Thursday 17 October 2019

My cultural life: Owen Gilhooly, tenor

Owen Gilhooly
Owen Gilhooly
Charles Gounod
Game of Thrones
The Hearts Invisible Furies

Limerick-born baritone-turned-tenor Owen Gilhooly has had an extensive career as an opera singer, representing Ireland at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, to performing at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the BBC Proms and as far afield as Japan with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Now Dublin-based, he lives with his French Bulldog, Ella and teaches singing at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Mid-West Vocal Academy. Having spent the last four years retraining as a tenor, he's now looking ahead to tackling some of the great tenor roles, including when the National Concert Hall hosts Cara: A Celebration (a special concert for celebrated Irish soprano Cara O'Sullivan) on Wednesday, September 25.

Book: The Heart's Invisible Furies

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The Hearts Invisible Furies

John Boyne's heartbreaking, yet often hilarious life story of Cyril Avery, from conception to old age (1945-2015), put me through every emotion possible. It's a masterpiece, which tackles stigma, discrimination and the abuse of power in Ireland and takes us on a journey from Cork to Dublin, Amsterdam and New York. It narrates some of the astounding and profound social changes that Ireland went through during the 20th Century.

Composer: Schubert

I have a soft spot for Schubert's Shepherd on the Rock, which I find uplifting and transporting in its directness. It's more like a concert aria than a lied and I love that it can be both vocally intricate and dramatic joining voice with both piano and clarinet. At the other end of the spectrum, my guilty pleasure is anything by the performing sensation Pink.

Opera: Faust

Charles Gounod

As an opera singer, I'm surrounded by masterpieces from Mozart to Verdi but one that's very close to my heart is Charles Gounod's (above) Faust. I first saw David McVicar's brilliant production at the Royal Opera House starring Bryn Terfel in 2014 when I was singing there as part of the Faust Trilogy.

Play: Jimmy's Hall

Thanks to Lisa Lambe, who was starring as Oonagh, I saw the play at the Abbey and I was blown away by it. It drew us in and made us understand and sympathise with a time gone by, when church and politicians could have a man deported for inciting the local community to be free-spirited, to learn, argue, dream and, of course, to dance!

TV: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Being a freelance performer and teacher it's really important to have downtime and to switch off. I'm a confessed Game of Thrones fan and I'm enjoying getting into the latest series of Stranger Things. I also really enjoyed Tales of the City on Netflix.

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