Garda chief's daughter hits right notes with Messiah

Melanie Finn

THIS is the arresting daughter of Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy whose singing talent has seen her hailed as one of the big names to watch in 2011.

And soprano Fiona Murphy (33) has revealed how now that her father is approaching retirement after a 33-year stint with the force, he'll have more time to enjoy her performances.

"He's a major fan and goes to everything," she explained.

Although she's now based in Britain, UCD graduate Fiona has returned home for Christmas and her two-date performance of Handel's Messiah in the Grand Canal Theatre.

Last night was her first time to take to the stage in the southside venue, with another performance scheduled for tomorrow night. And the soprano star who has performed with major opera companies in the US and Britain, said that coming home for the festive season is a huge treat.

"I love to spend time here. I'm performing with the National Symphony Orchestra in January so it's lovely to be able to hang around.


"But there's no doubt that singing in the Grand Canal Theatre adds spice to that. I'm so excited to sing there, it's an asset for that part of Dublin.

"I've heard lots about the theatre. Friends who came to the opening with the Russian State Ballet described the place as stunning."

And she said that going to see a rendition of the famous work by Handel is always a key part of the festive season for her and her family. "I go to a performance of Messiah every Christmas. When you see the whole Christmas story come alive like that and then you hear the Hallelujah chorus -- that's when Christmas begins for me," she continued.

Fiona originally studied music in Philadelphia, where she previously performed with the Garda choir in a one-off performance to help raise cash for Irish people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks.

A graduate of UCD, she has a BA in English and Music and holds a Master of Music in Opera from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

During her time studying in Ireland, she worked with the acclaimed Dr Veronica Dunne and has previously sang on the Late Late Show.