Tributes paid to ‘superstar’ Cork soprano Cara O’Sullivan

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“When she unleashed her vocal fireworks, she made time stand still,” the artistic director of Irish National Opera said of Cara.

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to the Cork opera singer Cara O’Sullivan, who died yesterday aged 59, after being diagnosed with early-onset dementia in 2018.

Cara died at Marymount University Hospital and Hospice yesterday.

The Irish National Opera artistic director Fergus Sheil led tributes to the soprano.

“The untimely passing of soprano Cara O’Sullivan 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’s voice had a liquidity and flexibility that could tackle some of the most demanding and glistening soprano repertoire. But her voice was only part of the attraction.

“Cara had a warmth to her personality that never failed to draw in audiences. She knew how to command attention, she strode onto the stage as though it were her own kingdom and she fed off the audience’s rapt responses.”

Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins said: “The news of the death of Cara O’Sullivan will have been received with great sadness by all those who love and appreciate music.

“Proud of her Cork roots, and ever generous to local groups, Cara O’Sullivan was a performer whose talents were recognised the world over. She performed not only in local halls and festivals, but also at the Paris Opera, the Sydney Opera House and the Albert Hall in London, making her mark in many productions of works by Mozart, Handel, Mendelsohn and Verdi. 

She will be remembered as one of Ireland’s greatest sopranos, and one who was ever generous to her colleagues.

“To her siblings, her daughter, her extended family and wide circle of friends, Sabina and I send our deepest condolences.”

Former rugby international Donncha O’Callaghan said: “So sad to hear of the passing of Cara O’Sullivan. A beautiful voice and the kindest person.

“We will never forget the emotional energy she created before our games ‘Until you hear that bell, that final bell, stand up and fight like hell!’”

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RTÉ presenter John Creedon said:

“Such a terrible loss. A rare talent, a wonderfully funny woman and a heart of gold. What we wouldn’t give for one more encore… Rest peacefully Cara.”

Former Lord Mayor of Cork Councillor Mick Finn said: “Very sad to hear of the passing of Cork’s own international superstar, Cara O’Sullivan.

“From the main opera house in Cork to the one in Sydney, she graced every stage with charm, wit and technical brilliance. Farewell to Cork’s diva…Vissi d’Arte [I lived for my art].”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin led the political tributes to the soprano last night.

“She had a beautiful voice and the warmest personality. Cork is very proud of her legacy and I will always value our friendship. Deepest sympathy to Christine and her wider family. RIP Cara.”

Minister Simon Coveney said that the news was sad: “Cara was such a talent and such a big, warm personality, loved by so many people in Cork and Ireland. RIP.”

Cara O'Sullivan at Irish charity To Russia with Love's gala evening in the National Concert Hall.

Cara O’Sullivan at Irish charity To Russia with Love’s gala evening in the National Concert Hall.

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