This much I know: Celine Byrne

I saw opera live for the first time at La Scala, when I was taking a year out after school to work as an au pair in Milan.

I really only considered it as a profession when I was studying music in college, though it was secretly a dream to be an opera singer.

I’m very grateful for my talent and once I started working professionally as a classical singer I set goals for myself, one of which was to perform in Covent Garden. I’ve still a few more to realise so with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck I’ll get through my list!

I love taking care of people and alternatively would have liked to have been a nurse or a teacher.

I come from a sporty family, not a musical one. My father played Gaelic football for Kildare and I played Gaelic football and camogie.

My earliest memory is going to watch a Gaelic match with my dad and grandmother when I was three. It was the first time I got lost. I was watching the match then wandered off and ‘lost’ them.

I love cleaning — I chase after people in my house with side plates even for a biscuit, and if you’re not careful your cup might be taken before you finish your tea.

I believe the soul lives on after death.

I’m more of a lark than a night owl. I need my sleep in order to sing like one.

The most interesting conversation I’ve ever had was in Cape Town with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He is an amazing man with a wonderful philosophy on life. The best advice I ever got was simply not to give up on my dreams.

I am always wary of the fact that my instrument is in my body and a healthy voice needs a healthy body. But I am not a fitness fanatic. I just keep active and always make sure I take my vitamins and eat a balanced diet to ensure I don’t get run down, especially when I am really busy.

I think we need to look after each other a bit more, especially the most vulnerable in our society. The recent cuts to health and social services worry me.

If I won the Lotto I would make sure my family were looked after, then I would give money to charity, such as Rebuild for Bosnia, and I’d start a music benevolent fund for young musicians.

When I’m at home my daily routine consists of making breakfast and getting the children ready for school. Once they’re on their way I do some cleaning and then I spend about three hours learning music and working on a language. I’m currently studying German online and I have already studied French and Italian. When I’m travelling with work it’s hard to have a routine as rehearsals and performance times are all different.

People might be interested to know that I’m dyslexic.

I always travel wearing leggings and if they go out of fashion I don’t know what I’ll do. When I am performing I have several dresses to choose from, but there is always the old reliable which hides a multitude.

I spend most money on auditions. They always involve flights, hotels and so on and it can be expensive. All for a chance to sing for about 10 minutes at an opera house to see if they would like to engage you for a role.

I’ve learned not to be so anxious about things. There were nights when I couldn’t sleep questioning what I was doing, but now I am more mellow and believe if it’s for you it won’t pass you by.

* Celine Byrne stars in Carmen with the Moscow State Opera at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Dublin Wednesday, Mar 13 to Sunday, Mar 17.


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