A question of taste - Nora Callanan

Nora Callanan: A fan of French culture.

Nora Callanan was raised in Dripsey but now lives in Monkstown, Co Cork. She is the director of the Cork French Film Festival and president of Alliance Francaise de Cork. The film festival runs from March 6-13. corkfrenchfilmfestival.com

Best three films you’ve seen at the Cork French Film Festival over the years:

That’s a difficult one as there were so many greats! But to mention three, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg by Jacques Demy, A Prophet by the great Jacques Audiard, and On Tour by Mathieu Amalric were for sure favourites.

Best recent book: I fear I haven’t much free time for reading in the build-up to the festival, but I recently read again The Things I’ve Seen by Lara Marlowe, whom I greatly admire, both as a writer and friend. I highly recommend it!

Best recent show/exhibition/gig you’ve seen: My daughter Emily treated us (Liam and me) to the Romeo and Juliet concert in the City Hall on Valentine’s night. It was an outstanding concert, which we thoroughly enjoyed, by the newly formed Cork Concert Orchestra, conducted by Neil Thomson. I’ll for sure be keeping an eye out for their next performance!

In December, I went on a girls’ evening out with my daughter and adorable granddaughter Sybil to see Mary Poppins in the Bord Gais Theatre. It was an absolutely spectacular show! But what I enjoyed most was seeing the wonder and happiness in Sybil’s face.

How do you access music?

I do enjoy listening to the radio, but still buy CDs. I have a fairly extensive collection of operatic and musicals at home.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately: Driving home from a late night in the festival office, I was listening to Late Date and to my absolute delight one of my all-time favourites, ‘Casta Diva’ from the Bellini opera Norma, came up.

First ever piece of music or art:

In my teenage years, I adored the song ‘Whispering Hope’, which I sang, as a duet, on many occasions with my best friend Mary. I loved ballet as a child and teenager and ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ by Tchaikovsky has been a real favourite of mine. The ‘Garland Waltz’ still evokes so many memories.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen: It has to be Michel Legrand in concert in the Everyman Theatre in Cork in 2014. It was an unforgettable performance celebrating the 25th year of the Cork French Film Festival, in association with Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Remembering his superb interpretation of ‘I Will Wait for You’ from Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, can still send shivers down my spine.

Tell us about your TV viewing: I rarely get time to watch TV these busy days, but when I do, I like current affairs and cookery programmes. I really enjoyed the series Downtown Abbey but missed out on a few episodes.

Radio listening: I love Lyric FM, especially when driving. I enjoy Ryan Tubridy’s morning show, when I get a chance to tune in.

Your best celebrity encounter: I feel so privileged to have worked with, and met, so many talented and creative people during my journey with the Cork French Film Festival. Such as Agnès Varda, Jean-Claude Carrière, Michel Legrand, Mathieu Amalric and so many more.

Most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought: My favourite Irish designer has always been Richard Lewis. For the 25th Cork French Film Festival, I resurrected from my wardrobe my favourite dress of his, lovingly treasured for over 15 years.

Tech habits: I am a bit of a technophobe, but a few years ago, on receiving an IPad and IPhone as a birthday present from my children I was parachuted into the 21st century with a bang.

I love photography and now, thanks to this whole new world, I have over 1,500 photos in my IPhone.


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