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My cultural life: Barry McGovern, actor

 

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Barry McGovern

Barry McGovern

Taj Mahall

Taj Mahall

Duck Soup

Duck Soup

Ulysses

Ulysses

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Barry McGovern

Barry McGovern is one of Ireland's best-known actors. A former member of the RTE Players and the Abbey Theatre Company, he's perhaps best known for his performances in the works of Samuel Beckett, including the one-man shows I'll Go On, First Love and Watt which will be in Dun Laoghaire, Cork and Auckland in 2020. TV and film work includes Eamon de Valera in The Treaty and Giuseppe Conlon in Dear Sarah. He joins forces with the Degani Piano Trio for Beethoven: Words and Music in the National Concert Hall early this year. He will narrate excerpts of the great composer's letters such as the 'Heiligenstadt Testament' during performances of his Piano Trios Op1 and Op70. The Trio will also be joined by soprano Sylvia O'Brien who will perform a selection of Beethoven's arrangements of Irish and Scottish songs, on February 9 and 23, and March 8, at 3pm. nch.ie

Movie: Duck Soup

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Duck Soup

Duck Soup

Duck Soup
 

I love the anarchic humour in this film which is one of the Marx Brothers' best. Groucho is a constant delight as Rufus T Firefly, the new president of the bankrupt Freedonia, and Chico and Harpo as two spies from the neighbouring Sylvania add to the chaos. It features the famous hat exchange sequence which Samuel Beckett borrowed for Waiting for Godot.

Music: Beethoven's Eroica symphony

This is one of the glories of symphonic music. It basically changed the course of music, presaging Romanticism in music as it emerged from the Classical era. Originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, Beethoven famously scratched out Bonaparte's name on the manuscript on hearing that he had crowned himself Emperor in May 1804, thus making him in Beethoven's eyes a tyrant and not the reformer he had thought him to be.

Design: The Taj Mahal

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Taj Mahall

Taj Mahall

Taj Mahall
 

A cliche, I know, but it has to be this 17th-Century mausoleum built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal - it houses his tomb too. Executed in ivory-white marble on the south bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, in the Uttar Pradesh province of India, it is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

TV: Newsnight on BBC2

This programme gives me a good idea of what's going on in the world if I've missed the news during the day. It's informative, intelligent and entertaining.

Book: Ulysses

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Ulysses

Ulysses

Ulysses
 

The most human, funniest and most thrilling book I've ever encountered. Pure Dublin wit containing a variety of writing styles without compare. A true tour de force of the art and craft of writing. And, above all, a work of great compassion. Joyce surpassed himself with this work.

Sunday Indo Living