My Weekend: It wouldn't feel like summer without a festival

Cork soprano Emma Nash takes part in the Cork Midsummer Festival
My Weekend: It wouldn't feel like summer without a festival

Cork soprano Emma Nash

TELL us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Douglas and caught the stage bug early, performing in pantomimes and with choirs, and encouraging (forcing!) my siblings to create little plays and musicals for various family members.

Singing was always my favourite performing medium and when I discovered the voice could be trained to sing opera I was hooked.

I studied with my wonderful teacher, Suzanne Murphy, at The Royal Welsh College of Music and, since then, I have been enjoying a freelance career as an opera singer.

During the Covid-19 pandemic I was lucky enough to participate in some digital performances, including the critically acclaimed 20 Shots of Opera the with Irish National Opera and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and A Diva Christmas live from Cork Opera House.

This month I am extremely grateful to be participating in the Cork Midsummer Festival 2021. It wouldn’t feel like summer without it!

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Well, for the last few months it has been spent debating what take-away myself and my housemates will get, but this Friday we’re looking forward to heading to a REAL-LIFE restaurant together.

I can’t wait to soak up the incredible atmosphere in the city. I’m so impressed with the way Cork restaurants and bars have adapted to outdoor dining.

Cork soprano Emma Nash, who is performing in The Day-Crossing Farm, as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival.
Cork soprano Emma Nash, who is performing in The Day-Crossing Farm, as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival.

Lie ins or up with the lark... which is it for you?

Up with the singing lark! I find I’m most productive in the morning and I’ve recently started running. When the sun shines, it’s just the best way to start the day.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

This isn’t a job where you come home from an office, put your feet up and forget about what you did during the day. You carry your instrument around with you all the time, it’s in your throat and, sometimes, you don’t get a ‘weekend’.

Recently I’ve been spending my weekends learning Peter Power’s score for The Day-Crossing Farm by Marie Brett, which I’m singing in as part of Cork Midsummer Festival 2021.

If money was no object, where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

I would go straight to Brooklyn in New York City to see my gorgeous sister, and I would bring my parents and brother (who is stuck in Australia) with me. It’s been over two years since we were all together, but I’m excited to be reunited with them soon.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

Oh wow, there are so many! The staycations I have booked this summer are Schull in West Cork, a few days on Inis Mór and a trip to my dear friend Majella Cullagh’s mobile home in Camp, Co Kerry.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Yes, my favourite Saturday morning activity is strolling down to Douglas Farmers’ Market to catch up with friends over nut burgers, coffee and sometimes a cake pop.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I absolutely love going to the gym. It’s so great for my mental health and keeps me fit for running around the stage! Physical workouts are as important as vocal ones.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the former, do you have a signature dish?

I do love to entertain, but the problem is I’m not a great cook. I’m getting better though. I’ve cooked for my friends a few times and managed not to poison them… yet. I’ll keep the entertaining for the stage!

We have so many places to eat out in Cork, where are your go-to spots for coffee/lunch/special meal?

Filter, for coffee, Market Lane for lunch and Elbow Lane for a special meal (steak). Looking forward to visiting them all soon.

Sunday night comes around too fast. How do you normally spend it?

I usually spend Sunday winding down and getting ready for the week ahead. I still get that Glenroe fear! This Sunday I travel to Dublin to start work on a new opera with the Irish National Opera, so I will probably have some ‘first day of school’ nerves.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

My alarm is usually set for 8.30am and snoozed numerous times. I think that’s early, but my housemate, who leaves for work at 6.30am, disagrees. Opera singers need lots of sleep!


Cork soprano Emma Nash performs in The Day-Crossing Farm by Marie Brett as part of Cork Midsummer Festival.

Tickets for the online stream can be booked at

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