RIP Soprano Cara O'Sullivan
The well-known Irish soprano Cara O’Sullivan has died aged 59.
A celebrated performer in the realms of opera, oratorio and the concert stage, O’Sullivan was diagnosed with early-onset dementia in 2018. She died in her home city of Cork yesterday (26 January 2021).
Born in 1962, O’Sullivan began her vocal studies at the Cork School of Music under Robert Beare and went on to study with David Harper and Paul Hamburger in London. In 1990 she won the RTÉ Musician of the Future competition and subsequently represented Ireland in the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 1993. She toured as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Glyndebourne opera in 1995 and performed the same role with Welsh National Opera the following year. She won first prize at the International Stanisław Moniuszko Vocal Competition in Poland in 1995 and in 1997 received the classical music artist award at the Irish National Entertainment Awards.
O’Sullivan sang with companies such as Opera Ireland, Opéra de Paris, Opera Nantes and Cincinnati Festival Opera. In 2003 she released the debut recording Cara Diva with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra under Proinsias Ó Duinn.
In 2019, following her retirement from performing the year before, a concert celebrating her career, Cara: A Celebration, took place at the National Concert Hall and featured Claudia Boyle, Celine Byrne, Imelda Drumm, Tara Erraught, Regina Nathan and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra,
Commenting on her passing, Fergus Sheil, Artistic Director of Irish National Opera, said:
The untimely passing of soprano Cara O’Sullivan today has robbed Ireland of one of its greatest operatic talents. Cara possessed a voice of pure beauty. She had virtuosic skills and when she unleashed her vocal fireworks, she made time stand still. … Cara was a perfectionist. She was as demanding of herself as she was of all those around her. She commanded huge respect within the world of opera professionals. Cara enjoyed a successful career, but never took it for granted. She worked hard, prepared meticulously and continually sought to develop herself. Her reward was the adulation her fans offered her.
Taoiseach Mícheál Martin said he was ‘Deeply saddened … She had a beautiful voice and the warmest personality. Cork is very proud of her legacy and I will always value our friendship.’ There have also been tributes online from Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin, Celine Byrne and Tara Erraught
Cara O’Sullivan is survived by her daughter Christine.