne's
Ulster Orchestra: Going out on a high note
Belfast Children's Festival presents Amozozo: Architects of Air
Belfast Festival at Queen’s reveals first 2006 Programme highlights

BFQ 2006 first highlights

Belfast Festival at Queen'sOne of the world’s finest tenors, a celebrated musical theatre company from South Africa and the world music ‘kings’ of rumba flamenca are just some of the highlights of the 44th Belfast Festival at Queen’s (October 19 to November 4).

Topping the bill at this year’s festival is The Ulster Bank Opening Concert on Friday October 20 at the Waterfront Hall, featuring Argentine tenor José Cura with the Ulster Orchestra. To celebrate the centenary of Shostakovich’s birth, the Festival Closing Concert at the Waterfront Hall on Friday November 3 will feature Dmitri Alexeev playing the Shostakovich Piano Concerto no.1 with the Ulster Orchestra and a Northern Ireland Premiere of a major orchestral work. Full programme details will be announced soon.

Dimpho Di Kopane is a lyric theatre and film ensemble consisting of forty fantastically talented South African actors and singers, who were recruited from over two thousand auditions held throughout rural and urban South Africa. Dimpho di Kopane bring The Mysteries (Yiimimangaliso) to the Belfast Waterfront Hall on Tuesday October 24 and Saturday October 28.  The Mystery Plays were popular medieval street theatre, performed on carts or ‘pageant wagons’ in the streets of towns all over Europe. They are dramatic versions of stories from the Bible.

Dimpho Di Kopane’s production of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen (Belfast Waterfront Hall, October 26 & 28) sees the original 1844 story become completely reinterpreted through a South African prism, using traditional and original music by Charles Hazlewood, and traditional Xhosa music and ceremonies.

Since the 1987 release of the international hit single 'Bamboleo', from their platinum-selling eponymous debut album, The Gipsy Kings have dominated the world music charts and sold more than fourteen million albums worldwide. See them at their festival show at the Waterfront Hall on Tuesday October 31.

Tickets for all the above events are now on sale from the Belfast Waterfront Hall box office

Tel. 028 90334455 or buy online from Further details of this year’s Belfast Festival at Queen’s programme will be released over the coming months, with the main festival launch taking place on September 7.

Fun for children of all ages at the Ulster Museum this summer

Ulster MuseumThere's no need to be stuck for family fun ideas this summer... kids aged 3 to 7 years old can enjoy games, drama and playtime with Sheena Bleakney. Find out about Dino the Dinosaur's big secret and join Puffy the Engine on summer Tuesdays at the Ulster Museum (1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm on July 4, August 15&22, and 10.30am, 11.30am and 12.30pm on July 18, August 1&8).

For older children, make sure to keep Thursdays at 11am free.... Make 'mummy' masks in Egyptian Faces (July 6, August 17&24), create a 'gold' necklace in Touch of Gold (July 20), design a hat in Top Hats (July 27), make an African mask in Making Faces (August 3), or decorate a bag in Bags of Fun (August 10).

All these family sessions are free on a 'first come' basis, so you don't need to get tickets in advance - just turn up nice and early, grab a place and enjoy yourselves! Backpack Days are also running on Sunday afternoons, July 30 and August 27. Pick up a family backpack - loads of activities, all colour-coded to help choose something for different ages - and take it with you as you go round the Museum.

The Ulster Museum is closing for 2 years from the end of August for major building and redevelopment work, so make sure to get along this summer for a last look at the galleries.

Urban Regeneration exhibition in East Belfast

Presented by Red Lead Arts
May 17 - June 14: Place Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland, 40 Fountain St, Belfast
June 16-30: Connswater Shopping Centre, East Belfast

An exhibition on Urban Regeneration in East Belfast will provide a platform for discussion and debate around East Belfast’s regeneration. It will enable the community to participate in the renewal process. Red Lead Arts is committed to the heritage of Belfast and particularly the unique industrial, architectural and cultural heritage of East Belfast. This exhibition provides a natural pathway for the public & private sectors to engage with the community on issues of architectural design.

For more information contact David Custy at   Tel: 02890 454551

Bavarian Choir at St Anne's
Thursday June 8, 7.30 pm
St Anne’s Cathedral

The St Matthäus Kantorei (Choir) from Erlangen, near Nürnberg, Germany, is one of Bavaria’s pre-eminent choral groups.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see the Choir perform:

Anton Dvorak's 'Mass in D' for Organ and Choir; Johann Sebastian Bach's 'Freut euch alle' and 'Jesu, meine Freude' (Jesus, my Joy); Mozart's 'Laudate Dominum' from 'Vesperae Solemnes' and 'Ave Verum Corpus'; Anton Bruckner's 'Locus iste'; Mendelssohn's 'Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt' (Psalm 100); Mendelssohn's 'Richte mich, Gott' (Psalm 43); Max Reger's 'Dein Wort, o Herr, wohnt weit und ewig' and John Rutter's 'Gaelic Blessing.'

Ulster Orchestra: Going out on a high note
Belfast Waterfront Hall, Friday May 26

This concert is the last of three celebrating the centenary of Belfast’s City Hall with music from a remarkable period of high fashion, dazzling intellect, flamboyant new buildings and night clubs. It promises to be a powerful end to the Ulster Orchestra’s 05/06 concert season!

Thierry FischerBarry Douglas, celebrating 20 years since he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, returns to play the ever-popular and emotionally expressive 'First Piano Concerto' by Tchaikovsky.

The concert is a magnificent grand finale for Thierry Fischer, the Ulster Orchestra’s Principal Conductor. After five glorious years, this will be his farewell concert before he takes up his new appointment with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Thierry Fischer will give a free pre-concert talk at 7pm before conducting an upbeat bill of fare which begins with the 'Merry Widow overture' by Franz Lehár – all the best tunes from the sparkling operetta. After the Tchaikovsky Concerto comes the 'Rosenkavalier suite', featuring the highlights of this most popular of Strauss’s operas which is driven by the rhythms of the waltz. The concert closes with Ravel’s tribute to the same dance – 'La Valse'  is a wonderfully orchestrated and nostalgic look-back at imperial Vienna during La belle Époque.

Ulster Orchestra Box Office 028 9066 8798

Belfast Children's Festival (26 May - 2 June) presents
Amozozo: Architects of Air
Custom House Square
Friday May 26 - Friday June 2, 11am - 6pm

Since 1992 Architects of Air's Luminaria have welcomed over 1 million visitors in 30 countries.

Amozozo, the latest Luminarium, is an intricate exploration of light and form that takes its inspiration from Islamic architecture. Made up of over 60 triangular domes that create a wandering path, visitors can lose Amozozo Luminariumthemselves in the primary coloured bliss of this daylight filled inflatable building.

Not just for kids, Amozozo willl amaze all ages!

Tickets: £3 / Family Ticket: £10
Box office: 028 9031 2264 or book online at

Belfast Children’s Festival – a nine-day extravaganza of theatre, puppetry, music, storytelling and visual arts for children of all ages.

Information reproduced by kind permission of Belfast City Council.
Celebrate Belfast 2006