My cultural life... Tara Erraught
International mezzo-soprano and Dundalk native Tara Erraught studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) under the renowned soprano Dr Veronica Dunne. She has performed throughout the United States and in Canada, Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
The young singer, a resident principal soloist with the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, can also be heard this season in company debuts at New York City's Metropolitan Opera and Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu. Additionally, she returns to Canada's Vancouver Recital Society and debuts in Welsh National Opera's International Concert Series and at South Carolina's Peace Centre. She will perform at the National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award gala concert on Sunday, November 26. The award is being presented to Irish pianist Dr John O'Conor in honour of his outstanding contribution to Irish musical life.
Music: Beautiful, The Carole King Musical
I recently saw Beautiful, The Carole King Musical on Broadway. Although I knew her album, Tapestry, I had no idea of the unbelievable amount of music Carol (above) had composed before she released that album - including so many of the songs I knew. We were very lucky growing up with the music our parents loved and exposed us to: Up On The Roof, Loco-Motion, Take Good Care Of My Baby, Some Kind of Wonderful, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. She wrote in so many styles for so many different voices, genres and soloists, including herself.
Film: High Society
Starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong, I have loved this movie since I first saw it as a child. Some of the greatest musical numbers and dance numbers ever. It was such a treat to see Grace Kelly's engagement dress (above) from the movie, designed by Helen Rose, in the Newbridge Silverware style icon exhibition this summer.
Art: A Seascape by Jules Dupre
While I was a student of Dr Veronica Dunne at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, when she would introduce you to a new piece or a new composer she would suggest you cross the street to the National Art Gallery and look at a painting from the time of the composition. This way you could expose yourself to the colours being used at the time and landscapes that allow you an insight into the world that the composer lived in. I remember when Ronnie suggested I learn Apres un reve by Faure, I went to the National Gallery in search of something from the time, and I found A Seascape by Jules Dupre. It's rich green/blue sea and faded clouds, but strong-sailed boat gave me the palate of colours necessary to begin to delve into the French music of Faure. This launched my relationship with French music, so it is a painting I will always hold dear.
Book: Miranda Hart
I am a fan of quite a few female comics and I love reading their biographies, particularly Jennifer Saunders's Bonkers and the laugh-out-loud biography of Miranda Hart (above) Is It Just Me?. But another recent favourite is a novel by Dawn French - According To Yes.
TV: The West Wing
This made me very interested in Washington, DC as a city, so when I was there singing at the Opera I toured the White House, Capitol Hill, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. And I was lucky enough to meet Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Leader Nancy Pelosi.
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