A question of taste: Opera singer Amy Ní Fhearraigh

Amy Ní Fhearraigh is a Dublin-based soprano singing the role of Barbarina in Irish National Opera’s production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

A question of taste: Opera singer Amy Ní Fhearraigh

By Des O’Driscoll

Amy Ní Fhearraigh is a Dublin-based soprano singing the role of Barbarina in Irish National Opera’s production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

The opera will be staged at Wexford Opera House on April 13 and the Gaiety, Dublin, from April 17 to 21.

Best recent book you’ve read:

I’m currently reading Paul Beatty’s, The Sellout, which is full of both hilarious and cutting satire, but the best recent read was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's, We Should All Be Feminists. It’s a short essay which was adapted from her 2012 TedTalk of the same title.

A really beautifully written and fair definition of how feminism should be viewed in the 21st Century.

Best recent film:

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro. It was just stunning and weird and wonderful. His Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my favourites of all time.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old):

I’ve been listening to a lot of ‘l’Amour de Loin’ by Kaija Saariaho. It’s one of the most stunning examples of contemporary opera. The story is just so beautiful and heartbreaking.

First ever piece of music or art that really moved you:

Anytime I need reminding of why I’m pursuing a career in music I just watch the finale of Mahler 2 conducted by Leonard Bernstein. It’s on YouTube and you’d need a heart of stone not to be moved.

The best opera/performance you’ve ever seen:

I only saw it in the cinema, but the Katie Mitchell production of Lucia Di Lammermoor in the Royal Opera House was amazing. Diana Damrau was absolutely stunning, between her technical proficiency and her incredible acting, I was moved to tears and left the cinema in awe.

TV viewing:

Netflix is my TVviewing, I don’t even have normal TV. I watch a lot of documentaries and love TedTalks, but Netflix series such as Easy or Love are my favourite. I am also completely weak for RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Radio listening and/or podcasts:

I never really listen to the radio. I don’t own a car and I cycle everywhere so I never even think to switch it on.Podcasts are something that I love. I’ve listened to a lot of The Joe Rogan Experience, and some crime ones like S-Town and Serial, but one of my favourites is The Mortified Podcast where adults read from their childhood and teenage diaries.

You’re curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill, living or dead?

Pavarotti, Marina Abramovic, and Oscar Wilde.

Your best celebrity encounter:

Hilariously I was an irrelevant extra in the movie, Jimi: All Is By My Side about the life of Jimi Hendrix. It was being filmed in The Workman’s in Dublin and I was stood about 3ft away from André 3000 donning the ugliest haircut of my life because the stylists had told me that I “had the face to pull it off”. They were lying, no one can pull off a bowl haircut.No one!

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — where, when and why?

I’d love to say something like the premiere night of Le Nozze di Figaro or when Maria Callas sang her iconic ‘Tosca’, but I actually would have loved to have experienced the feminist movement of the late 1960s/early 70s in New York. The wave of liberal thinking around women was inspired and popular music of that era is some of the finest there is. There’s a fantastic documentary called She’s Beautiful when she’s Angry and it’s one of the most striking and significant documentaries I've ever watched.

Unsung hero — individual or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve:

Everyone behind the scenes in any production who without them no art would be made. I’m talking about stage managers, sound engineers, stagehands, admin, wardrobe, the works. They don’t even get a bow at the end of a show because they’re still working, and when everyone is off celebrating afterwards they are, again, still working.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree?

Pensions for artists, but perhaps I’m biased!

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