Romance on the agenda in Finbar’s Pavarotti tribute

Romantic souls, who have had their spirits fired up by Valentine’s Day this weekend, can continue to enjoy themselves on Friday, February 21 when Cork tenor, Finbar Wright will perform Italian love songs at the City’s Town Hall Theatre.

The event is Finbar’s tribute to the late, great Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti, who, early in Finbar’s career, advised the young Corkman to stay away from the grand operatic arias and to focus on songs from the Italian tradition such as O Solé Mio, Arrivederci Roma, Nessun Dorma and Volare.

“I do believe he was right,” says Finbar now. “They are wonderfully written and train your voice without you having to put too much effort into it. And they are glorious songs.”

As one of Ireland’s best-known tenors, Finbar Wright has performed for world leaders including Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, and shared stages with singers such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Jerry Lee Lewis. He even recorded an official soccer anthem for Arsenal in 1998, when he was recording in London and was overheard by someone involved with the club. That event came about by chance, and it was a long time ago, but he’s never been let forget it, he says with a laugh.

Finbar, who was a priest for seven years, also performed as soloist during Pope John Paul II’s Mass in Phoenix Park during the 1979 papal visit. At that time he was Senior Cantor in Maynooth College, having had been involved in music since childhood, including a two-year period in Spain as a student priest, when he had immersed himself in Spanish music.

His love affair with music began when he was six years old – he credits his “lovely piano teacher, Maura Hourihane” for creating that passion.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.