Thursday 20 June 2019

My cultural life: Finbar Wright

Finbar Wright
Finbar Wright
The Seven Sisters
Jane Eyre

Finbar Wright is one of Ireland's most celebrated tenors. He has appeared in concert with such music legends as Monserrat Caballe, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and rock and roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis. He has performed before world leaders including Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul ll. He also performs with The Irish Tenors in sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall, Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall and The Hollywood Bowl. Finbar is a former priest. He left the priesthood and pursued a music career. He is married with two children. The Irish Tenors celebrate their 20th anniversary and will perform live in concert at the National Concert Hall on January 9 & 10 and INEC Killarney on January 13.

Film: Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

My mother was an insatiable reader, so I grew up in a house full of books. Among her all-time favourites were the classical writers such as Jane Austen and, of course, the Bronte Sisters, particularly Charlotte Bronte who wrote Jane Eyre. I consider the 2011 film (above) to be a revelation on many levels. Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender are superb. It is among a handful I keep on my iPad for those hours sitting in airports or in planes.

Composer: Rachmaninoff

In that final hour before a concert I invariably try to find time to clear my mind, sit in a comfortable chair in the dressing room and listen to relaxing music. A frequent choice is Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 2, undoubtedly his finest. Only two years ago, I heard it performed live for the first time and it was thrilling. We were in Nashville to perform three concerts with the Nashville Symphony and, as luck would have it, the following night they were performing this very concerto and they invited me along. Recently, I heard a recording featuring soloist Khatia Buniatishvili, a young French-Georgian concert pianist, and her interpretation is special.

Artwork: Guernica


I find Picasso's paintings difficult. Guernica (above) is easier to unscramble as it addresses one of the most despicable atrocities of the Spanish Civil War. The bombing of the small village of Guernica in the Basque country of northern Spain in the afternoon of April 26, 1937 was carried out by Hitler's Luftwaffe at the request of General Franco and was an omen of what was coming in World War II.

Design: Sydney Opera House

Possibly the best piece of architecture I have experienced. The idea for it began in 1957, the year I was born, when Danish architect Jorn Utzon won a competition to design it. It eventually opened in 1973. I have performed there many times.

Book: The Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters

I get the impression writer Lucinda Riley keeps to herself and nurtures her superb writing skills in secret places. I have never seen or heard her interviewed or doing the usual rounds of publicity interviews which are probably the bane of writers' lives. I am currently reading The Moon Sister where, I am a happy to say, the stories are just as good as her first book and the subsequent volumes in the series.

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