My cultural life: classical singer Niall Morris
Niall Morris is a Grammy-nominated classical singer, writer and theatre producer. He recently starred as opera composer Giacomo Puccini in The Puccini Scandal - which he also wrote and directed - and his show Callas, about the life of the legendary opera singer Maria Callas, is the most popular opera-themed show ever staged at the National Concert Hall. Callas debuts at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre next Friday (bordgaisenergytheatre.ie), narrated by the voice of acclaimed actor Simon Callow, CBE. Niall owns, and performs in, Mario's Singing Waiters for which he won the title Entertainer of the Year at the Event Industry Awards, Ireland. He lives in Grand Canal Dock with his partner Woody.
Film: God's Own Country
I watched this film by chance when I stumbled upon it on Netflix late one evening. Written and directed by Francis Lee, it's the semi-autobiographical story of a young Yorkshire sheep farmer, trapped at home running the family farm and looking after his ageing parents. His life takes an unexpected turn when a Romanian migrant worker comes to help out on the farm during the lambing season. The film feels like a brooding, windswept fusion of Wuthering Heights and Brokeback Mountain.
Music: Vedro con mio diletto
I became obsessed with this beautiful Vivaldi aria which went viral a few years ago on the internet. Polish countertenor Jakub Jozef Orlinski was asked to fill in at short notice for an outdoor recital at the Aix-en-Provence Festival which happened to be recorded for French television. It turned out to be his lucky day because, after millions of hits on YouTube, Orlinski was signed to Warner Classics and, at only 28, soon received offers to perform all over the world.
TV: Mad Men
I loved everything about it: the sassy script, the brilliant attention to period details and, of course, the enigmatic bad boy Don Draper. When the series came to an end, I really missed the glamour and intrigue of those Madison Avenue advertising executives and haven't found anything as compelling on television since.
Art: Tom Murphy
I have a small art collection hanging in my hall and each of the works has a special significance to me. Recently, at auction, I bought a drawing of the late, great playwright Tom Murphy, created in 1976 by renowned artist Micheal O Nuallain. I had a close relationship with Tom for a few years when I commissioned him to write a play about the legendary opera star Maria Callas. He later declared I should write it! I have great memories of our evenings together and our fascinating conversations about art and life - often over a bottle of red wine.
Book: Nureyev - A Biography
Ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev was one of the great artistes of the 20th Century but I can't say I liked him much after reading Peter Watson's detailed biography. Hugely talented, uncompromising, demanding, narcissistic and ruthlessly determined to get to the top, Nureyev's genius was that he brought all of these dynamic forces to his stage persona and multiplied them by a thousand. The result was electrifying.
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