Fionnuala McCarthy is an Irish born soprano whose background as an aspiring cellist in Johannesburg, South Africa was sidetracked upon receiving a scholarship at the Music Conservatory in Detmold, Germany. She rapidly secured a contract with the National Theater Mannheim where she remained for two years before committing to the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. Here her operatic career began to flourish and she hasn’t looked back at her cello since.
A guest contract in 1993 at the Komische Oper Berlin portraying the roles of Suor Angelica and Nedda brought her a contract with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, a member of whose ensemble she has remained since 1994.
Fionnuala is an established concert singer with a vast repertoire that spans Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions, Mendelssohn’s Elias and Paulus, Verdi’s Requiem, Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and Mahler Symphony No.2, Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (Deutsche Oper Berlin with Francisco Araiza and later in Harry Kupfer’s production at the Komische Oper), Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Marzelline in Fidelio, and the Vixen in Janacék’s The Cunning Little Vixen in Katharina (Thalbach’s much acclaimed spectacle), among many others.
Fionnuala has participated in numerous international festivals; from Schwetzingen’s world premiere of the opera Sansibar by Eckehard Mayer to Festival de Radio France et Montpellier’s La Finta Giardiniera by Mozart. During the Hamburger Opernwoche she interpreted Micaela in Carmen with Agnes Baltsa and Neil Shicoff. In Vienna she portrayed Pamina in Festival Schloss Schönbrunn’s The Magic Flute – the role of which marked her debut at the Vienna State Opera.
Between 2006-2008, Fionnuala was contracted by the Bayreuther Festspiele to sing Woglinde in Rheingold and Götterdämmerung in a production of Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen under the musical direction of Christian Thielemann. A CD-recording of this production was released in 2009.
This acclaimed soprano has made many guest appearances in international opera houses such as Vienna’s Volksoper in which she portrayed Eva in a production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg, directed by Christine Mielitz. She subsequently performed the same role in La Monnaie in Brussels and in Antwerp. At Le Grand Théatre de Genève she accomplished her first Fiordiligi under the musical direction of Phillippe Jordan, later singing the role at the Dresdner Semperoper.
In 2009 her CD-recording of Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem in a version for piano and timpani was released by Glor Classics. Also released by Glor Classics in 2011 was her recording of Strawinsky’s Les Noces, conducted by Sylvain Cambreling. Her latest LP-CD recording was released in May 2011 by ACOUSENCE records, together with the Horenstein Ensemble, featuring 3 songs by Vaughan Williams entitled Merciless Beauty.
Beyond her gifted operatic talent lies an attuned psyche which imbues her performances with a transcendent quality and inspires her pupils to reach beyond just the vocal cords to their soulful “voice”. Synchronistory is yet another context in which Fionnuala’s extensive “voice” finds further expression.