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The silencing of a mighty voice

Cara diva: Ireland's great soprano celebrated

Last year Cara O'Sullivan, 57, one of Ireland's greatest sopranos, was diagnosed with a life-changing illness that means she will no longer perform professionally. Ahead of a gala concert to celebrate her career, Barry Egan hears her story from family and friends

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Cara O'Sullivan: 'The only constant in my life is Mister Puccini and Mister Verdi'. Photo by Fran Marshal

Cara O'Sullivan: 'The only constant in my life is Mister Puccini and Mister Verdi'. Photo by Fran Marshal

Cara at daughter  Christine’s wedding Photo: Dominic Dunne

Cara at daughter Christine’s wedding Photo: Dominic Dunne

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Cara O'Sullivan: 'The only constant in my life is Mister Puccini and Mister Verdi'. Photo by Fran Marshal

Cara O'Sullivan enraptured audiences globally as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte. She also delivered many other heart-shredding arias in everything from La Traviata, Handel's Messiah, and Faust, to Mendelssohn's Elijah and Verdi's Requiem, to name but a few.

Cara has brought the house down on famous stages across the world - from the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona to the Paris Opera, Sydney Opera House and London's Royal Albert Hall. She has sung outside the White House and was indeed, as one paper dubbed her, "the Irish superstar of her generation".

The young girl who remembered her mother Anne as "singing when she was sad and singing when she was happy" literally sang all over the world. (The price to pay for her relentless touring was perhaps a personal one. As she said in 2010, "very few opera singers have long-term relationships. The only constant in my life is Mister Puccini and Mister Verdi".)


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