Born in Australia (but holding dual British/Australian citizenship) Catriona Barr studied at the University of Adelaide and began her professional career as a Young Artist with the State Opera of South Australia. Her solo operatic engagements have included the title role in Carmen and Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro on tour with Co*Opera Australia and Alma Mahler, Alma for the Kidney Art Ensemble at the Barossa International Music Festival.
In 1997 Catriona moved to the UK where she sang Bettina in the UK premiere of L'amore Industrioso, Maddalena Rigoletto for Opera Holland Park, Dorabella Così Fan Tutte with Mid-Wales Opera, Ino in Handel's Semele on the island of Malta and the Forester's Wife/Screech Owl The Cunning Little Vixen at the Académie Européenne, Festival d'Art Lyrique in Aix-en-Provence. In 2005 Catriona performed the role of Drummer in Viktor Ullman's Der Kaiser von Atlantis at Wigmore Hall.
From 2006 Catriona performed regularly with Scottish Opera covering Sarah Connolly in Der Rosenkavalier (and going on to sing five performances in the title role), and performing Javotte in Massenet’s Manon, Annina in David McVicar’s new production of La Traviata and Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly.
For English National Opera Catriona understudied the role of Suzuki in Anthony Minghella’s award winning production of Madama Butterfly and covered the role of Orestes in Offenbach’s La Belle Helene.
Other engagements include singing Maddalena Rigoletto in Macau, Dorabella Così fan Tutte for Castleward Opera and covering the roles of Adelaide Arabella, the Step Mother May Night and Marcellina Le Nozze di Figaro for Garsington Opera. She has also performed excerpts from the title role in Dido and Aeneas at the Linari Festival in Italy.
During her 12 years in the UK she returned to Australia four times to sing for the State Opera of South Australia; as Stephano Roméo et Juliette (conducted by Stephen Barlow), Zerlina Don Giovanni, Suzuki Madama Butterfly and Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro.
Concert performances include multiple performances of Walton’s Façade in the UK, France and Italy, Berio's Folk Songs in Lisbon and Frauenliebe und Leben in Oporto; Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Haydn’s Nelson and Harmoniemesse and recitals at Elder Hall including Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, Manuel de Falla’s Siete canciones populares españolas and Elgar's The Sea Pictures.
Since returning to Australia in 2009 engagements have included covering Dorabella for Opera Australia's new production of Così fan tutte, singing Mrs Ford in Vaughan Williams Sir John in Love in Hobart, covering the title roles in Hansel and Gretel and Carmen and singing Mercedes Carmen for the State Opera of South Australia.
In 2012 Catriona sang the role of Venus in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld with the State Opera of South Australia and covered the title role in Carmen for Opera Queensland. 2013 engagements included Suzuki, Madama Butterfly and the cover of the Page in Salome for State Opera of South Australia as well as an original development, the da Ponte Project, based around the da Ponte Mozart operas in 2014.
In 2017 she performed the role of Lola in the State Opera of South Australia’s 2017 production of Cavalleria Rusticana and was the mezzo soloist in the Mozart Requiem with the Graduate Singers. Recent engagements include the mezzo soloist in the Operativo concert series and further revivals of “Making Mozart” with the da Ponte Project. In 2019 Catriona returned to the State Opera of South Australia to perform the roles of the Dog, the Woodpecker and Mrs Pasek in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and undertook an ambitious recital of Dominick Argento’s rarely performed song cycle set to the diary of Virginia Woolf with the pianist Thomas Webb.
Last updated: November 2018