A question of taste - Cara O'Sullivan

Cara O’Sullivan is from the Lough area of Cork, and sings at Live at St Luke’s on Sunday. She will perform Richard Strauss and Samuel Barber songs in the first half, and operatic arias in the second half, including Puccini’s ‘One fine Day’ from Madame Butterfly.

Book choice: I like all of Philippa Gregory’s books, they are based on factual historical events surrounding European Royalty in the late 16th and early 17th Century. I specifically liked The Queens Fool.

What formats do you access music? I usually buy CDs and recently discovered Spotify. My most useful source is my Uncle Frank who has a vast collection of CDs, LPs and 78s dating back to the early 1900s.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately: Thomas Hampson singing Samuel Barber’s ‘Sure on this Shining Night’.

First ever piece of music or art or film or gig that really moved you: Arcedelts Ave Maria — my parents used to sing it in St Francis Church Choir.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen: Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler in the Abbey Theatre starring Fiona Shaw. It was one of the most powerful theatrical experiences of my life.

Tell us about your TV viewing: I like documentaries, I try to record a series and watch late in the evening when I’m finished work. I don’t watch much early evening TV as I’m often busy at that time of day.

Radio listening: Late Date with Alf McCarthy, any Lyric FM shows. I always have the radio on when I’m driving so I could end up listening to country & western if I had to.

Name three of your music heroes: Bernard Haitink, a great maestro whom I was honoured to work with; Anne Murray, a wonderful mezzo-soprano; Robert Beare, my singing teacher who taught me a great vocal technique and who instilled in me a love of sacred music which I cherish to this day.

Your best celebrity encounter: Martin Sheen, an absolute gentleman and I am a big fan of his work.

Most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought: My late parents Ann and Donal bought me a Kinsale cloak for my 18th birthday. It was bought in Cronins of Kinsale. I don’t remember how much, but it was very expensive. I wore it for years but had to throw it away when a vast amount of moths ate their way through my lovely cloak. I was sad to see it destroyed but the moths ate very well, little blighters!

Unsung hero — individual, organisation or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve: I lost a very dear friend recently, Breda Kenny, she was a ‘friend’ of Marymount Hospice. She had an amazing capacity to fundraise and raise awareness of the vital services Marymount provides, while avoiding the limelight herself. Her fellow ‘friends’ and all the management and staff in Marymount were very supportive of her through the years. I, like many others, miss her very much.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree? Make Mother’s Day a long weekend!


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