It was with huge sorrow I learned of the untimely death of the naturally gifted talent, and fine and generous human being, that was our much loved Cara O’Sullivan. In the past number of years, due to the early onset of dementia, she has been a major loss to all her devoted followers and to music at local, national and international level. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.
Her professional career is well documented elsewhere and so I do not intend to dwell on the extent of her varied concert and operatic performances, and the many accolades she justifiably received throughout her career. I do, however, have so many personal memories of her - accompanying her at funerals, various solo performances with my choirs, and particularly her last major concert at the Festival in 2017 where she sang the soprano solo in Verdi's Requiem as powerfully and exquisitely as ever. Her singing of the closing Libera Me remains, and will remain, with me as a memory of her depth of interpretive understanding and sublime vocal skills. I was also present for her final public appearance at the Lord Mayor's Christmas Concert in 2018. It was clear at that concert that she was not the force of old, but supported by her dear friends Mary Hegarty and Majella Cullagh, still managed to communicate to us all her special qualities of voice and personality which had so endeared her to us all over the years. She will be very much missed. A true Diva but a Diva with her feet firmly planted in the real world of the ordinary person.
What is less well known is that, apart from her singing, Cara and her family had a long association with the Choral Festival. Her father, Donal, a charismatic man with a vibrant personality, was a staunch supporter as a volunteer for many years. He was a Fáilteóir and as such he acted as a Welcomer for visiting international choirs. One of the choirs he was most involved with was the Bulmershe Girls Choir from Reading in England. Cara would have been an active companion of his in this work and regaled us on many occasions with colourful incidents of his involvement with this and other choirs.
All her friends at the “Choral Festival” offer our deepest sympathies to her daughter Christine, her siblings Aoife, Nuala, and Jim, and her extended family on her passing. She was a special person agus ní fheicfear a leithéid arís. Solas na bhFlaitheas go raibh aici I measc na naomh.
Cork International Choral Festival