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Lifetime Achievement Award

Media Release Tuesday 5 August 2014

Tickets on sale tomorrow for Gala Concert honouring National Concert Hall 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Dr Veronica Dunne.

Gala Concert - 8pm, Sunday September 21st, 2014

Tickets on Sale: Wednesday 6th August 10am

Dr. Veronica Dunne will be awarded the National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014. It will be presented in tribute to her own extraordinary career and in recognition of her incredible dedication and commitment to Irish singers, on Sunday September 21at at the National Concert Hall.

The award will be presented at a Gala event hosted by RTE’s Bryan Dobson, who will talk to Dr Dunne about her life, with guest appearances by some of the high profile singers whose careers she has helped to shape, accompanied by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Robert Houlihan.

The National Concert Hall’s Lifetime Achievement Award was established to recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution to music in Ireland.’ said Simon Taylor, Chief Executive of the National Concert Hall  ‘There can be few people more deserving of  such an award than Veronica Dunne, whose contribution to opera and singing over six decades, both as an artist and a selfless and inspiring teacher,  is enormous and unique.’

Dr Veronica Dunne

Dublin born Veronica (Ronnie) Dunne had a glittering operatic career on the world stage, and since then has devoted her life selflessly to the training of young voices. Amongst her students who went on to illustrious international careers internationally are soprano Suzanne Murphy, contralto Patricia Bardon and mezzo soprano Tara Erraught.

Ronnie began her vocal studies at age 12 with Herbert Rooney who immediately recognized her tremendous potential. After selling her pony to help fund her studies, she moved to Rome in 1946, and while still a student, made her operatic début in 1948 with the Dublin Grand Opera Society. In 1952, her final year of studies, she won the Concorso Lirico Milano, competing against 200 sopranos.  As a result of winning that prestigious competition, she was chosen as Mimi and made her Italian operatic début in La Bohème at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan.

Sir David Webster heard Ronnie sing Mimi and offered her a contract to join the Company of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She made her operatic début there as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier (Strauss); going on to play Mimi in La Bohème; Susanna in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro with Joan Sutherland as the Countess, and  Euridice in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, with the late Kathleen Ferrier. That same year she married Peter McCarthy, with whom she had two children.
After her marriage, she commuted to Covent Garden where she was much in demand, singing major roles for the Company. She also sang key roles with Welsh National Opera, Scottish National Opera, Sadler’s Wells (now ENO), and Wexford Festival Opera. In 1954, Ronnie toured the U.S. with the first Festival of Irish Singers and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show during that three-month tour. She retired from the stage in 1973.

In 1961, Ronnie moved into teaching and joined the staff of the Dublin Institute of Technology College of Music as the only voice teacher, and since that time has taught nearly every major Irish singer. She has also taught at the Leinster School of Music and is currently on staff at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Dr. Veronica Dunne is a constant presence in the Dublin opera world, a well-respected vocal musician and teacher, a unique and gracious woman. She is a dedicated advocate of vocal music education and literally hundreds of singers owe their success and careers to her gifted teaching. In 1987, she received an Honorary Doctorate from University College Dublin, and the Royal Dublin Society made her an Honorary Life Member in 1988.

Her dream of providing bursary funds to promising young vocalists came to fruition with the establishment of The Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in 1995, an event perfectly placed to honour Ireland’s Grand Dame of Singing.

Concert Programme:

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Robert Houlihan
, conductor

Overture from Nabucco

Tara Erraught
Barber of Seville: 'Una voce poco fa'(Rossini)
Rinaldo: 'Lascia ch'io pianga(Handel)
Celine Byrne
Madama Butterfly: 'Un bel di' (Puccini)
Faust:  'Jewel Song' (Gounod)

Miriam Murphy
La Forza del destino: 'Pace pace' (Verdi)
Tristan und Isolde: 'Isoldes Liebestod' (Wagner)
Anthony Kearns
Werther: 'Pourquoi me reveiller' (Massenet)
L'Arlesiana: 'E la solita storia del pastore'(Cilea)

Patrick Hyland
La Boheme: 'Che gelida manina'(Puccini)

Further guests and performances to be announced.

Previous recipients of Lifetime Achievement Award

The  inaugural award was awarded in 2012, to Paddy Moloney and the Chieftains, with Sir James Galway being the recipient of the 2013 Award.

Sculptor John Behan

The National Concert Hall commissioned Irish sculptor John Behan to develop a unique award that reflects Ireland and its strong cultural heritage. Taking inspiration from the Irish emblem of the harp the award is cast in bronze and sits on a polished Irish marble base.


Date & Time: 8pm, Sunday September 21, 2014
Venue: National Concert Hall
Bookings: www.nch.ie or 01 417 0000
Tickets: €25, €35, €45, €50

For Further Media Information about Dr Veronica Dunne and the National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award
Christine Monk | 087 675 5329 | christinemonk@eircom.net

For Further Media Information about the National Concert Hall
Sinead Doyle | 087 177 5334 | sinead.doyle@nch.ie

Notes for Editors:
The National Concert Hall is rated by performing artists as one of the finest concert halls in Europe. With weekly performances by its resident orchestra, The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, as well as a range of performances covering classical, opera, traditional, jazz, musicals and popular music The National Concert Hall caters for all musical tastes. The National Concert Hall’s vision is to excite and engage audiences with a musical programme that will enhance immeasurably the cultural life of Ireland. www.nch.ie