LOOKING BACK, AND GOING FORWARD
The past weeks and months have been busy, and strange. After the triumph of Aida in December came some time off at Christmas - appreciated and very precious time with my father ahead of a packed few months. Little did I realise what was ahead.
My lovely dad Michael passed away on Monday 18th February. He was the very best - the kindest, gentlest, wisest man, an adventurer, an engineer, an out of the box thinker, a genius but most of all a devoted husband to our mam Mary, and the best dad in the world to my sisters, brother and myself. We laid him to rest beside mam in Mayo. We will miss him so much in our lives.
It is because of Dad that I started on this crazy path to a career as a conductor. He bought me my first violin, and encouraged me every day to keep going, even when it meant giving up my secure engineering job to follow this dream. He always said, "Do the gigs - no matter what"
So, while dad was ill, I was up and down to Belfast to conduct Sweeney Todd performances with fabulous cast, crew and outstanding musicians for Northern Ireland Opera. Thank you to everyone for your fantastic support during this time - especially Cathal Synnott who stepped in to conduct three performances brilliantly during the run.
I finished out the run of Sweeney Todd and had a couple of days off before joining rehearsals for Madama Butterfly. The work has become a centre, a focus, and a way of honouring dad's memory.
There are days when the sense of loss is unbearably heavy, but the music keeps me going. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by incredible colleagues and family, and to have the chance to immerse myself in the healing power of great art every day. Life is precious.