A Question of Taste: Cork opera singer, Kim Sheehan

Kim Sheehan is an opera singer from Crosshaven, Co Cork, and is this year’s recipient of the Jane Anne Rothwell Award from Cork Midsummer Festival.
A Question of Taste: Cork opera singer, Kim Sheehan
Kim Sheehan

Kim Sheehan is an opera singer from Crosshaven, Co Cork, and is this year’s recipient of the Jane Anne Rothwell Award from Cork Midsummer Festival.

As part of the online component of the scaled-down event next week, Kim has produced ‘All That Is Sound’, which she describes as “an audio-visual ambient/electronic exploration of the vibration of voice through the breakdown of mantra”.

  • See: corkmidsummer.com

Interview: Des O’Driscoll


Best recent book you’ve read:

Normal People by Sally Rooney for my book club and I also watched the series BBC had made.

Overall I loved the depiction of Irish life, but I wanted Marianne’s character to be a bit more edgy.

Best recent film:

Green Book, the story of Don Shirley, the classical/jazz pianist on the road in deep south America.

Best recent show/gig you’ve seen (in the pre-Covid era:

‘Yearning for the Infinite’ by Max Cooper at the Barbican in London.

He’s a friend and collaborator of my husband, composer Tom Hodge.

His music, concept and visuals were epic.

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

The 1950s orchestral soundtrack to the original Disney motion picture Cinderella.

It’s such a beautiful score and my kids love to listen to it and act it out in the living room.

First ever piece of music that moved you:

Freddie Mercury at Live Aid in 1985, I was 7 years old and I recall watching him in awe and thinking how amazing he was.

He was the whole package.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!):

Eric Harland, Ethan Ivorson and Larry Grenadier at the Village Vanguard Jazz Club in New York.

Eric Harland’s performance was transformative.

Tell us about your TV viewing:

I recently watched The Morning Show.

I love what Reese Witherspoon is doing with her production company Hello Sunshine, by bringing difficult conversations and debates, such as the #MeToo scandal, straight to your living room.

Radio listening and/or podcasts:

Experimental artist Holly Hearndon and Mat Dryhurst are producing a new podcast called Interdependence where they have discussions with artists at the forefront of their genre.

Radio wise, Night Tracks, presented by Hannah Peel on BBC Radio 3 presents an array of tracks from classical to contemporary.

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

Well I’d have to have some of the most amazing female vocalists who’ve inspired my life as a singer: Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald and Maria Callas.

Your best celebrity encounter:

I’ve actually had a few interesting ones, I worked with Rufus Wainwright’s on the development of his opera Prima Donna and found that to be a very intense experience.

But a better experience than that was sitting front row in Caroline Herrera’s fashion show in New York because my husband wrote the score to her show that year.

I then hung out with her backstage at the Charlie Rose show.

She was a really lovely lady and we had a nice chat about opera.

You can portal back to any cultural event or music era – where, when, and why?

Woodstock 1969, where else could you have had so many iconic influential artists converging in one spot in history.

Unsung hero – individual or group who don’t get the praise they deserve:

Anyone from Cork.

You are queen of the arts world for a day – what’s your first decree?

Pay rises and financial support for everyone in the arts.

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