Carrickfergus born Carolyn Dobbin, mezzo-soprano and Samling Scholar, began her career as a teacher of Art and Design before commencing the Opera course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama which she completed in 2005 under the tuition of Patricia MacMahon. She also studied part time at the National Opera Studio and completed Opera Theatre Company’s Young Artist Programme in 2006. Carolyn became an Associate Artist at Welsh National Opera for 2010 and was on contract in Switzerland 2012-14 where she performed the roles of Annio in Clemenza di Tito, Flora in La Traviata, Penelope in The return of Ulysees, lidwina in Fraulein Bixel und Herr Glück and Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Bradamante ( Alcina) and the title role of Bizets Carmen. Carolyn returned to the Uk to sing Polina in Pique Dame, Elgars Dream of Gerontius, Emilia in Rossini’s Othello and will sing the title role of Lucretia in ‘ The rape of lucretia‘ and Fatima in Webers Oberon. 2015 includes ‘ The page’ in Salome, Angelina in Cenerentola, Verdi Requiem, a return to Switzerland to sing Dritte Dame and will sing the role of Charlotte in Werther for ETO. 2016 includes concerts in france, a recital with Christopher Glynn, the role of Susuki/ Madama Butterfly in Italy, Penelope in ‘The Return of Ulysses, Amastre in ‘Xerxes’ and ‘Diana’ in Callisto in the UK ( cover).
While a student at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Carolyn’s full Operatic roles performed include Idamante (Idomeneo 2003), Cherubino(Figaro 2004), Squirrel (L’enfant et les sortileges 2003), Dido(Dido and Aeneas 2004) and performed the role ofOttavia (Poppea) in 2005 and roles studied in part are Rosina, Cenerentola, Madam Poppova, Carmen,Octavian and Lucretia. For Castleward Opera Carolyn has sung the roles of Maddalena (Rigoletto 2004),Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor 2002), The Plaintiff (Trial by Jury 2002) and Barbarina ( le nozze di Figaro 2001). Carolyn performed the role of Brautjungfern in Der Freischutz with Sir Charles Mackerras in the Edinburgh Festival and performed scenes with the National Opera Studio accompanied by the Orchestra of Scottish Opera in February 2005. Conducted by Richard Egarr she took part in the Britten-Pears performance of Handels L’allegro and she sang the role of ‘First Witch’ in Dido and Aeneas with his Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Barbican. Carolyn appeared asDorabella in Cosi fan tutte, directed by Sir Thomas Allen in the Samling Foundations inaugural operatic presentation at Gateshead’s new Sage Theatre which was broadcast live on BBC Radio3. She has performed the roles of Lisetta from Haydn’s Il mondo della Luna,Zulma in the Italian girl in Algiers, Concepcion in L’heure Espanole, Chloe in The Shops for the opera group, covered Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor at Scottish Opera,Malcolm from La donna del lago at Garsington opera,Venus and nurse at English National opera and Meg in Falstaff at Welsh National Opera. She also performed the role of Second Lady at Holland Park directed by Simon Callow and conducted by Jane Glover and the role of Nicklaus in The Tales of Hoffmann for Mid Wales opera. In 2009 Carolyn understudied Carmen at the Royal Albert Hall, performed the roles ofDorabella, Prince Orlofsky ( Castleward), Bradamante and Teodata for ETO.
In 2010 Carolyn was Associate Artist at Welsh National Opera and recipient of the Chris Ball and Sir John Moores Award. While there she performed the roles of Mercedes in Carmen and Second Lady in Magic Flute, covered Maddalena in Rigoletto and the title role of Carmen. In 2011, Carolyn covered the role of Orsini at English National Opera, made her debut at the Royal Opera House 2 as Janet in the Drs Tale, written and directed by Monty Pythons Terry Jones and Oscar winner Anne Dudley and made her debut at Grange Park Opera in the role of Maddalena in Rigoletto.
Carolyn also made her debut as ‘Hannah‘ in ‘The Passenger’ at English National Opera in september 2011 and will cover Christine Rice as ‘Nicklausse‘ in Tales of Hoffmann later in 2012. She returns to ENO to sing the role of ‘Scipio‘ in the UK premier of Caligula by Glanert. She also performed the role of ‘Emilia‘ in Othello at Dorset Opera and made her debut In Krakow, Poland singing ‘Andronico’ from Tamerlano in 2012 . Before going on contract to Switzerland performed Meg Page in Falstaff at Holland Park Opera in 2012.
Carolyn has appeared as guest soloist and given recitals throughout the UK and Europe and worked on the sound track for the film ‘Solid Air’ which was premiered at the Edinburgh Festival. Carolyn formed part of a group of musicians called Transfusion including John Wallace and performed a variety of music including De Falla’s Siete Canciones populares Espanolas at the Kilkenny Festival 2003 and again in 2005 with OTC. She has also performed with Patricia MacMahon and the acclaimed accompanist, Malcolm Martineau in a recital in Edinburgh. She sang in Opera Gala concerts in Oslo, Malta, recently at the ClassicFM Two Moors festival, performed Mahler’s Ruckert lieder in Glasgow and Montsalvatge’s Canciones Negrasat Rosemary Street Belfast and St Patricks night at the Ulster Hall. Carolyn sang with the Ulster Orchestra in an Opera Gala evening and gave a recital at Leighton House, Holland Park and performed at the Cadogan Hall, London. She performed Schumanns Maria Stuartin Belfast, Ravels Sheherazade in Oxford, SchumannsFrauenliebe und Lebe at The Classic FM’s Two Moors Festival , and Brahms viola songs in a recital at Edinburgh university, Elgars Sea Pictures and Music Makers at the Lanercost Festival. Carolyn also sang the National anthems at Hampden Park which was televised live on Sky TV. She gave recitals in Belfast, Edinburgh university and Glasgow throughout 2008. and in 2009 she performed Janacek’s The Diary of the one who disappeared, with Paul Nilon and Joanna Macgregor at the Bath Festival and in 2010 with David Soar and James Southall. Carolyn performed a recital for Belfast Music Society with the acclaimed accompanist Ingrid Surgenor in the Harty Room Belfast and performed several Gubbay concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in november 2011. She will sing the alto solos in Elijah under the baton of Nigel Perrin in Exeter Cathedral with Exeter Festival choir and choirs from Rennes France and Hanau Germany this July.
Oratorio performances include Elgars Dream of Gerontius, Vivaldi’s Gloria at Kelvingrove, Mozart’s Requiem in Stirling, Haydn’sHeiligmesse, Handel’s Coronation Anthems, Schubert’s Mass in Bb, The Russian Requiem by Elis Pehkonen with the Aberdeen Bach Choir and Handel’s Messiah with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Usher Hall and again with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and in The Royal Albert Hall and in New York. She also performed St Johns Passionin Glasgow Cathedral, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Schubert’sMagnificat and Mozart’s Solemn Vespers in Scotland, the Maria Theresa Mass by Haydn with the Welsh Chamber Orchestra, Beethoven’s Mass in C under the baton of Nicholas Cleobury and Verdi’s Requiem with the BBC symphony Orchestra, Beethoven 9th with the London Mozart Players in the Cadogan Hall and in the Barbican and Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Nelson Mass in the Houses of Parliament and Beethoven Mass in C with the Ulster Orchestra in the Waterfront Hall. In 2009 she performed the Mozart Requiem at Guilford Cathedral and on Televison and Radio forRTVE in Spain. Recent oratorio performances include Bach B Minor Mass, Verdi Requiem, Elijah, Christmas Oratorio and Messiah in Gloucester Cathedral and in 2012 performed Elgars Dream of Gerontius and Brittens Spring Symphony with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Further oratorios that Carolyn has performed are listed on the repertoire page of this web site.
Carolyn has won many competitions including Gold medal winner at the British Federation of Festivals at Warwick University, the Margaret Dick Competition and was runner up for two years in prestigious Governors’ Prize held at the RSAMD and represented the Academy in the Inter-conservatoire Bruce Millar Competition.
She has taken part in many courses including the prestigious Samling Foundation, Britten-Pears Summer School, British Youth Opera workshop, Opera Plus, London Masterclasses, Hand Made Opera in Italy and Oxenfoord International Summer School which has led to her participation in Masterclasses with Sir Thomas Allen, Philip Langridge, Mary King, Sarah Walker and Della Jones.