Meet the Artists: Caroline Taylor
In this new series, we’re meeting the 2022 CMF Artists and getting to know a little bit about them as musicians and find out what they get up to away from music.
Praised for her “glittering soprano” (The Times), Caroline Taylor graduated with Distinction from the RNCM, where she won the 2018 Joyce and Michael Kennedy Strauss Award and was a Finalist in the Gold Medal. She is the winner of the 2019 Dean and Chadlington Singing Competition and the 2021 Emmy Destinn Young Singers Award.
How long have you been singing for?
I sang in choirs for fun when I was at primary and secondary school and took singing lessons alongside my GCSE music classes. Then at university, I started taking singing lessons a bit more seriously, which led me to consider singing as a career.
What is the best thing about being a musician?
So many things! But if I had to pick my top three: meeting people, travelling to new places and “energies”. I love the indescribable energies that pass between performers, instrumentalists and creative teams when you’re part of a production or concert. It’s such a special feeling!
Can you tell us a little bit about the kind of music you sing?
My favourite music to perform is stuff that tugs at your heartstrings; this is of course different for everyone, but for me it’s composers like Debussy, Britten, Janáček, Richard Strauss and Puccini. I’ve recently fallen in love with Czech repertoire as it’s often beautiful, ugly, happy and sad all at the same time. I do also like my early music and baroque, like Monteverdi and Handel – as well as my Donizetti!
That’s a hard one. But I think Debussy just about wins it.
For singing, I take inspiration from the late Lucia Popp most of the time. She had a gorgeous limpid quality to her tone and performance that draws you in and makes you go “ah”. I would love to achieve that! In life, I mostly take inspiration from Adriene Mishler of Yoga with Adriene. She is a wonderfully positive but also realistic person and her online yoga classes always set me up well for the every day.
What are you most looking forward to about being a CMF Artist?
As I love meeting new people, I’m really looking forward to getting to know the other Artists well, hearing them perform and collaborating with them. I’m always up for interesting and exciting music-making, so I’m also looking forward to discovering new perspectives about performing – and hopefully taking part in some really unique and interesting projects, alongside traditional settings!
Best concert you’ve ever been to?
I got goosebumps a few years ago when I went to see Peter Grimes at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Britten’s score is amazing, especially the Sea Interludes and Ellen Orford’s Embroidery Aria, which was sung so beautifully by the late Erin Wall. I was really affected when Stuart Skelton just wandered out into the auditorium at the end. A very special performance.
Which tracks would you take to your desert island?
The Presentation of the Rose, with Lucia Popp and Brigitte Fassbaender. Also Popp’s recording of Carmina Burana. François le Roux and Maria Ewing’s Pelléas et Mélisande…and the original soundtrack to Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke by Joe Hisaishi. And also the “Et incarnatus est” from Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor, either with Popp or Anna Moffo. This was a hard question!
What do you do in your down time?
I love to garden and to be outdoors generally as it’s very restorative, so in London I spend a lot of time in parks. I also love animals and find being around them very uplifting, so I try to get to city farms or out into the countryside wildlife-watching when I can! I love to read – mostly magical realism, sci-fi, fantasy and period – and I take great pleasure in cooking and eating.
Which TV shows are you binging at the moment?
I just finished Battlestar Galactica, which was so moving by the end that I cried in the final episode! I’m now onto House of the Dragon, alongside The West Wing. I also like to re-watch classic British comedy when I’m cooking or tidying, so I’m usually found watching The IT Crowd or Black Books. And I binge watch Netflix’s Dark every couple of years.
If you were only allowed to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Spaghetti bolognese. I was expecting this to be a hard question, but the words just jumped out!