We are telling the story of Rachel Baptist, a soprano who was part of Ireland’s black community of around 1,000 - 3,000 people in the mid-18th century. From her first appearance on stage in 1750 she delighted audiences in Dublin and Kilkenny, and was credited with turning the latter into "a town of pleasure". Ahead of a performance in Liverpool in 1758 the local papers described Rachel Baptist as "the celebrated singer from the gardens of Dublin".
Soprano Rachel Redmond joins the orchestra for a programme featuring works by Handel, Arne and Purcell, and the IBO also commits Geminiani’s fiery ‘La Follia’ Concerto Grosso Op.5 No.12 to disc. We expect that the recording will be commercially available in Summer 2024.
We estimate the artistic costs of this project to be €28,000, and all money raised from this crowdfunded will go straight into the pockets of IBO musicians, without whose artistry this recording would not be possible.
Since the appointment of Peter Whelan as Artistic Director in 2018, the IBO has recast its artistic identity as something akin to a living research hub, where current scholarship and new discoveries shape the orchestra’s projects.
This unique identity carries privilege and responsibility; the privilege of bringing history to life and sharing our love of it with audiences in an engaging way, and the responsibility of ensuring its sustainability for years to come. Advocacy for Ireland’s own classical music heritage forms a huge part of our mission, bringing audiences along in reclaiming a newly-discovered corner of our cultural identity.
The biggest obstacle to putting on any recording project is the scale of the funds required to support it. With these secured the project will be eminently feasible, with the musicians already engaged, the venue booked and the services of our producer secured.
This project will be co-supported by funding from Arts Council Ireland, the IBO's principal funder. The contribution from our funders will help us to reach our target of €28,000 for artistic costs, and will bring our supporters closer to the heart of this interesting and unusual project.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our project. The Rachel Baptist story is an exciting one, and has been largely unexplored. We can't wait to tell her story, and share the beautiful music with which she was associated.