She sang the role of Sister Helen Prejean in the UK staged premiere of DEAD MAN WALKING in Glasgow to great critical acclaim. Opera Magazine wrote: “Carolyn Holt’s Sister Helen was impeccably sung, sensitively acted and never less than sincere”. She was a 2020 Garsington Young Artist, covering Kitchen Boy RUSALKA, and 2021, covering (with performance) Coryphee Dame LE COMTE ORY and Madame Larina EUGENE ONEGIN. She returned as a Young Artist in 2022, covering and singing the role of Mrs Grose THE TURN OF THE SCREW. Recent engagements include her role debut as Annina DER ROSENKAVALIER with Irish National Opera.
Carolyn reached the live final rounds of the 2021 Tenor Viñas Contest, and was a semi-finalist in the 2021 Zenith Opera Competition, 2021 Offenbach Grand Prix, and the 2020 Premiere Opera Competition.. She was also a semi-finalist in the 2019 Grange International Singing Competition and was awarded second place at the Bampton Opera Young Singers’ Competition 2019. Carolyn has previously had success in competitions in the UK and Ireland including first prize in the inaugural Irish Heritage Bursary, the Audience Prize in Northern Ireland Opera Festival of Voice, the Trench Award and Bursary, the Geraldine McGee Bursary, the Mahler Prize and the P.J. Geoghegan Memorial Cup in the ESB Feis Ceoil. Carolyn also performs much contemporary music and was praised by the Irish Independent for her “powerful and earthy mezzo” in the role of Florence Newton, ‘The Witch of Youghal’, in the premiere of Raymond Deane’s Vagabones with Opera Collective Ireland, and she also performed in the award-winning opera The Second Violinist by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh.
Carolyn regularly performs with Irish National Opera, notably singing The Voice (Mother) LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN, for which she again received excellent critical acclaim (Bachtrack wrote “Carolyn Holt as the voice of Antonia’s mother stood out with her rich and seductive mezzo-soprano”). Recent and upcoming roles include Dido DIDO & AENEAS and Mrs Jones STREET SCENE, with the Alexander Gibson Opera School, Orlofsky DIE FLEDERMAUS with Winterbourne Opera, Donna Elvira (cover) DON GIOVANNI) with Opera Theatre Company and Sister Helen DEAD MAN WALKING (cover) for Welsh National Opera. .
Carolyn is in demand as a soloist with choral societies throughout the UK and Ireland where critics acclaim her “wonderfully dark, rich tone”. In 2020 Carolyn was expected to sing The Angel in Elgar Dream of Gerontius at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, but the concert has been rescheduled due to COVID19. She toured Ireland singing Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Esker Festival Orchestra and was the soloist in Elgar Sea Pictures with the Lambeth Orchestra.
Among numerous well taken smaller roles…I would single out – Carolyn Holt as a conniving meddler.
The Irish Times
Carolyn Holt’s Bianca is..warm, protective, defiant.
Sarah Dufresne’s clear, bell-like soprano contrasts nicely with Holt’s warm mezzo.
(Lucretia) is convincingly supported by Carolyn Holt, offering a centred, maternal view.
The Irish mezzo Carolyn Holt was making her debut as Charlotte and was impressive in the role, having big success with the Letter Scene.
Carolyn Holt plays Mrs Grose with authority and effortlessly effusive vocal power.