Rachel Croash is a soprano from Dublin, and performs in Opera Collective Ireland’s new production Owen Wingrave.
It premieres at Lime Tree, Limerick (Sept 9), and tours to Everyman, Cork (Sept 13) and O’Reilly Theatre, Dublin (Sept 15 & 16) for the Dublin Fringe Festival.
Best recent book you’ve read: A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. My friend and I sat down to watch the first episode of the TV series and we ended up binge watching the whole thing, it’s amazing! I couldn’t wait for the second series so I went out and bought the book.
Best recent show or exhibition you’ve seen: Opera Theatre Company’s Hub Project recently composed and produced an Opera within 24 hours and it was the best thing I have seen in ages. I couldn’t believe how five young composers, three singers and a group of musicians collaborated to create this work which was so exciting and engaging both musically and theatrically.
Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): I have just finished a production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice in Bavaria and I am still listening to it on repeat. This was my first experience of singing baroque opera and I really fell in love with this score. The choral writing in it is so beautiful, it’s the kind of music you can’t put into words, it’s how it makes you feel — it just moves you.
First ever piece of music that really moved you: I wish I could say I heard Puccini at aged five and I was so moved it inspired my passion for classical music, but in reality I was aged 15 at a Destiny’s Child Concert and Beyoncé sang an acoustic version of the Bee Gee’s ‘Emotion’, it was the most beautiful, amazing sound I had ever heard live that I shed a little tear… ah the life of a hormonal teenager!
The best concert or opera you’ve ever seen: A couple of years ago I was finishing my Masters at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and I was given the opportunity to fly to New York and perform for the Irish US Council and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny. It was very exciting and it was my first real experience of travelling alone for work so I decided to treat myself and went to see La Boheme at the Met Opera. I sat there watching some of the biggest stars in the business singing my favourite music in the most beautiful production, it was a really inspiring moment.
TV viewing: I love binge watching a good series, thank God for Netflix!
Radio listening and/or podcasts: The first thing I do every morning is put on Spin FM 103.8. Most of my day is taken up with classical music, so I love to start the day with some good tunes to wake me up!
You’re curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill? I’d love to curate the Dublin Fringe Festival where our new opera Owen Wingrave will be staged. It’s one of the only fully curated multi-disciplinary Fringe festivals in the word. I’d love to include these three artists on the festival bill: Anna Netrebko, Stephen Fry, Dara Ó Briain.
You’re best celebrity encounter: When I was 15 I got my first job working in O’Brien’s sandwich bar. One day I spotted Colin Farrell in the queue, I was so star struck I prayed I wouldn’t have to serve him. I strategically took my time with other customers but of course when he reached the top of the queue I was the only one free and I had to serve him. I was so awkward and mumbly he must have thought I was a total weirdo when all he wanted was a sandwich. Looking back it was hilarious but at the time I was so mortified at the thought of Colin Farrell seeing me in a hair net. Nowadays I am much cooler, of course!
Unsung hero: The unsung heroes of theatre and opera productions are the stage management and technicians behind the scenes. If the audience could only see the work that they do, making sure everyone and everything is where it is supposed to be. They are amazing!
You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree? Music education for all!
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