Ailish Tynan (47 years old) is an Irish soprano whose career flourished in London. A regular at Wigmore Hall, she also often performed in operas. She is known for her versatility, comic performances, and interesting demeanor. From Mullingar, she lives in London with her husband, Keith, the lead bass trombonist in the Royal Opera House. They have a five-year-old daughter, Daisy, and a dog, Jack.
How were you when you were a little girl?
I was a bit appalled. My mother said she ordered me this pretty little dress with rose embroidery and a small bag. When we got home, she discovered that I had picked up every cigarette butt from the street and put it in my pocket.
Choose three words to describe yourself.
Extroverted, inquisitive and a lover of life.
Let us know how young the show started.
I’m a great person to climb up to the kitchen table and give a concert.
Tell us about this upcoming concert at the National Concert Hall.
I will sing Poulenc and Fauré songs with French pianist Philippe Cassard. I’m so glad I can finally sing with my hero.
Explain how your singing career began at Butlin’s.
One of my brothers took me on vacation with his family. They put me in the talent show to make me laugh. i sang Poor little Angeline. I won this plastic board. It was just a heat. Everyone is preparing for the final but I only brought shorts. My mother took off her dress and put a safety pin on me in the back. I went first with another person.
The best advice you give?
Be yourself, and don’t worry about what others think of you.
Any advice for opera singers?
I told them that if they could pay their bills at the end of each month, they were rock stars in the opera world.
The best advice you’ve been given?
I’m not a great listener and I’ve always been sure of myself, which is a big help in this business.
Tell us about someone you admire and why.
I am living in London for the past 22 years. There are many caregivers who go from house to house. I see them every morning. They are people I really admire. They get paid and they’re still in there taking care of these people, with big smiles on their faces.
Why are you a singer?
I love being in front of an audience and communicating with people. It’s something I can do well and make a living from.
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What’s so special about Opera?
Opera is everything exaggerated. You love more and hate more and you can take things to extremes. It’s fun to be able to unleash your emotional power that way. As Mimi, you have two hours on stage, where you can relive this intensely passionate love affair, and then you die.
Has your daughter ever seen you in an opera?
When she was four years old, I took her to see the first half of La Boheme and she was mesmerized. But I didn’t want her to see me dying, so she didn’t watch the second half.
Has motherhood changed you?
It was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve cut a lot of jobs since having her because I want to enjoy spending time with her. I was almost 42 years old when I got her, so it feels magical that I have her. We have a ball together. She is very happy.
Tell us about a memorable time on stage.
When I was a wooden bird in Siegfried in Wagner’s Loop cycle, I have to do all this aerial work, in one harness. They pulled me up to the top and I had to do all these things twirling like Tinkerbell and singing at the same time. Then I was lowered to give Siegfried a sword and a magic helmet. The guy in charge of operating the buttons was off and the guy standing in the room didn’t know when he was supposed to stop bringing me down. When he stopped, I landed on the tall man’s shoulder with my legs around his neck.
Ailish will perform on ‘Philippe Cassard and Friends’ at the National Concert Hall on September 28; nch.ie
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/theatre-arts/upfront-ailish-tynan-on-motherhood-and-memorable-moments-41938643.html Upfront: Ailish Tynan on motherhood and memorable moments