Miriam Murphy

In memory and in tribute

We were deeply saddened last weekend to learn of the sudden passing of Miriam Murphy. Mindful that today marks one week since her leaving of this world, we write in memory and in tribute.

Our first thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her mother, Marie, her brother John, her wider family, and her many friends and colleagues, thinking in particular of all those in and around Tralee and the Kerry School of Music, Ronnie (Dr Veronica Dunne) and those who were her very close friends.

Miriam was a beautiful human being, a bright spark full of warmth, soul and fun, and she was an outstanding singer with a magnificent voice. She was an artist in every way and it was our great pleasure to perform with her on several occasions: Wagner, many times, and, amongst others, the Verdi Requiem in 2013, now so poignant to listen to. Miriam made the Liebestod her own and it was always a joy to perform it with her, not least when she sang the full role of Isolde in the 2012 Wide Open Opera production of Tristan and Isolde conducted by Fergus Sheil. Her memorable Liebestod from this production has been rightly shared by many in recent days.

We have been drawn to Miriam’s singing of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, conducted by Matthias Bamert and recorded by RTÉ lyric fm for The Lyric Concert. Little did we know when we rehearsed and performed these beautiful songs in January 2013 that it would be to them that we would turn in memory and in tribute. We share this recording here. Miriam will be greatly missed. May she rest in peace.

“In childhood’s early days,
I often heard tell of angels,
who exchange Heaven’s wondrous bliss
for Earth’s sunshine;
That when in sorrow a fearful heart
languishes, hidden from the world,
wishing quietly to die
and pass away in a stream of tears,
in fervent prayer
pleading only for deliverance,
then the angel flies down
and gently raises it to Heaven.
Yes, an angel descended to me also,
and on shining wings,
far from all woe, it bears
my soul now heavenward!”

Note: On Saturday 1st August at 7pm on RTÉ lyric fm, Opera Night with Paul Herriott will broadcast the Wide Open Opera production of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde starring Miriam Murphy as Isolde and featuring the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fergus Sheil. This broadcast is dedicated to Miriam’s memory.