Caught by the throat


THERE are probably worse fates Ifor a finalist in a top singing competition than developing last-minute laryngitis, but there can't be many. Derry mezzo-soprano Doreen Curran had to have an injection to ease up her throat just hours before taking her place in the final but she came through the ordeal to take fourth place and win the hearts of the crowd at the Veronica Dunne competition at the National Concert Hall.

There might not have been an Irish winner but there were plenty of Irish connections - French soprano, Nora Amsellem, for instance, explained that she spent most summers in her younger years in her mother's home town of Falcarragh in Co Donegal., Thrilled with her triumph in Dublin, she goes from the National Concert Hall to the Met in New York where she will be performing with Placido Domingo in Carmen.

The vocal talent wasn't all on stage as renowned international opera star Suzanne Murphy was there to cast her eye over the young pretenders. RTE Radio boss Kevin Healy seemed unconcerned about the Radio Ireland schedule announcement earlier that day as he promenaded with his partner, best selling novelist Deirdre Purcell at the NCH.

Australian competitor Jason Walsey, meanwhile, came a long way to not even reach the final - but he did win the hand of his Irish girlfriend, soprano Angela O'Shea who he married during his stay.