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Question of Culture: With soprano Ailish Tynan

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Ailish Tynan, soprano

Ailish Tynan, soprano

Ailish Tynan, soprano

Favourite musician?

It's a guy called Richard Egarr: he conducts the Academy of Ancient Music in London. He's completely mad! His energy and his imagination feel boundless and that's very inspiring.

Favourite band?

Corny I know but I do love a bit of Destiny's Child. Beyonce has a powerful voice and the tunes are gyrating!

Best concert?

Bit of a bus man's holiday to be honest! I'm definitely more in favour of a night in with the dog and the hubby, but the LSO playing Messiah rates high on the list with Antonio Pappano conducting. Again it's this total commitment that Tony gives to everything he touches and of course the superb playing of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Funniest stage memory?

When I was younger I sang a lot with the wonderful ensemble at the Royal Opera Stockholm. I was in fact singing Sophie from Der Rosenkavalier. They had quite a collection of costumes from over the years and I ended up in a beautiful, very old ball gown. On stage, after singing a top C, the stitching burst open revealing all! I can laugh about it now but at the time I was pretty mortified.

Favourite writer?

Paul Verlaine, the French poet. I sing a lot of his poetry in settings by Fauré, Debussy, Hahn. He led a fairly colourful existence and while his poetry exudes an air of grace and dignity, I love that lurking very close by is the tinge of all his debauchery.

Favourite city?

It has to be London. I've been living here for 15 years and during that time I've had the most amazing opportunities for my career. It's a city that has been very good to me and embraced me. My house is in London with my husband and my gorgeous little Jack Russell so that has now become my home. I've also made a lot of wonderful friends here.

Wine or beer?

Champagne and cocktails more like. I've recently discovered a cocktail called The Fitzgerald - lovely! Basically a gin sour with a twist.

Cultural blindspot?

Does UKIP count? To be honest I'm pretty open to most things. I'll give anything a go once. Anyone expressing anything is better than nothing.

Ailish Tynan sings Mozart's Exultate Jubilate with the RTÉ NSO, and the Final Trio from Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier with Celine Byrne and Tara Erraught, on March 27, National Concert Hall. See www.rte.ie/nso.

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