|Emma and Suzanne|
I include below some additional insights into Emma's path to the opera stage that emerged in the interview
Watch out for her at Wexford, later this year. I hear she is to appear as lead in one of the short works, Hansel and Gretel
Where did you grow up.? Can you tell me a little about your early music training- your first music lessons.
I grew up in Douglas in Cork and I don't come from a particularly musical family. I remember attending theory lessons from a young age at The Cork School of Music and singing in the junior choir there. It was my mum who first introduced me to theatre and performing, enrolling me in CADA Performing Arts when I was very young. I was bitten by the bug, appearing in Pantomimes and various shows over the years. When I was 17 I was encouraged by my music teacher Alison Johnston in Scoil Mhuire to audition for the Irish Youth Choir. I spent a summer singing with other talented young singers and I was inspired to begin training my voice more seriously.
I only began getting my voice trained quite late. I think I always wanted to sing but I didn't know opera would be the path I took. I initially intended to study drama and theatre studies at UCC but when I was offered a joint honours option with music the singing training took over completely. Opera was a way to combine my two great passions; singing and acting to the highest level.
What was your first experience of opera.
My dad actually introduced me to opera. He has a great love for the classics; Tosca, La Traviata, La Bohème etc. I have a very vivid memory of him taking me to see Madam Butterfly at The Cork Opera House and I was enthralled. Prior to this I believed opera singers were simply born with those incredible voices but as soon as I found out that it was possible to train your voice to sing like that I was on a mission!
Is Gilda your first Verdi role? Looking at your biography, you seem to have sung lots of contemporary opera. ! Yes that is true although my first professional engagement after the opera course at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama was a romantic opera; Der Vampyr by Marschner with The Everyman and The Cork Operatic Society. Then in December I sang with Wide Open Opera in their new commission The Oldest Woman in Limerick by Brian Irvine and John McllDuff. Before that I sang the role of Lucia in Irish Youth Opera’s inaugural production of The Rape of Lucretia conducted by Stephen Barlow and directed by Michael Barker Caven. I'm looking forward to returning to some of the theatres; The Limetree Theatre in Limerick, An Táin Arts Centre in Dundalk, The O’ Reilly Theatre in Dublin and Wexford Opera House on the Rigoletto tour. Gilda is my first full Verdi role although I've done some Verdi scenes and arias before. Gilda is one of those bucket list roles and I'm really looking forward to singing it with Opera Theatre Company alongside this exciting cast.
Irish Examiner Review The Rape of Lucretia http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/artsvibe/opera-review-the-rape-of-lucretia-at-the-wexford-opera-house-285567.html