Home Emotional music Cork opera singer Sinéad Ní Mhurchú selects her favorite music, playing and viewing options

Cork opera singer Sinéad Ní Mhurchú selects her favorite music, playing and viewing options


Sinéad Ní Mhurchú is a Cork soprano who has performed in opera and concerts in her country and abroad. As part of Magic Nights by the Lee, she will perform a selection of opera arias at Glen River Park on Saturday, September 4, in a lineup that includes Keith Pascoe of the Vanbrugh String Quartet and singer-songwriter Jack O ‘Rourke. Sinéad is married with two daughters and teaches at Cork City Music College.

Half of a yellow sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A brilliant story weave and vibrant characters let you feel the true emotional impact of the horrors of war. A work of fiction based on real facts and first-hand accounts.

Best recent film

The films of the Covid era were very family-oriented (suffice to say, I know ALL Marvel characters by name!). That said, Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems stands out in recent memory as something thrilling in terms of pace and intensity – up there with Whiplash for dry mouth and adrenaline discomfort.

Best recent show / concert you have seen

The streaming concerts left me a little sad and eager, and very grateful for the reality, as a live performance is an experience that I don’t think I can properly portray on screen. Before confinement, I could hear Anita Rachsvelishvilli sing Amneris (Verdi’s Aïda) in Verona. It was a visceral experience – totally unforgettable.

Best song you have listened to recently (new or old)

Blood on the rails. I’m a latecomer to Dylan, among others, having long been obsessed with opera and classical. As my tooth grows, I understand better the urgency of his message. On the other hand, I fell in love with Cesaria Evora again. Its ambiance was the perfect backdrop for our recent heat wave – evoking sunsets, holiday cocktails, the smells and sounds of hot summer nights.

First piece of music that really moved you

I distinctly remember a performance of Peter and the Wolf at Town Hall when I was a child and I was delighted by the characters having their own instrument or motif. However, it was through the Dead Poets’ Society with Robin Williams that I discovered the Adagio of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.5. I was captivated by its breathtaking beauty and simplicity.

The best opera production you have ever seen

John O’Brien’s treatment of I Pagliacci in The Everyman. I mean, talking about overturning opera and recalibrating the art form to be a completely immersive experience for the audience. His innovation brought the wow factor to Cork Opera House.

Watch television

Unorthodox on Netflix sparked a fascination (in Yiddish) for similar stories of religious oppression and rebellion within ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. Also, Call My Agent was such a great idea for a series – a real who’s who of French cinema, that made me laugh.

Listening to radio and / or podcasts

In the car, I listen to Lyric FM unless it’s John Creedon. It educates my ear and soothes my soul in equal measure. For the school run, I cried listening to heartbreaking stories about Joe Duffy, but mostly I cried laughing – Joe pisses me off fiercely!

I dive into podcasts that try to figure out what it’s all about: Pat Divilly, Russell Brand, How to Fail with Elizabeth Day, and a bit of Motherfoclóir with Darach Ó Séaghadha.

You are in the cast of the opera of your dreams – who would be the three living singers?

Lise Davidsen, Anita Rachsvelishvilli, Piotr Beczala – I would listen to any of them sing just about anything but I would settle for all three in Verdi’s Il Trovatore.

Your Best Celebrity Dating

I spent a summer aupairing in Paris at the time. As it turned out they were celebrities and their friend was Omar Sharif, hence the afternoons spent in a swimming pool in Deauville feasting on his Hollywood adventures and what it was like to play in front of Barbra Streisand! There were pictures; my mother was delighted.

You can refer to any cultural event or musical era – where, when and why?

Paris in the 1920s – to experience the raw energy of the Roaring Twenties, the birth of European jazz, the culture of cafes in “the navel of the world”.

You are the queen of the art scene for a day, what is your first decree?

May the arts be treated as a source of air for the human soul and not just as an afterthought as we are seeing with this pandemic. Let music be a core curriculum from the early years with tuition, instrument and support for each child. This is after having overhauled the entire system to ensure a minimum living wage for creatives, at least equal to the European average.

After all, what got people through the dark days of Covid? Now where’s my magic wand …