Artist of the Week 17 Qs for Carolyn Sproule

by | May 22, 2024 | Artist of the Week, Featured, News

The Artist of the Week is Canadian mezzo soprano Carolyn Sproule. She is currently preparing the role of Kate Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center, running July 12 -21 ( info and tickets here).

Carolyn has had an exceptionally busy few seasons with performances with Pacific Opera Victoria as Carmen,  The Metropolitan Opera to sing Third Lady in The Magic Flute,  the Canadian Opera Company as the Page in Salome, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma as Pobehlice in Janacek’s From the House of the Dead, and debuting in Finland at the Savonlinna Opera Festival as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette. Other past performances have included the titular role in Houston Grand Opera’Carmen,  Varvara in Kát’a Kabanová  with Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in Andrea Breth’s new production of Salome.

This week Carolyn sat down with us to share who inspires her to sing, how she views success, and how mediation and yoga has transformed her life and how she approaches her singing. Read on to find out more.

What/who inspired you to sing?  
Maria Callas singing Casta Diva. I remember hearing this recording one evening when I was maybe 13 and was mesmerized. I played it over and over on repeat for a couple of hours, and from that moment I knew I wanted to sing opera.

Drink of choice?
Gin and Tonic. In a perfect world, with Monkey 47 and Fever Tree.

Favourite city that you’ve worked in?
I can’t decide between Vancouver and Rome. I adore the hiking surrounding Vancouver and have always felt so lucky to get to balance work with restful time in nature when I’ve had the opportunity to work here. Rome is epic and also totally crazy. I love the energy of the city, the beauty of it, the history, the people.

Top 3 favourite composers
Verdi, Janáček, Mahler

Which opera role do you want to be singing right now?

Who is a singer you admired from the past?
Christa Ludwig.

Which role do you wish you could sing, but is not in your voice type?

What are you afraid of?
Falling short of my potential.

What was the first opera you ever saw?
Double bill of Bluebeard’s Castle and Erwartung at Opéra de Montréal. Maybe not a typical first opera choice, but I remember it vividly to this day and it was fantastic!

What’s your favourite mind-calming practice? ex. Yoga/running/meditation
I adore yoga and meditation. A couple of years ago, I traveled to Costa Rica to do an intensive yoga teacher training course. I learned so much, and it transformed my life and approach to singing.

Are you a cat person or dog person?
I love all animals, but would have to choose dog. I’ve travelled everywhere for the past eight with my little canine companion Loki, a Pomeranian.

Which TV show did you binge-watch last?
All of Curb your Enthusiasm in preparation for the series finale.

What’s a big investment for an opera artist, but totally worth it?
Voice lessons no matter the age or stage you’re at, and also auditions as you’re starting out.

When was the first time you cried at the opera?
I think it was at the premiere of Anthony Minghella’s stunning production of Madama Butterfly opening the Met’s 2006 season. I had just arrived in NY as a freshman at Juilliard, and wasn’t familiar with Butterfly or its ending. I was distraught and so moved during that final scene. It was a wonderful, very memorable evening.

What does it mean to be brave with music?
For me, it’s to surrender control and ego.

Are you a perfectionist?
Very much so. While attention to detail and hard work are very important, perfectionism has been and still is a source of struggle for me. I constantly remind myself that perfect is the enemy of good, and I try to value open and honest communication and presence in performing above any notion of right or wrong.

What does success look like to you?
This has changed significantly over the years from being gauged outwardly to more inwardly (at least I try for this). Success now looks more like constantly seeking to grow and learn, to embrace challenges, and to bring joy to whatever I’m doing.


© Faye Fox
©Lynn Lane
Houston Grand Opera Carmen

Madama Butterfly
Hyogo Performing Arts Center

July 12 -21

CONDUCTOR: Yutaka Sado
DIRECTOR: Masayoshi Kuriyama
CHOREOGRAPHER: Choreographer

CIO-CIO-SAN: Miho Sakoda/Yurie Takano
PINKERTON: Norman Reinhardt/Hiroaki Fueda
SUZUKI: Michiko Hayashi/Shimizu Kasumi
SHARPLESS: Edward Parks/Takada Tomohiro

GORO: Kunihito Kiyohara/Jun Takahashi
LO ZIO BONZO: Saiki Kenji/Takayuki Ito
IL PRINCIPE YAMADORI: Masahiko Hare/Hidekazu Machi
KATE PINKERTON:Carolyn Sproule
LO ZIO YAKUSIDE: Akihiro Nishimura

LA ZIA: Momoko Nashitani
LA CUGINA: Sayuri Minami
IL COMMISSARIO IMPERIALE: Masataka Matoba/Takuto Yuasa


Set in Nagasaki at the end of the 19th century, “Madame Butterfly” tells the story of Mrs. Butterfly, a woman who single-mindedly waited for her husband, an American naval officer. This dramatic tragedy, colored by the sweet music of Puccini, has been loved around the world for 120 years.
As the first production of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center’s summer opera series, which now attracts attention every year for its world-class productions, “Madama Butterfly,” directed by the late Masayoshi Kuriyama, was staged in 2006 with the strong passion of Artistic Director Yutaka Sado. The eight performances were met with great acclaim, and the production was revived in the spring of 2008 to great acclaim.
In 2024, 16 years later, the curtain will rise on a newly revised production of “Madama Butterfly” featuring singers active on the front lines!
The heroine, Madame Butterfly, will be double-cast by two young star sopranos, Miho Sakoda and Yurie Takano, who continue to make great strides! Other leading singers from Japan will also be present in this beautiful and moving production.

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