Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Accidental Opera Singer : Kelley Lonergan Ciao Italia!

I caught up  with rising opera star  Kelley Lonergan in between shows at Wexford Opera Festival last October where she was busy as a member  of the Festival Chorus. You can read my roundup for the Irish Examiner here. She filled me in on me how she had come to the  world of opera singing via a circuitous route.
Although her family were musical theatre stalwarts in her home town, Clonmel, it was to study piano with Jan Cap that she first came to Cork School of Music. She went on to do Masters in piano accompaniment there.  An opportunity to do an Erasmus year in the Italian opera centre, Verona gave her a chance to develop her singing . As a guest at  the home of the Arena repetiteur, she saw every aspect of the opera production process and she hasn’t looked back since.  ‘It was always a dream at the back of my head to go for the singing but I didn't think then that it was a realistic option but  here I am and I am loving it’.

Lonergan was a member  of the show stealing Milliner’s Chorus in Il Capello di Paglia di Firneze and also in  Christina, Queen of Sweden.  Her chance to  shine in a solo role came as part of the line up in Una Hunt’s Irish Connections concerts that have been a big hit at Wexford 'Audiences have been very moved by the nostalgic  parlour songs from the early part of the century. We have seen people moved to tears as the songs bring back memories of byegone days. It is such a privilege to be part of that. It is about the music but it is also about engaging your audience'. Does she have a preference for the either the stage work or song recital. 'No not really When I'm singing I'm happy . I love the chorus work but I love also  reaching out and touching a listener with just your voice alone'.  Lonergan has had a very successful year on the competition front collecting bursaries from the RDS and Feis Ceoil. The bursaries have allowed her to concentrate on studying and to improve her technique

Kelley Lonergan is currently a member of the Young Associate Artists of Opera Theatre Co.  She is currently studying with Sinead Campbell Wallace and Aoife O Sullivan. She  will be singing at the RTE NSO Summer Lunchtime series on Tuesday 1st July when she will perform arias by Puccini, Leoncavello and Cilea. Watch the video clip for  little foretaste of what is in store on Tuesday.

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