Arts Q&A: Opera singer Aoife Miskelly on travel, The Dixie Chicks and TV box sets

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, operatic soprano Aoife Miskelly

Northern Ireland soprano Aoife Miskelly

1. When did you think about singing as a career and what were your first steps into it?

I grew up immersed in music and always, always wanted to sing, but never intended to pursue opera as a career. Upon graduating with a music degree, specialising in cello performance, I was employed by the then National Chamber Choir of Ireland for three years. I was advised to audition for vocal postgraduate courses and gained a place at the Royal Academy of Music in London. There I discovered how much I enjoyed being on stage, portraying differing character types and thus my love for the job began.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

Mark Rylance in Richard III at The Globe Theatre in London 2012; Adele in the Lanxess Arena, Cologne in May 2016; Randy Newman at the Royal Festival Hall in London 2012 and Eddi Reader at the Open House Festival in Bangor in 2013.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

The Dixie Chicks.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island?

Dixie Chicks or Alison Krauss and Union Station.

5. And the book?

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

6. Top three films?

I tend to binge watch a good TV series rather than watch movies. I love House of Cards, The News Room and Homeland.

7. Worst film?

No idea.

8. Favourite authors?

Maya Angelou, Seamus Heaney and Bill Bryson.

9. Sports you most enjoy?

Tennis (playing), rugby (watching) and golf – my mum is Lady Captain of Cushendall Golf Club this year.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

I am currently working in Japan on A Midsummer Night's Dream and will visit the old ancient capital Kyoto in the coming days and stay in a traditional Japanese inn. Driving the Pacific Northwest of America is also on my wish list as well as Sri Lanka and the Baltic States.

11. Pet hate?


12. What's your favourite:

Dinner: A tasty Thai curry.

Dessert: My mum's homemade apple and blackberry tart with a dollop of Maud's honeycomb ice cream.

Drink: Gin and tonic

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

Joanna Forte from school days and Anne McCambridge, lifelong friends since we met in the soprano section of the Ulster Youth Choir ahem, 15 years ago.

14. Is there a God?


:: Aoife Miskelly will be performing at the BBC Radio 3 Invitation Recital at St Patrick's Church of Ireland, Glenarm, on Saturday August 27 at 8pm. The recital is just one event in Northern Ireland Opera's Festival of Voice at Glenarm, Co Antrim, August 26-28. For full programme visit


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