ANNE-MARIE KEANEY: SOPRANO – BA Mus, MA, LRSM

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The Irish Times music critic Michael Dervan summed up the talent of Anne-Marie Keaney when he wrote:

“This singer is the loveliest sounding young Irish soprano I’ve heard in quite a while, and she has qualities of musicianly intelligence, too, which ensured that no operatic mannerisms were allowed to stray into her singing.…  The judicious understatement of her style was carried through with great sensitivity and, on the evidence of this concert alone, her future development will be watched with especial interest.”

It all began at the age of six when Anne-Marie won her first vocal competition for Action Song at Feis Shligigh.  As a teenager she travelled fortnightly to Dublin for singing lessons with the late Daniel McNulty, during which time she won numerous vocal competitions in solo singing at Dublin Feis Ceoil and Dublin Feis Maitiu, Sligo Feis Ceoil and Feis Shligigh, Arklow and Kilcoole Feiseanna as well as All-Ireland winner of Scór na nÓg.

Whilst a student at the College of Music Dublin (now the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama), Anne-Marie was the recipient of vocal scholarships as a result of having gained Distinction in her Associated Board Vocal Examinations.  During this period of study, Anne-Marie also won several vocal competitions including six first prizes at the prestigious Dublin Feis Ceoil (Percy Whithead Cup, Charles Wilson Cup, AIMS Trophy, Corn Mhic Cathmhaoil, Mná, Vocal Duet), as well as winner of most of the singing competitions at the Dublin Feis Maitiu (e.g. The Michael O’Higgins Premier Vocal Bursary, Soprano Solo, Oratorio Medal, Gore Cup, Moores Melody Medal), Sligo Feis Ceoil (Oratorio Prize, Song by Italian Composers, Classie Bawn Cup, Soprano Solo Prize, Moores Melodies Cup, Perpetual Challenge Cup) and College of Music, Dublin (French Song Award and Lieder Prize).  Associated Board theory and pianoforte examinations were also undertaken whilst at the college.

During her time in Dublin she became a member of the RTE Chamber Choir (aka The National Chamber Choir) under the directorship of Mr Colin Mawby.  As Soprano 1, Anne-Marie was a regular soloist with this choir, which recorded weekly for FM3 radio as well as preparing for numerous concert engagements.  In 1990 she moved to London to study with David Harper and Britta Sundberg, Sweden.

Anne-Marie has taken part in the Mayer-Lismann Opera Workshop at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Opera Theatre Company’s Baroque Opera Workshop with Jennifer Smith and Marshall Pynkoski in Dublin.  She has also participated in masterclasses given by Geoffrey Parsons, Paul Hamburger, Neil Jenkins, Robin Bowman and Bernadette Greevy.

Anne-Marie has vast experience as a solo performer.  She has performed over fifty oratorio in such places as St. Martin-in-the-Fields, St. Albans Abbey and Southwark

Cathedral, London; Cambridge University; Notre Dame Church, Guernsey, Channel Islands; National Concert Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College Dublin.  Irish choral societies with which she has performed as soloist include: Dun Laoghaire Choral Society, Tallaght Choral Society, Culwick Choral Society, Dublin County Choir, Trinity College Dublin Choral Society, R.T.E. Chamber Choir, Carlow Choral Society, Sligo Orpheus Choir and the Maynooth Alumni Choir.

Venues for concert and recital work as soloist include Belfast’s Waterfront Concert Hall; The R.D.S. Concert Hall, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, John Field Room, National Concert Hall, House of Lords, Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, National Gallery and Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin; University of London and N.U.I. Club, Eaton Square, London.

Anne-Marie’s operatic roles include Susanna/Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro – Mozart); Madame Goldentrill (Der Schauspieldirektor – Mozart); Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail – Mozart); Celidora (L’Oca del Cairo – Mozart); 1st Boy (Die Zauberflöte – Mozart); Gretel/Dew Fairy (Hansel & Gretel – Humperdinck); Mrs Wrighton (The Cryer – J Hook); Maturina (Don Giovanni – Gazzaniga); Bacchis (La Belle Helene – Offenbach); Giannetta (L’Elisir d’Amore – Donizetti) and Emma (King Alfred – Arne).

Before graduating with an honours BA Mus (2001) and honours MA in Performance and Musicology (2003) at N.U.I. Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin Lecturer and The Irish Times music critic Martin Adams reviewed a lunchtime recital given by Anne-Marie at the Bank of Ireland Arts Centre stating ‘…Keaney’s singing had a clear, crystalline tone….  Rather more than most young singers, Keaney understands how to shape a song by inflecting the text, almost as if the words support the music, rather than the other way around.  Her fine diction was in keeping with this, and helped create an atmosphere which held one’s attention at all times.’  In December 2002 Anne-Marie also obtained the prestigious award of Distinction in her Licentiate Diploma to the Royal Schools of Music London (L.R.S.M.) for Vocal Performance.

Anne-Marie has appeared as a soloist on R.T.E. and B.B.C. television as well as R.T.E. 1, FM3 and Lyric FM radio.  She is featured as a soloist on the Christmas cd Joy to the World which is regularly aired on Lyric FM during the festive season.  Upon its release, Lyric FM named this recording ‘cd of the day’ on Christmas Day 2000.

In September 2003 Anne-Marie moved back to Sligo to teach singing and Leaving-Certificate Music (practical and written) privately in her native town.  Anne-Marie subsequently worked with toddlers for a number of years, giving sing and sign music classes at a Sligo crèche (Saints and Scholars) culminating in three consecutive Christmas concerts (2008 – 2010). She recently directed transition year students in the hit musicals ‘Annie’ and ‘Guys ‘n Dolls’.  Anne-Marie has taken part in ‘Music in the Classroom’ as soprano soloist in primary schools on numerous occasions throughout the county of Sligo.  Whilst Anne-Marie enjoys a very successful teaching career, she continues to perform professionally at numerous church weddings and funeral services.  If you would like more information, please contact 087 639 0188 or email: amkeaney@yahoo.co.uk.