Obituary: Soprano Veronica Dunne Dies at 93

By Francisco Salazar

Soprano and music teacher Veronica Dunne has died at the age of 93.

Born in Dublin on August 2, 1927, Dunne began her vocal studies at the age of 12 under Hubert Rooney and went on to study in Rome in the 1940s to study with Soldini Calcagni and Francesco Calcatelli.

She made her operatic debut in 1948 with the Dublin Grand Opera Society singing Michaëla in “Carmen” and in 1952 made her Italian debut at the Concorso Lirico Milano which she won. That would lead her to her debut as Mimì in Leoncavallo’s “La bohème” at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan. That was followed by her debut at the Royal Opera House where joined the company and made her debut as Sophie in “Der Rosenkavalier.” Many leading roles would follow with the house.

Dunne would eventually become a leading figure at the Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, and the Wexford Opera. She also performed in a number of broadcasts with RTÉ and the BBC and made recordings with EMI, including the first recording of The Irish Ring.

Outside of the standard repertoire, Dunne was involved in the world premieres of such works as “Never to Have Lived is Best” by Seóirse Bodley and Irish Songs and The Táin by James Wilson.

In 1961 she began teaching at the Dublin Institute of Technology College of Music and then moved to the Leinster School of Music and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Dunne slowly limited her performances and in 1973 retired from the stage. She eventually became a founding member of the Friends of the Vocal Arts in Ireland, which was established to financially assist vocal students in Ireland and established the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition.

In 1987 she received an honorary doctorate from UCD and became a life member of the Royal Dublin Society. In 2002 she returned to the stage for the Countess in Tchaikovsky’s “Pique Dame” at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin

In 2014 she was awarded the National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award. Dunne would continue to teach and would be a leading presence in the opera world for 60 years and is credited with teaching almost every major Irish classical singer.

Dunne was married to Peter McCarthy and had two children.