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Catherine Backhouse (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish mezzo-soprano, Catherine Backhouse, grew up in Edinburgh and began singing as a chorister in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. She graduated with an honours degree in music from The University of Durham and has completed the prestigious Opera Studies and Artist Diploma programmes at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London with distinction (November 2015). Her Artist Diploma at Guildhall was supported by Sophie’s Silver Lining Trust, The Oldhurst Trust, The Worshipful Company of Plaisterer’s and The Kathleen Trust. While at Guildhall she played Cherubino in W.A. Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Jean in Le Portait de Manon by Massenet, Eva in Comedy on the Bridge by Martinu, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Soeur Anne in Francis Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites and Mabel/Nurse Wallace in Unknown Doors with Iain Burnside. She received the tutelage and guidance of John Evans, Eugene Asti, Peter Robinson, Audrey Hyland, Dominic Wheeler, Clive Timms, Lada Valesova and Liz Rowe.

Before focusing on solo singing and opera Catherine Backhouse spent three years touring the world as a member of professional a cappella group Voces8 and also worked with the BBC Singers, Polyphony (Director: Stephen Layton), Philharmonia Voices and London Voices (Director: Terry Edwards).

Catherine Backhouse was a 2014 Britten-Pears Young Artist and played the role of Kate Julian in a new production of Benjamin Britten's Owen Wingrave at the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh International Festivals to critical acclaim. In 2015 her debuts included Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos with Opera Project at West Green House, Solo Fairy in Felix Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Garsington Opera and covering Louhi in Swanhunter for Opera North.

Other operatic highlights include Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus at Clonter Opera, the title role in Ravel's L’Enfant et les Sortilèges in the Barbican, Flora in La Traviata with Opera South, and Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea at the Ryedale Festival. Previous roles performed are Mezzo Actor in Judith Weir’s A Night at the Chinese Opera with British Youth Opera, Rossweisse in Die Walküre at the St Endellion Festival, Ino in George Frideric Handel's Semele and Sesto in W.A. Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito for Hampstead Garden Opera.

An enthusiast of new music, Catherine Backhouse has performed György Kurtág's Messages of the Late R.V.Troussova, Mariko in Tokaido Road by Nicola LeFanu, Ronald Reagan in The Catfish Conundrum by Edward Lambert, Flat Pack: An Opera in IKEA by Tom AZ Lane and Let Evening Come by Bolcom.

On the concert platform Catherine Backhouse has appeared as a soloist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the St Magnus Festival on Orkney, sung J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) with Ludus Baroque, G.F. Handel's Messiah with Dunedin Consort, F. Mendelssohn's Elijah in Dartington, J.S. Bach's St John Passion (BWV 245) with the UK Japan Music Society and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the South London Singers. Her recital work has featured Edward Elgar's Sea Pictures, Robert Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben, Wagner's Wesendonk Lieder, Gustav Mahler's Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen and B. Britten's Cabaret Songs.

Source: Catherine Backhouse Website
Contributed by Aryeh Oron (February 2017)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Stephen Layton


Member of Polyphony:
V-1 (2012):
BWV 245

Links to other Sites

Catherine Backhouse - Mezzo Soprano (Oficial Website)
Catherine Backhouse Answers (Guildhall School of Music & Drama)

Catherine Backhouse (Music International)
Catherine Backhouse (Signum ARecords)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Sunday, May 28, 2017 15:57