Mezzo-soprano Catherine Backhouse grew up in Edinburgh and began singing as a chorister in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. She graduated with an honors 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 with distinction.
Catherine was a 2014 Britten-Pears Young Artist and played the role of Kate Julian in a new production of Britten’s OWEN WINGRAVE at the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh International Festivals to critical acclaim. Operatic highlights include Prince Orlofsky in DIE FLEDERMAUS at Clonter Opera, the title role in Ravel’s L’EFANT ET LES SORTILÈGES at the Barbican and Monteverdi’s L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA at the Ryedale Festival, Rossweisse in DIE WALKÜRE at the St Endellion Festival, Ino in Handel’s SEMELE and Sesto LA CLEMENZA DI TITO for Hampstead Garden Opera, Donizetti’s LA FAVORITE, Philomen in Gluck PHILEMON AND BAUCIS (UK Premiere) and Pallas in Arne THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS with Bampton Classical Opera, Dryad in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS with Opera Project at West Green House and Solo Fairy in Mendelssohn’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM with Garsington Opera/RSC, Mezzo Actor in Judith Weir’s A NIGHT AT THE CHINESE OPERA with British Youth Opera. While at Guildhall she played Cherubino in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Jean in LE PORTRAIT DE MANON by Massenet, Eva in COMEDY ON THE BRIDGE by Martinu, Hippolyta in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, Soeur Anne in DIALOGUE DES CARMÉLITES and Mabel/Nurse Wallace UNKNOWN DOORS with Iain Burnside. Catherine has also covered Louhi in SWANHUNTER for Opera North and Idamante IDOMENEO for Garsington Opera.
An enthusiast of new music, Catherine has performed Kurtág’s MESSAGES OF THE LATE R.V. TROUSSOVA, Mariko in TOKAIDO ROAD by Nicola LeFanu, Jan in JAN TAIT AND THE BEAR by Emily Doolittle, Ronald Reagan in THE CATFISH CONUNDRUM by Edward Lambert, FLAT PACK: AN OPERA IN IKEA by Tom Lane. On the concert platform she has appeared as a soloist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the St Magnus Festival on Orkney, sung Bach’s CHRISTMAS ORATORIO with Ludus Baroque, Handel’s MESSIAH with Dunedin Consort, Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH in Dartington, Bach’s ST JOHN PASSION with the UK Japan Music Society and Rossini’s PETITE MESSE SOLENNELLE with the South London Singers. Her recital work has featured Elgar’s SEA PICTURES, Schumann’s FRAUENLIEBE UND LEBEN, Wagner’s WESENDONK LIEDER, Mahler’s LIEDER EINES FAHRENDEN GESELLEN and Britten’s CABARET SONGS. She also performs programmes for voice, viola and piano with her group The Amalie Trio.
In 2017 performances include 3rd Lady DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE for Mid Wales Opera and Annina LA TRAVIATA for Scottish Opera, who she joins for the rest of 17/18 season as an emerging artist.