music in fermanagh

Performer Profiles

Carolyn Dobbin (mezzo soprano)

Music in Fermanagh
June 2023

Carrickfergus born, Northern Irish mezzo-soprano and Samling Foundation Scholar, Carolyn Dobbin, trained on the Opera Theatre Company Young Artist Programme in Dublin and at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.

In opera, Carolyn Dobbin has worked with numerous companies including Irish National Opera, Dorset Opera Festival, English National Opera, Grange Park Opera, English Touring Opera, Northern Ireland Opera, Castleward Opera, Stadttheater Bern (Switzerland), Mid Wales Opera, Opera Della Luna, Opera Holland Park, Opera Theatre Company, The Opera Group, Raymond Gubbay Ltd and Welsh National Opera. Her repertoire includes Chloe / All That Money Can Buy, the title role in Carmen, Alisa / Lucia di Lammermoor, Miss Catchall / Vera of Las Vegas, Bradamante / Alcina, Teodata / Flavio, Lisetta / Il mondo della luna, Dorabella / Così fan tutte, Zweite Dame / Die Zauberflöte, Idamante / Idomeneo, Nicklaus / Les contes d’Hoffmann, Dido and First Witch / Dido and Aeneas at the Barbican, Ottavia / L’incorazione di Poppea, Cherubino / Le nozze di Figaro, Irene / Theodora, Concepcion / L’heure Espagnole, Orlofsky / Die Fledermaus, Meg Page / Falstaff, Maddalena / Rigolettoand Flora Bervoix / La Traviata.

In 2010, Carolyn Dobbin was a WNO Associate Artist and the recipient of the WNO Chris Ball Bursary and Sir John Moores Award. She sang the roles of Mercedes / Carmen and Zweite Dame / Die Zauberflöteas well as covering the title role in Bizet’s Carmen and Maddalena / Rigoletto.

Other stage performances include Janet / The Doctor’s Tale for ROH Linbury and Scipio / Caligula and Hannah / The Passengerboth for English National Opera; Andronico / Tamerlano for Capella Cracoviensis; Meg Page / Falstaff for Opera Holland Park; Emilia / Otello for Dorset Opera; and Maddalena / Rigoletto for Grange Park Opera, Irene / Theodora with the Hannover band. 

In concert Carolyn Dobbin has performed Handel’s Messiah with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Mozart Requiem at London’s Royal Festival Hall and for RTVE Madrid; Beethoven 9th Symphony at the Barbican Hall, London; Classical Spectacular for Raymond Gubbay Ltd and Messiah, under the baton of Sir David Willcocks, both at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Further appearances include Janacek’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared at the Bath International Festival 2009 with Paul Nilon and Joanna MacGregor.

Carolyn Dobbin has collaborated in concert and opera performances with conductors including Richard Bonynge, Stephen Barlow, Nicholas Cleobury, Sir Richard Armstrong, Richard Egarr, Jane Glover, Paul Hillier, Ryan Wigglesworth, Simon Ible, Stephen Kovacevich, Sir Charles Mackerras, Takuo Yuasa Anthony Negas, Thomas Zehetmair, and appearances with the City of London Sinfonia, Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orquesta Sinfónica de Radio Televisión Española, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ten Tors Chamber Orchestra, Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and the Ulster Orchestra.

Carolyn Dobbin was a member of the Solo Ensemble of Luzerner Theater, Switzerland, (2012-2014) where her roles included Penelope / Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Annio / La clemenza di Tito (a co-production with the Lucerne Festival), Tisbe / La cenerentola, Lidwina / Fraulein Bixel und Herr Glück, Flora Bervoix / La traviata, Bradamante / Alcina, and the title role in Bizet’s Carmen.
During the period of her Swiss residency Carolyn Dobbin also débuted as Annina and Flora Bervoix / La Traviata at Stadttheater Bern.

Carolyn Dobbin’s radio broadcasts include Così fan tutte (Samling Foundation) and Glanert’s Caligula at ENO for BBC Radio 3. Additionally, Carolyn Dobbin’s discography includes recordings of Lynne Plowman’s Cries Like Silence with the London Mozart Players , conducted by Nicolae Moldoveanu on Avie CD, and the Luzerner Theater Swiss-German Kinderoper Fraulein Bixel und Herr Glück. She has made appearances on BBC Ulster radio singing Handel arias and songs by northern Irish composers and with the Ulster Orchestra on BBC TVs St Patrick’s night concert. 

In 2014 Carolyn Dobbin returned to the UK where she has subsequently performed the role of Polina in Tchaikowsky’s Pique Dame for Grange Park Opera, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in Portsmouthand Emilia in a concert version of Rossini’s Otello at the Buxton Festival. Carolyn Dobbin also performed the title role in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for the newly-established IYO, under the musical direction of Stephen Barlow at the Wexford Opera House, Fatima in Weber’s Oberon and The Page in Strauss’ Salome for Northern Ireland Opera, The Verdi RequiemAngelina in La Cenerentola Ditte Dame in Die Zauberflöte in Switzerland, made her debut with Opera North in The Devils Juke-box, Proms Concert under the baton of Stuart Stratford and performed the role of Charlotte in Werther for ETO.

In 2016 Carolyn Dobbin performed Amastre in Xerxes, Penelope in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria,  Susuki in Madama Butterfly in Italy,  and performed in ‘A Tribute to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’ a recital in London with Christopher Glynn. 
In 2017 /18, Carolyn performed  Madam Popova in The Bear, Dritte Dame in The Magic Flute,  recorded the role of Madalein in a CD of the rare opera Raymond and Agnes by Richard Loder conducted by Richard Bonynge, performed the role of Mother Bear in a dark version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Vahan Salorian for the Opera Story. 

In 2018 carolyn sang the role of Mary in Der fliegende HOlländer for Longborough Opera festival, performed in an opera Gala at Opera Holland Park for SWAP’ra and covered roles in War and Peace for WNO , Carolyn recorded Ethel Smyths opera Fête Galante in the autumn of 2018 with Odaline de la Martinez.

In 2019 she performed the role of Smeton in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at Longborough Festival Opera and performed Fenena in Verdi’s Nabucco and Alisa in Lucia Di Lammermoor for Dorset Opera Festival, performed the role of Mrs Peachum in Mrs Peachum school for love and marriage, as well as recitals, one of which is in the Houses of Parliament. 2020 brings her debut with Irish National Opera as the Witch in Humperdincks Hansel and Gretel plus a couple of other online operas during lockdown, one with INO written by Conor Mitchell called Message for Marty, another Auschwitz lovers by filip Holacky for Opera Harmony, shown on opera vision world wide and NIOpera ‘Northern Songs’ video at Dunluce castle.

In 2021 she performed Mrs Peachums Guide to Love and Marriage, performed in the award winning film, 'Old Friends and Other Days’ by NI opera and causeway pictures and sang Siegrune in Die Walküre at Longborough and recitals with pianist Ruth McGinley. In 2022 she will perform in the new Ulster Touring Operas inaugural opera tour, perform Alexander’s Feast by Handel for le Foyer des Artistes, perform in composer Conor Mitchell’s new opera, sing the role of Mary in Der Fliegende Holländer with Sir Bryn Terfel at Grange Park Opera and the role of Cuniza in Verds first opera , Oberto for Chelsea Opera Group , London

Carolyn established the Northern Irish Song Project which has seen her collect and record songs by Norther Irish composers such as Hamilton Harty (the first person to record his songs) , Charles Wood (also the first person to record his songs), Joan Trimble and Howard Ferguson for many years. She has also had new song cycles written for her by contemporary Northern Irish composers and as a result of this project she has collaborated with Delphian Records and Iain Burnside to produce and launch her first cd Calen-o  at The Ludlow English Song Weekend and also in Belfast. She also exhibited her paintings of these composers and the scenes of where the songs are about alongside these recitals.