Best known outside of Ireland as John McDermott's replacement in the Irish Tenors, Finbar Wright was by that time already a well-liked interpreter of both classical and popular repertory in his homeland. Wright was born September 26, 1957, in Kinsdale, County Cork, and raised on a farm in Ballinspittle; part of a large musical family, he began piano lessons at age six. By age 16, he decided his path lay in the priesthood, and was ordained at age 22. Four years later, he finally began his vocal training in earnest, studying at the Cork School of Music. He won several awards at Dublin's prestigious Feis Ceoil singing festival in 1986, and feeling that his commitment to the priesthood had been waning for some time, he left the clergy in 1987 and stepped up his musical studies. After appearing in Don Giovanni at the Wexford Opera Festival, he turned professional in 1989, giving recitals around Ireland and appearing with several orchestras. Beginning with 1991's Because, Wright released a series of recordings that combined opera and oratorio, Irish ballads, and contemporary pop, and made him progressively more popular in Ireland. In fact, his second album, 1992's Whatever You Believe, topped the Irish charts thanks to the songs' exposure on Music of the Night, the TV show Wright hosted. 1993's live A Tribute to John McCormack, 1995's Lift the Wings, and 1997's I Give My Heart were all successful as well. Invited to participate in the original incarnation of the Irish Tenors, Wright had to decline the offer due to contractual obligations. But when John McDermott departed in 2000 prior to a scheduled tour, Wright was able to step in and fill his shoes as a permanent member, appearing on all of the group's recordings since.
Share this page