Canadian mezzo Caroline Gélinas has had lifelong love affairs with music and nature. Born and raised in Montbelliard, a town in the rural Abitibi-Temiscamingue region of Quebec, she was passionate about music at an early age. At 18, she discovered the world of opera upon taking her first private voice lessons. After a first move to Quebec City, she was on her way to Montreal not long thereafter to establish her career. Studies at the Conservatoire led her to the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal for two more years of training.
Gélinas says that she finds the acting just as interesting as the singing. To her, Bizet’s Carmen embodies everything she loves most about the operatic medium. Two years ago, she was given the chance to take part in a production of that work staged by the Atelier lyrique and backed by the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil. And the mezzo could not claim a better influence on her than the legendary Maria Callas, a complete performer whose vocal abilities were as outstanding as her charismatic stage presence.
In 2015, Gélinas made her Montreal debut in the Opera de Montreal’s production of Richard Strauss’s Elektra, playing the part of the trainbearer. Her next assignment, in 2017, was as Mother Jeanne in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. This would be the first of several breaks for her. Soon she was playing the role of Sibel in Gounod’s Faust, staged by the Société d’art lyrique du Royaume in Chicoutimi. Then came the Révélation classique award, granted annually to new talents by Radio-Canada, and yet another stage appearance with the Highlands Opera Studio as Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Her most recent credit was with the Opera de Québec, where she played the part of Mercédès in Carmen.
In 2018 Gélinas made her recording debut with Confidences on the ATMA Classique label. With her accompanist of choice, pianist Olivier Godin, she tackles French art songs (Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis), German lieder (Schumann’s Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart) and the Songs of Mary by Robert Fleming – vocal works in languages that are equally appealing to her. To top it off, she was granted first prize in June of this year at the international competition of French art song (Chanson française), staged across the river in Saint-Lambert by the Classica Festival.
In February Gélinas will guest again with the Société d’art lyrique du Royaume to sing the role of Nicklausse in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann.
Translation by Marc Chénard