Lecturer in Voice
Majella Cullagh studied with Maeve Coughlan at the Cork School of Music and continued her training at the prestigious National Opera Studio in London. For many years she worked with renowned coach and technician, Gerald Martin Moore, in New York.
Majella’s career was concentrated on the operatic stage, but she also performed extensively in oratorio and on the concert platform. Her performances have brought her to many of the important houses in Europe, America and as far afield as New Zealand.
Majella’s operatic engagements included Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda (Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona; Dallas Opera; Vlaamse Opera; Royal Swedish Opera; Donizetti Festival, Bergamo; and Grange Park Opera), L’Elisir d’Amore (Royal Danish Opera and Opera Ireland), Don Pasquale (Garsington Festival Opera and Opera Holland Park under the direction of Maestro Richard Bonynge), Linda di Chamounix (Opera de Toulon and Donizetti Festival, Bergamo), Maria di Rohan (Donizetti Festival, Bergamo), Roberto Devereux (Opera Holland Park with Richard Bonynge), and Il Diluvio Universale (Opera St Gallen, Switzerland); Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra (Opera di Verona and Garsington Festival Opera), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Opera de Toulon with Maestro Giuliano Carella) and Le Comte Ory (Glyndebourne On Tour); Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Opera North’s David McVicar production and Regensburg Festival), Così Fan Tutte (Opera di Gran Canaria), Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera North) and La Finta Giardiniera (Garsington Festival Opera and Pagliacci Opera North); Handel’s Amadigi (Covent Garden Festival; Brooklyn Academy of Music; Lisbon and Oporto with Opera Theatre Company); Bizet’s Carmen (Opera North); Tchaikovsky’s Evgenij Onegin (Grange Park Opera); Strauss’s Die Fledermaus (Glyndebourne On Tour); Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg (Teatro di San Carlo, Naples; and Opera North); Verdi’s La Traviata (Glyndebourne On Tour), I due Foscari (Opera St. Gallen) and Alzira (Chelsea Opera Group and Opera St Gallen); Puccini’s La Boheme (Opera Ireland; Glyndebourne Festival Opera; and Royal Albert Hall’s Francesca Zambello production); and Massenet’s Manon (Opera New Zealand).
Her forays into contemporary music include Gavin Bryar’s Medea for BBC Scotland; James Wilson’s A Passionate Man for Trinity College, Dublin; John Adam’s The Death of Klinghoffer for the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; Gerald Barry’s The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival; and David Wallace’s The Judgement of Paris for Cork Orchestral Society.
Something of a bel canto specialist, Majella has given bel canto recitals in La Coruna, Catania, Pesaro, Parma, Stuttgart, Wexford and London. She has sung concert performances of Bellini's Norma ([Adalgisa] Rotterdam); Donizetti’s Poliuto (Concertgebouw, Amsterdam) and Pia de Tolomei (Royal Festival Hall, London); Balfe’s Falstaff (National Concert Hall, Dublin); Rossini’s Adelaide di Borgogna (Edinburgh Festival) and Le Siege de Corinthe (Rossini Festival Bad Wildbad); and Handel's Ariodante (Dublin).
Oratorio performances include Verdi’s Messa di Requiem in Milan, Amsterdam and London; Rossini’s Stabat Mater (Barbican with the BBC Concert Orchestra; and Rossini Festival, Bad Wildbad, conducted by Antonino Fogliani) and La morte di Didone (Concertgebouw Amsterdam); Bach's Mass in B minor (National Concert Hall, Dublin); Haydn's Nelson Mass (National Concert Hall, Dublin); Handel's Messiah (Thessaloniki; Royal Albert Hall, London; Rome); Faure's Requiem (Los Angeles); Mendelssohn's Paulus (Madrid); Bizet's Te Deum (Madrid); Vivaldi's Gloria (Belfast); and Mozart's Requiem (National Concert Hall, Dublin). She has sung Berlioz’s Huit Scenes de Faust in Venice at La Fenice conducted by Jeffrey Tate.
Majella has an impressive discography with over forty recordings on the Opera Rara, Chandos and Naxos labels. Recordings include Wallace’s Maritana and Mendelssohn’s 2nd Symphony for Naxos, Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie and Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the Chandos ‘Opera In English’ series, Mercadante’s Zaira, Donizetti’s Zoraida di Granata, Rossini’s Bianca e Falliero and Mozart's The Supreme Decorator conducted by Sir Charles MacKerras for Opera Rara. Balfe’s Falstaff was recorded live at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, by Opera Ireland; Donizetti’s Il Diluvio Universale was registered on DVD by the St Gallen Festspiele; and Rossini’s Le Siege de Corinthe was recorded live at the Rossini Festival Bad Wildbad on the Naxos label.
Majella returned to her alma mater and received a First Class Honours Taught Masters at Cork School of Music in 2010. She entered the education arena shortly afterwards giving voice lessons first at the Cork Arts Studio and then at the Montfort College of Performing Arts. She has appeared on numerous adjudication panels in London and throughout Ireland. Majella joined the Cork School of Music Vocal Department in 2020.
Majella was also a member of the Board of Directors at Cork Opera House from 2011 to 2021.