Not that the Irish Sopranos are themselves strangers to big occasions. They’ve filled Carnegie Hall on more than one occasion, and have a fervent following worldwide. With that mix of sensational voices and spectacular looks, it’s not surprising.
They’ve been together now for over a decade. “Kay and myself met up when we were performing at Bunratty and Deirdre was a close friend of Kay’s, so they thought it would be great to work as a group,” explains Dwyer. “At that time I was finishing my Masters in Dublin, and couldn’t commit, but later that year, when I’d completed my studies they persuaded me to give it a go.”
The blend of voices works really well, she says. “We’re all sopranos, but totally different. Deirdre is high mezzo, I’d be the lyric soprano and Kay is a high coloratura which gives a great extension to the top.”
Although success keeps growing, other things have changed in their lives over the years. All now have children, which inevitably brings more pressure, requires more juggling. “Sometimes we have to turn down a tour, and that’s just the way it is for women.”
The lives of the Irish Sopranos, she reveals, are governed by charts — who’s collecting the kids, where each day’s clothes can be found. “When Celtic Woman started touring, they had the whole Riverdance machine behind them and were able to bring their children. We didn’t have that funding, so it’s juggling all the way.”
In fact, laughs Dwyer, the actual singing is the easiest bit as far as they are concerned. “From sorting the household stuff to organising the dresses, the make-up, the hair, the glam, making sure you’re in good shape — getting up on stage is like a breath of fresh air!”
The life of a professional singer, she reveals, is very like that of an athlete. “Whatever goes on behind the scenes, you have to be out there on time and doing the very best you can.”
Fortunately, this time the dresses are being provided by The Dress Bar so that’s one less thing to worry about. “Vivien is so relaxed. We get frantic about whether we can fit into something.” !
Their preparations for the big night at Musgrave Park are now finalised, although not without some early panics. “We had to submit our song list to the Il Divo management and they asked us to change several of them. ” Their programme will still include many firm favourites, plus a quintessentially Cork song for the occasion. The Irish Sopranos will also have a 25-piece choir on hand, created just for the night, and the City of Cork Symphony Orchestra.