Kildare Village are delighted to sponsor the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival this year. This fantastic festival, formerly the Lismore Opera Festival, will run from Tuesday 28 May to Monday 3 June.

To celebrate our sponsorship we sat down with two people who will take to the stage at the festival this year - Amy Marie Conneely an Opera Singer and Gerald Peregrine, a cellist in the orchestra.


Amy Marie Conneely, Opera Singer

I make sure I am well rested for the day of the performance. I usually wake up before 10.00am and make sure to get some exercise such as a 30 minute run. I usually have quite a big breakfast and keep relaxed for the remainder of the day. I make sure to revise my music by speaking the text and listening to the score. Following this, I warm up my voice and body in preparation of the performance.


I like getting to the theatre early for hair and makeup, and to get into the zone! Post-performance my adrenaline is quite high, so I like to socialize with other cast members before going home to read a book with a cup of tea!


What is your favourite opera and why?

My favourite opera is Werther by Massenet. I remember sitting on my couch and watching it streamed live from Opéra National de Paris.  I remember being emotionally moved by the blissful melodies and the powerful dramatic performances by Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch. I sobbed my way through the whole 3 hours and felt all kinds of emotions.  

What is your favourite song?

Lost on You by LP.

Where is your favourite place to get coffee?

Avoca in Dublin City Centre.

What is your favourite book?

The Mermaid by Christina Henry.

Did you always want to be an Opera singer?

When I was 17 I wanted to be a musical theatre singer on Broadway! By the time my leaving cert came around I knew I wanted to study music. I got into DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and the rest is history!  

What does your perfect day off look like?

Coffee with friends, beach walks and family time. 

Who was your favourite character to play in a performance?

Recently I performed The Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas and I absolutely loved it! She has this villainous and hateful persona but deep down she is just a vulnerable individual. I loved performing this role and the costumes were fabulous! 


Gerald Peregrine, Cellist

I would usually get up relatively early and heads to the gym for a workout. This is an important part of my daily routine as a string player, as it helps to correct any imbalances and strain put on the body by the performance. It is also essential to counterbalance the stress of performing live.


I would spend part of the day working on administration and taking calls, or preparing for projects. I would also spend a bit of time warming up before the concert. Time allowing, I would try and find time for a nap during the day!


What is your favourite opera?

Anything by Puccini!

What is your favourite song?

I don't have a favourite- I tend to listen to radio pop in the car or talk radio to relax.

Where is your favourite place to get coffee?

I don't drink coffee!

What is your favourite book?

I mostly read history or popular science books.

Did you always want to be an Cellist?

I've been playing music since I was 3, so it's in the DNA.

What does your perfect day off look like?

Lying on a boat somewhere sunny and quiet!


Link to the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival website: