Stop that tenoring Colm Toibin, you’re a bass

cover of BrooklynNews – Colm Toibin is a bass and not afraid to burst into song as festival goers found out at the opening last night. He said he did it to “break the monotony of the reading”. We talked a bit more about his venture into singing when he joined a choir in New York, and how his experiences there may be the nucleus of a new novel. But a word of warning. I went into a technological death spin with the recording and Richard was only able to salvage a flavour.

A brief summary is that he was intrigued by the experience of a new vocal identity and he also had been listening to an American singer Lorraine Hunt Lieberson who changed from a soprano to a mezzo soprano during her career, so he is writing about a woman who joins a choir and finds her voice changing.

His experiences do appear in his novels. A classic is the two cats who live on top of the dresser in the Blackwater Lightship. Garrick and Charlie are based on two cats he observed while staying in a house in Newfoundland. He admits to being a little bit of a people watcher and some scenes will stay in his mind and perhaps appear in his writing.

I asked the library question, and the Wexford Library of his teenage years provided a place where he could read widely and explore literature with the help of two kindly librarians, friends of his aunt, who made him feel special and welcome.

If you haven’t already, explore the writing of this lovely, humorous man whose writing is delightful.

One thought on “Stop that tenoring Colm Toibin, you’re a bass

  1. Laraine 15 May 2010 / 6:51 am

    Fascinating, Marion. Hunt Liberson was a lovely singer, though I have only one of her recordings. And did you know Kiri started off as a mezzo? The only time I ever saw her in the flesh she was probably not much more than 17-18 and she sang Una Voce Poco Fa. That was at the art gallery–a free concert. Pettine Ann Croul also sang The Bell Song from Lakme. But I’m off topic. Colin’s book sounds like something I should look out for. Thanks.

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