Ramsgate singer joins cast for debut performance by new Kent Chamber Opera

Cathy Robinson (playing the part of Mercedes), Terry John Bates (Artistic Director), Marina Ivanova (playing the part of Frasquita) Photo by Andrew Waltham

A Ramsgate resident who ditched a career working in hotels to pursue her love of classical singing will be treading the boards this month for the debut production by the new Kent Chamber Opera.

Cathy Robinson takes the role of Mercedes in the forthcoming production of Carmen – Her Life and Loves.

The company’s inaugural production, under the leadership of artistic director Terry John Bates, is set during the Spanish Civil War with Don Jose awaiting execution. The scenes are built around his memories of his life.

The production will feature an eight-piece orchestra performing a newly-created musical arrangement under the directorship of Marius Reklaitis, Director of Kent Philharmonic Orchestra.

Photo by Andrew Waltham

Cathy is currently taking part in rehearsals and said: “It is very exciting to see it all come together.

“I haven’t been on a stage for 18 months so now, after covid, it is wonderful.”

Cathy, who moved to Ramsgate from Peterborough some 20 years ago, decided to pursue a music career when she was 27.

She said: “I wanted to go back to singing, which was something I did as a kid. I got a singing teacher, went to college and university and did my masters at the University of West London.

“I worked with musical director Marius previously, running a community choir together locally.

“He got involved in the Kent Chamber Opera project and invited me to play the role of Mercedes. Kent Chamber Opera is brand new and it is the first time I have been in an opera company.”

Indyana Schneider (playing Carmen), Marina Ivanova (playing Frasquita), Cathy Robinson (playing Mercedes) Photo Andrew Waltham

The Carmen performance will be staged in Canterbury, Deal and Sandwich and Cathy says the venues make the opera production accessible to all.

The 42-year-old said: “Opera somewhere that is accessible to people in the local area is really good as lots of people would not have access to somewhere like the Royal Opera House in London so it can quite often feel out of reach and a bit elitist. With this you are getting that performance and direction from professionals but on your doorstep and that’s wonderful.”

Since receiving her Masters in Music and being awarded Fellow of the London College of Music in Classical Singing, Cathy has frequently performed internationally as soloist for choral societies and choirs.

She is a member of The Canterbury Voices and has worked as a vocal coach and teacher for more than 10 years as well as using music therapy projects to promote the benefits of singing for health and wellbeing in hospitals, children’s homes, prisons and care homes. Recently she has been collaborating on breathing sessions for long Covid sufferers.

The aim of Kent Chamber Opera is to bring high quality opera productions to smaller Kent venues.

Carmen- Her Life and Loves will be staged at:
Great Hall, Kent College, Canterbury Festival
, Sunday, 17 October, 7pm

St. Mary’s Arts Centre, Sandwich, Saturday, 30 October, 7.30pm

Astor Theatre, Deal, Sunday, 31 October, 3pm

Find out more about Kent Chamber Opera and how to get involved by clicking here