Recorded by Matt Molloy & Sean Keane, this reel is associated in Ireland with Fermanagh fiddler Tommy Gunn. Harry Bradley has it on his 1st solo recording, and a lilted version of it appears on the recently released "Hidden Fermanagh" CD. It has also been recorded under the title the "Opera" reel, and sometimes "The Celebrated Opera Reel", and is thought originally to have been an American tune of some kind.
The "Opera" reel, a variant of "Tommy Gunn’s", is in the New England Fiddler’s Repertoire of 1983. It is as follows:
A,2|D2D2 FEFA|DCDF EDB,A,|D2D2 FEFA|BdAF EDCE|
D2D2 FEFA|DCDF EDB,A,|D2D2 FEFA|(3Bcd AF E2|
|:(3Abc|dcec dAFA|Adcd egfe|dcec dAFA|BdAF E2:|
|:fg|afaf gfge|fafe dcBA|afaf gfge|faec d2:|
|:(3Abc|defd efge|faec dcBA|defd efge|faec d2(3Abc|
defd efge|faec dcBA|defd efge|faec d2||
Tommy Gunn’s (aka The Opera)
There is yet another version of the "Opera" in the Fiddler’s Fakebook, where it is stated that the tune is of New England origin. This version has useful bowing information.
Thanks, this is one i’ve been looking for. Here’s another variation, which I came across hunting for the Molloy/Bradley version, which is the one I prefer.
DF |\G2 BG AGBG |\G2 BG GEDF |\
GFGB A^GAB |\BAGE EDDF |\
G2 BG AGBG |\G2 BG GEDF |\
GFGB A^GAB |\BAGE EDD^c |:
~d3 B3 AB |\d^cd B3 AB |\
~d3 B3 cB |\BAGE EDD^c ::
dgbg agbg |\dgbg ageg |\
gfge d^cdB \|1 BAGE EDD^c :
|2\BAGE EDDg |: edBg edBg |\
edBA G ~E3 |\B,EGB edBA |\
GFGE EDDg |\edBg edBg |\
edBA G ~E3 |\dA (3B^cd ed g2 |\
GFGE EDDF :|
Hey Conway, isn’t that "The Noone Lasses"?
Yeah, they look like the same tunes. The second parts seem quite different, but the remainders look like variations of the same.
De Dannan also does a killer version of this tune on ‘Ballroom,’ which is one of my fav. albums of theirs. I’m not sure what they called it.
I was in Aberdeen University’s "Elphinstone Institute" yesterday transferring a DAT recording made at the 2007 "Button Box & Moothies" weekend, and came across this tune played on button accordion by Katie Howson from East Anglia. She said that she learned the tune from singer and concertina-player Vic Gammon, who had found it in an old book of English dance music where it was called "The Duke Of Cornwall’s Reel". A few notes difference, but instantly recognisable as the same tune.
"ceolachan" - you posted the above recording which has been added as a "recording of a tune by this name" since I put in the "Duke" title as an alternative. Could you maybe - just to satisfy my curiousity - check track 8 on it, and see if it’s the same tune ? Also if there’s any information about the tune in the sleeve notes, I’d be interested to know. Ta.
Track 18 it is.
"The tune appears as "Duke of Cornwall’s Reel" in the William Aylemore manuscript of 1796."
New England connection
In this clip they talk about a Maine fiddler - Nellie Dunham - who played the Opera Reel in the 20’s.
Apparently it was a popular tune for particular dances.
Note that the tune is not attributed to Mr Dunham
Tommy Gunn’s, X:5
This setting (presented warts and all for historical interest rather than as a version to perform) comes from handwritten 1879 tunebook of Anthony Francis of Marine City, Michigan.