Tributes to trailblazing Irish soprano Veronica Dunne who has died at 93

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President Michael D. Higgins was among those who paid tribute to the legendary Irish opera singer and music teacher Dr Veronica Dunne who has died at the age of 93.

he Dubliner established the Veronica Dunne Singing Competition in 1995 which went on to become one of the most highly regarded competitions of its kind in the world during her career spanning seven decades as an internationally renowned soprano.

President Higgins said that news of her death today “will have deeply saddened all those who love the power and beauty of music.”

“Throughout her life, Dr. Veronica Dunne captivated millions with her singing. The legacy she leaves lies in the talents of those scores of others whose talents and performances she unlocked with her enthusiasm, energy and commitment as a teacher and friend,” he said in a statement this evening.

“Guided by her warmth, passion and energy, she developed the Veronica Dunne Competition, from its beginnings in 1995, into one of the foremost international singing competitions in the world.

“I had the privilege, in 2014, of presenting her with the ‘National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award’. Sabina and I send our deepest condolences to her family, her many friends, including her former students, and the community of music lovers who will feel her loss so keenly.”

Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin also paid tribute. 

“She was a real trailblazer as a musician, teacher and an utterly inspiring woman, with an incredible career that spanned 70 years. She leaves in her wake a long line of gifted singers and she has inspired generations of musicians worldwide,” Ms Martin said.

 “Veronica Dunne will also be remembered for her great voice and her impressive career as an opera singer – both at home and abroad – for many years in many different roles. She was much loved for her contribution to music, to teaching and encouraging up and coming musicians.

“She will be remembered for the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition which is dedicated to discovering the outstanding opera singers of the future. I wish to offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Veronica at this very difficult time.”

Eurovision winner Eimear Quinn shared a recording of Vaughan Wililams’ The Lark Ascending sung by Dunne, saying: “Listening to this and bidding farewell to our lark Veronica Dunne. May she fly to peace.”

Singer Finbar Wright said: “Ireland’s wonderful Veronica Dunne, our legendary singing teacher has passed away. We enjoyed many a laugh together as she insisted on making me sing that little bit better. A tour de force, full of humour and naughty wi. May she rest in peace.”

Dr Dunne, who was known affectionately as “Ronnie” starting singing at the age of 12 and made her operatic debut in 1948 with the Dublin Grand Opera Society after studying in Rome for a number of years previously.

She made her Italian debut in 1952 before joining the Royal Opera House in London.

She married Peter McCarthy in 1953 and continued to perform in Ireland, the UK and US after having two children before retiring from the stage in 1973. However, she continued to inspire young singers throughout her long career after teaching at the College of Music at DIT followed by stints at the Leinster School of Music and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

She taught almost every major Irish classical singerand continued to teach well into her 90s. Prior to that, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from UCD and was a lifetime member of the Royal Dublin Society.

Irish Independent

Source: Irish News