Michael Casey and Veronica Dunne - soprano
At a recent garden party hosted by H.E. Soha Gendi, the Egyptian ambassador accredited to Ireland, Veronica Dunne – the internationally acclaimed soprano – received much praise from Templemore native Dr. Michael Casey of the British and Irish Trading Alliance.
Dr. Casey heads B.I.T.A.’s transnational programme on Education, Research, Innovation and Culture, the Acronym of which is E.R.I.C.
“Veronica Dunne,” he said, “can be credited with the strong foundation upon which the Irish vocal community was built. In 1946, as a young woman, Dunne departed her native Dublin to study and train as a bel canto opera singer in Rome.
“There she encountered Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty (The Scarlet Pimpernel), a man revered for his work in the Vatican during World WWII - saving thousands of Allied lives. During Dunne’s studies in one of the world’s most exhilarating capitols the Monsignor arranged for her to board with the Sacred Heart nuns as she studied with maestro Francesco Calcatelli.
“In 1952, Dunne, competing against no less than two hundred sopranos, won the Concorso Lirico Milano. As a result of wining that prestigious completion Sir David Webster (opera manager) offered her a contract to perform at the Royal Opera House, Convent Garden, London.
“During her time at the Royal Opera she met the stars of her age: Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland and Montserrat Caballe.
“In 1960, Dunne turned from singing and performance to teaching and over the past fifty years she has been the force behind a generation of vocal talent including Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano), Celine Byrne (soprano) and, more recently, Tara Erraught (mezzo-soprano)”
Dr. Casey further described Dunne as not only an “outstanding mentor but also a unique and gracious lady in the Irish cultural world.”