Irish president laments Covent Garden soprano

Irish president laments Covent Garden soprano


norman lebrecht

April 06, 2021

The Irish President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to the influential soprano Veronica Dunne, who has died aged 93.

Dunne shot to fame in the early 1950s as a Covent Garden cast member in London, specialising in the roles of Marguerite and Micaela. She returned home after a decade and went on to become a formidable teacher.

President Higgins said: ‘Throughout her life Dr Veronica Dunne captivated millions with her singing. The legacy she leaves lies in the talents of those scores of others whose talents and performances she unlocked with her enthusiasm, energy and commitment as a teacher and friend.

‘Guided by her warmth, passion and energy, she developed the Veronica Dunne Competition from its beginnings in 1995 into one of the foremost international singing competitions in the world. I had the privilege in 2014 of presenting her with the National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award. Sabina and I send our deepest condolences to her family, her many friends, including her former students, and the community of music lovers who will feel her loss so keenly.’



  • James Vaughan says:

    An incalculable loss to the world of music. An inspiration to generations of singers and pianists, her energy and passion belied her age.
    Dear ‘Ronnie’, your warmth and humanity will be deeply missed .

  • AndrewB says:

    One of the finest lyric sopranos of her time with a voice that gained in depth and richness of tone quality. She sings on the recording of the ‘ Irish Ring Cycle’ – Balfe’s The Bohemian Girl, Wallace’s Maritana and Benedict’s Lily of Killarney. Her voice was too rarely recorded commercially. Among notable achievements she sang Euridice to Kathleen Ferrier’s Orfeo at Covent Garden , with Adele Leigh as Amor. A hugely influential teacher whose pupils went on to great success. Ronnie Dunne had a good long life , but she will be missed by so many. RIP Dr Veronica Dunne.