|New York, NY – April 13, 2017 – Actor Stephen Rea and cellist Neil Martin visit 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center on Monday, May 22 at 7:30 PM for a words and music performance of Seamus Heaney’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid Book VI. The performance is a U.S. premiere; Rea and Martin, both of whom were friends and collaborators of Heaney, have performed the piece in the U.K.
Heaney’s Aeneid Book VI translation was published posthumously in 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The beloved, Nobel prize-winning Irish poet, playwright and translator was born on this date in 1939.
“There’s one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence and that is Aeneas’s venture into the underworld,” Seamus Heaney once told an interviewer. “The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years — the golden bough, Charon’s barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father.”
Said Rea: “ ‘Description is revelation!’, Heaney was told by Michael McLaverty, and today, on Seamus’ birthday, we remember his unique powers of description and are inspired by the enduring revelation of his poetry.”
Catherine Heaney, the poet’s daughter, added: “It’s a great delight to our family that Stephen Rea and Neil Martin, two of my father’s long-time friends and collaborators, will bring their spellbinding performance of Aeneid Book VI to a New York audience. And there could be no better venue than 92Y, where my father first read in 1971 and returned time and again over the next forty years— to read and to listen and to be among friends.”
Stephen Rea is an Irish film and stage actor. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the film, The Crying Game, and he has appeared in many other films, including V for Vendetta, The End of the Affair, Michael Collins and Interview with the Vampire. Rea starred in Sam Shepard’s directorial début of his play Geography of a Horse Dreamer at the Royal Court Theatre in 1974. In 2007, Rea began a successful and acclaimed relationship with both the Abbey Theatre and Sam Shepard, appearing in Kicking a Dead Horse (2007) and Ages of the Moon (2009), both penned by Shepard and also both transferred to New York.
Belfast-born Neil Martin is a composer and musician, whose work encompasses opera, dance, theatre, film, television, radio, symphonic concert hall and studio. Along with the dancer and choreographer, Jean Butler, Martin created this is an Irish dance, a duet for solo dancer and solo cellist that premiered to a sold-out run in Danspace, New York in 2015 and in Washington DC in 2016. A cellist and an uilleann piper, he has worked with many leading musicians, both on stage and in the studio, including all the principle orchestras in Ireland, Christy Moore, The Dubliners and The Chieftains, among others. Martin has contributed to more than a hundred albums and performance venues range from Carnegie Hall to Mostar Bridge, from the Royal Albert Hall to the Palazzo Vecchio.
This event is being presented in association with the Irish Repertory Theatre.