Art Beat: Belfast becomes the Unesco city of music and the sensational Old Friends and Other Days of Northern Ireland opera


OK, so who sees any benefit in the climate armageddon we face on the planet we call home?

A new strand of art on climate change perhaps? If he presents the incomparable Jarvis Cocker, who released a topical dance number Let’s stick around (which he nicknamed the first “sustainable banger”) with DJ Riton during Cop26, I’m happy.

But I feel like that’s what we ordinary people need right now. The fact that Belfast has become the last Unesco city of music is great news and a great opportunity on this front.

Eco-conscious ambassador and composer Hannah Peel, whose most recent album Wave Fir tackles the problem, is on board.

His tracks Carbon cycle and Eco-friendly take stock via a silent discomfort led by a synthesizer. She has spoken out on climate issues alongside Brian Cox and Brian Eno and works with a group called Earth Per Cent: “Like when we had Live Aid, this is one of those times when we have to come together and make the difference.”

What is important. In a way, any photograph or canvas that shows the beauty of our landscape and the natural world does so too. You don’t need more propaganda than that.

Watch the Christmas sale exhibit at the ArtisAnn Gallery with a beautiful snow-splattered landscape by Valerie Giannandrea McKeag and rounded pastel versions of Lenka Davidikova’s Mournes which run through December 18.

Representative and proud. The gallery also features works by big names such as Brian Ballard and Neil Shawcross.

Now, when isn’t a cycle of filmed songs a cycle of filmed songs? When it’s the sensational Northern Irish opera Old friends and other days, a new invention in which artistic director Cameron Menzies added story and imagination to the moving songs of Irish composer William Vincent Wallace and Michael William Balfe.

The result is sumptuous, filmed in the dilapidated setting of the Carlisle Memorial Church. Also clever, as the setting, accessories, and makeup undermine the flute and Victorian sentimentality. It is the intensity with a question mark.

There is a beautiful lullaby at the opening sung by soprano Emma Morwood with the lines “sleep and rest, my pretty”, but the actress cradling a piece of black cloth closes it in a drawer. Then you feel the great sleep.

The drama production, which Menzies describes as “like a beautifully messed up Merchant Ivory film”, is already nominated for two grand prizes and a finalist at the 2021 British Short Film Awards. It is on view. here from 7 p.m. on Friday November 26.

Finally, there could be a revival of euro-pop hits like Y Viva Spain (actually sung by a Belgian) with the news that Spain, in an enlightened gesture, is removing visa restrictions for British musicians who come there on short tours. Sombreros on …