By Joseph Hurley
Ireland’s Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney will be much in evidence around Lincoln Center and environs as May winds down and June takes over.
On Tuesday, May 29, and Wednesday, May 30, as part of the cultural complex’s Great Performers series, Heaney will be the centerpiece of a pair of divergent evenings, both at Alice Tully Hall, as part of a series called "The Spoken Word."
The first evening will find the poet reading selections from his own poetry, interspersed with musical offerings by the famed Irish piper Liam O’Flynn. The evening is titled "The Poet and the Piper."
The following night Heaney will read from his acclaimed new translation of the classic "Beowulf," a work that won him Great Britain’s coveted Whitbread Prize, not to mention virtually unanimous praise from the bulk of poetry critics and reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic and elsewhere on publication in 1999.
The New York Times commented that "the rolling timbre of his mellifluous voice fills ‘Beowulf’ with drama and intensity and underscores the narrative elements of the text."
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The May 30 performance will mark the first time Heaney has read from his version of "Beowulf" in the New York area.
On May 31 and again on June 1 and 2 at John Jay College Theater, Great Performers will host the U.S. premiere of Deborah Warner’s staging of Leos Janacek’s "The Diary of One Who Vanished," which Lincoln Center describes as a "semi-opera."
The performances will use a new translation by Heaney, and the event’s participants will include tenor Ian Bostridge, mezzo-soprano Ruby Philogene, and pianist Julius Drake.