Date(s): Friday, 5th December 2008. 11:00 to 12:30 p.m.
To commemorate one of Ireland’s most enduring legends of the operatic stage, Margaret Burke Sheridan (1889-1958) RTÉ lyric fm have just released Un Bel Di an essential collection of digitally remastered recordings of the soprano at her finest.
Born in Castlebar, County Mayo, she was orphaned at the age of eleven yet, by the time she was 29, Margaret Burke Sheridan made a dramatic debut on the professional stage. At four days’ notice, still in vocal training, she was chosen to replace the indisposed soprano as Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème at Rome’s Costanzi
She performed with all the greats, including the tenors Aureliano Pertile and Beniamino Gigli, and conductor Arturo Toscanini, and was coached by Puccini himself. Singing on stages throughout the world, among them Covent Garden, in Milan and Naples, and at the prestigious Carnivale season at Rimini, Margaret Burke Sheridan ultimately retired early due to a combination of tragic personal and professional circumstances. There followed a long and desultory retirement in Dublin where, as one acquaintance noted, she became “an alien among her own, outrageous and witty.” She died on 16th April 1958 and is buried in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.
In 2007, Máire Nic Gearailt celebrated her 25th. Yes, you're right, not her birthday, but 25 years of working in RTÉ Radio, although she has been presenting for longer than that, having sat behind the mic for the first time in 1978 fronting the music programme "Binneas". At that stage she was still teaching in Gaelscoil Chualann in Bray.
Other programmes came her way and she joined RTÉ full time in 1981. She worked as announcer/ presenter initially and became a radio producer in 1989. Over the years she has worked on many programmes as presenter and/or producer on RTÉ Radio 1, 2FM and FM3, the forerunner to Lyric.
She joined RTÉ Lyric fm when the station opened in 1999 and since then has presented the morning programme Lyric Notes. Máire comes from Headford, Co Galway.