“Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra once gave the directions: “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.” I did and I found myself reading about a new record label called Heresy Records. Eric Fraad is the lead man at Heresy, and his concept is to work closely with the artists to produce a product which is “sophisticated, well thought out, idiosyncratic and memorable.”
The internationally celebrated early music sensation, The Dublin Drag Orchestra will release two 7” vinyl records and an EP digital download for the Holiday Season. The vinyl singles and the digital EP include rarely performed French and Italian baroque music by composers Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) and Luigi Rossi (1597-1653).
The singles and the digital EP are The Dublin Drag Orchestra’s follow up to their critically acclaimed debut double album Motion of the heart & ¡Viva Frida!
The first single Christmas 1912 features Litanie de la Vierge by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. The 11-minute motet is split on to both the A & B sides of the record. Both singles are being released as a Special Limited Edition with only 500 or each being produced worldwide.
The second single One Minute to Midnight, New Year’s Eve 1912 includes two vocal trios from Luigi Rossi’s opera, Orfeo. The A side contains the piece Dormite Begli Occhi (Sleep beautiful eyes), the astoundingly beautiful Chorus of Graces that lulls Euridice to slumber. The B-side features Al Imperio d’Amore (The empire of love), a rousing chaconne that takes place before Euridice is killed by a snakebite.
“One of the things on my list (when I moved to New York) was to meet Andy Warhol… It was a couple of months before he died, my friend Eric Fraad, the opera director who is included in this book, invited me to his modernist production of Mozart’s Magic Flute at the New York Academy of Art.
I approached Andy and gushed something. I immediately realized I had performed the cardinal sin of touching him, he froze… I tried to make amends as fast as possible by blabbering about how talented Eric was, and what great things he was doing with his contemporary interpretations of opera. The alarmed experience on Andy’s face softened. He smiled, but only slightly, and said, “Gee, that’s great. I hear opera’s making a comeback.”
From Classical Music Magazine (September)
“The Dublin Drag Orchestra’s two debut releases are motivated by quality and fun – gender identities notwithstanding.”
“ls this taking early music’s quest for authenticity too far? As its name suggests, the Dublin Drag Orchestra comprises crossdressing male musicians. But Eric Fraad, the iconoclastic stage director who has released the group’s debut albums on his Heresy Records label, maintains a sense of mystery about whether the attire is a matter of personal preference or showmanship.”
“The musicians on this recording are truly stunning. They produce a fascinating world of beautiful colours and sounds, and their musical creativity, passion and soul reaches out and touches the listener in a way that few can.”
“For its expressive interpretations, interesting cover design work, and stunning musicians, this is my CD recommendation of the year, so far.”
Edge Magazine has reviewed The Dublin Drag Orchestra’s two-disc set ¡Viva Frida! saying:
“The performances are top-notch, an effective blend of instrumental and vocal works in various combinations of duos, trios and small ensembles.”
“The packaging for this release is a welcome addition to the music, featuring thought-out artistic tableaus with the group in extravagant costuming, and makes purchasing the actual set (priced economically at the single disc price) preferred over individually downloading the songs.”
” Pieces for viol consort by William Lawes accompany vocal works by John Dowland and John Ward; the latter’s Hope of my Heart is exquisite here. The restraint, the emotional coolness of the music is skilfully projected; we’re in a world of muted colours and repressed emotions.”
“It doesn’t matter what these musicians wear or call themselves, they are going to be remembered for a distinct sense of musicianship and yes, there’s an undefinable flavour to their music.” Kate Rockstrom – Readings, Australia
Geman magazine hifi and records review DÚLRA’s album Ecstasy.
“The recommendation “File under Audiophile” should be added to the back cover.”
“The recommendation on the back-cover states: “File under Traditional /World Music”. This target-group-definition for the pop market might obstruct the path to a larger audience for Dúlra (fiddle, cello, flute, percussion and other acoustic instruments), because with her Gaelic songs from the 16th to 18th century, the Irish singer Caitríona O’Leary is able to please fans of classical “Lieder” too. Her natural voice comes without frills and sounds at all times effortless. As well, there is never any danger that the archival material on the album is performed in an academic way.
Although this repertoire calls for it, the ensemble is not tempted to pander to the esoteric scene. Instead fans of Celtic Folk-Rock will get their money’s worth – when the urge for dancing and celebration rises up – with the rousing instrumental pieces performed by this band of soloists.
In addition to the performances, the production team has made the perfect choice by recording in a church, which leads to an ideal balance between translucent delicateness and lush substantial sound.
The recommendation “File under Audiophile” should be added to the back cover.”
Winfried Dulisch (July 2012)
“It takes chutzpah to programme Hank Williams alongside William Lawes.”