In Reviews

 
 
 
 
 
 
Handel, Radamisto

Caitlin Hulcup made an outstanding American debut in the title role. Hulcup applied a sweet, honeyed legato to the gorgeous “Cara sposa, amato bene,” adorned with elaborate embellishments in the da capo repeat. Her melismas were exceptionally clear and balanced across a wide ambitus, as in “Ferite, Uccidete,” in Act I. The cadenza to this aria, as well as others, featured some high-flying excursions into her upper range as well, a sort of virile sound matched by her convincing male stage characterization. Washington Classical Review Feb 2019 Charles T Downey. 

 

Radamisto in DC and New York were her first US appearances. Tall and slim, she made an astonishingly convincing male and ably embodied her character’s joy and anguish. Her trim coppery mezzo rang out with bold confidence...Particularly fine was her sneering “Vanne sorella ingrata,” and she ended strongly with her wrenchingly done “Qual nave smaritta,” the opera’s final aria.

New York performance: Parterre Box, Christopher Corwin Feb 2019

 
Purcell,  Dido and Aeneas
Her voice is organ-like, round and resonant, with gorgeous overtones, and a sense of line that made the recitatives hold taut the dramatic string pinched by Egarr’s continuo section at the other end. .. the pathos of Hulcup’s performance, first dreamlike, then pleading. It hurt in all the right places, a deeply moving performance enriched by a carefully controlled vibrato and tasteful ornamentation in keeping with the production’s restraint: what a pity it’s only getting the one performance." 
Benjamin Poore, backtrack.com 04.10.18

Caitlin Hulcup’s smooth, plush mezzo did communicate the queen’s struggles, conflicts and uncertainties. Dido’s dying lament tugged against the unrelenting ground bass, and at our heart-strings, shining with a velvety richness.

Claire Seymour Opera Today 04.10.18 Australian mezzo-soprano

Bellini, I Capuleti ed i Montecchi

Outstanding in this trouser role..Hulcup moved with a slightly masculine demeanour, energetically bit her thumb at Romeo’s rival, and heightened her death scene by producing an invisible bottle of poison. Her powerful, radiant voice was also rich with meaning and emotion. .. (Jessica Pratt's) Act I duet with Hulcup was the concert’s highlight, their voices in gorgeous harmony, as if made for each other. Patricia Maunder, Limelight Magazine 17.09.18

It's a rare night at the opera when Jessica Pratt is equalled on stage. Pratt has become the Australian jewel of European opera houses, arguably our most esteemed star since Dame Joan Sutherland. Her technical prowess, sumptuous tone and astonishing top notes see the most robust applause almost always reserved solely, and deservedly, for her. But in Victorian Opera's presentation of Bellini's Capulets and Montagues Caitlin Hulcup certainly proved a worthy counterpart...Caitlin Hulcup's portrayal of the young Montague was faultless. Romeo's Act I cavatina requires power at both ends of the mezzo range.. It is truly difficult singing and Hulcup was impressive, scaling the demanding terrain with elegance and strength. Bridget Davies, 16.09.18 Sydney Morning Herald
Handel, Samson
The most impressive solo vocal performance of the night.. was given by Australian mezzo Caitlin Hulcup, who sang the role of Samson’s friend Micah with a deep velvetiness and dark, dusky hues.
Miranda Heggie, theartsdesk.com 03.04.18
Monteverdi, The Return of Ulysses
 
But there was a singer in the pit, too. Australian singer Caitlin Hulcup ...who apparently learnt the role of Penelope over the weekend preceding this performance. She used a score, but that was really the only indication that the music was not fully in her blood... Rice, who had to write ‘Ulysses’ over and over again in chalk on the wooden acting circle as if obsessed, gave a dramatically convincing account of the role but it was Caitlin Hulcup’s musicality, her depth of both tone and interpretation, that made one of the most significant impressions of the evening. If Hulcup really did learn the role from scratch in a weekend, this an achievement all the more magnificent; certainly one aches to hear more of her in this repertoire, so stylish  was her delivery. Her diction, too, was remarkable.
Colin Clarke, http://seenandheard-international.com
After waiting so long for her husband to get home, what hard luck that Penelope had lost her voice for the first night of the Royal Opera’s The Return of Ulysses at the Roundhouse. Luckily the mezzo-soprano Christine Rice, who walked the role, is such a fine actor, and her replacement, Caitlin Hulcup, singing from the pit, such a responsive and adept singer, that scarcely a stitch was dropped, musically or dramatically. The professionalism needed for this kind of artistic teamwork cannot be overstated – especially with the audience up close, in-the-round, with nowhere to hide.
**** Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 14.01.18
Whilst Hulcup gave an astonishing performance (and I do hope that we get to hear and see her properly in the role some time), and the coordination with Rice was remarkable, it wasn't quite the same as having a single person in the role.
That said, the two performers developed Penelope as a serious and intense figure, one with whom we could sympathise and Hulcup's account of the opening arioso and other such moments had an intensity and powerful sombreness to them and Rice managed the tricky feat of seeming to radiate these grave emotions and fill the auditorium.
**** Robert Hugill 14.01.18 planethugill.com
Penelope is played by Christine Rice but on opening night, due to vocal indisposition, Caitlin Hulcup sang the role from the orchestra pit and gave an exceptional performance as she asserted her richly hued mezzo-soprano.
Sam Smith, Opera Online
Sadly, Christine Rice was indisposed and unable to sing; she mimed the role of Penelope, while Caitlin Hulcup sang the part with lovely shaded expression from amid the theorbos and cornetts of the orchestra.
Richard Bratby, The Spectator
Frank Martin, Le Vin Herbé
 
The Australian mezzo Caitlin Hulcup..sings the role of Iseult so arrestingly and with such beauty of tone and expression...
Stephen Walsh, theArts desk *****

Caitlin Hulcup was a radiantly gilded Iseult, moving about the stage with grace yet also impulsiveness, quickening as she abandoned herself credibly to the potion-induced love. With the texture of her mezzo so evenly sustained throughout her range, and flecked with distinctive timbre, she measured the emotional weight of every phrase with instinctive musicality." 

Rian Evans, The Guardian *****
Handel Theodora 

“It is difficult to know what to commend most strongly - ... the glowing smoothness of contralto Caitlin Hulcup, or simply the quality of the score that the composer thought his best. ... Caitlin Hulcup as Irene, leader of the persecuted Christians, sings with a sound of rounded firmness, fluid mellifluousness and natural attractiveness.”
Peter McCallum, The Sydney Morning Herald *****

 

“Caitlin Hulcup proves the perfect foil as Irene, capturing the tension between her faith’s demands for passive endurance and her passionate love for Theodora. Her rich, thrusting mezzo is perfect for As with rosy steps, while Lord to Thee each night and day is powerfully acted with both body and voice.” 
Clive Paget, Limelight

 

“...As Irene, mezzosoprano Caitlin Hulcup was her equal. Sustaining a focused sense of line and appealing tonal warmth, she persuasively conveyed her character’s devotion to her faith.”
Murray Black, The Australian

"Caitlin Hulcup has a natural stage authority. She can command attention while simply standing still. She sang with a radiant intensity that was especially moving in Lord to Thee, in which she showed the physical and mental toll it takes to remain ‘Strong in Hope’ when everything seems to lead to despair."

Ian Dickson, Australian Book Review

Mozart Idomeneo
Caitlin Hulcup made a similarly youthful Idamante, creating a believable 20-something prince in a performance which required little or no suspension of disbelief. Her singing was equally impressive and profoundly moving as she imbued the vocal lines with a lyrical passion which combined intensity with elegance. This was an aristocratic but still passionate young man. The long sequence where Idomeneo and Idamante are at odds (because Idomeneo cannot admit to Idamante that he is to be the sacrifice) was finely done in the way both artists sustained the tension. Spence and Hulcup ensured that it was this father/son relationship which was at the centre of the whole opera.
Robert Hugill planethugill.com
 

Idamante is one of those roles where the casting seldom pleases everyone, but Garsington gets it right for us, with the superb mezzo Caitlin Hulcup, who can add this debut to her rapidly growing list of triumphs. She looks absolutely convincing as a young prince, and plays the part of the king’s son with such assurance that it’s sometimes hard to remember that this is actually a girl. Her singing is truly Mozartean, with finely nuanced phrasing even in such small moments as ‘O dolce nome!’ and attention given to the subtleties of the arias, which are sung with exceptional beauty of tone and dramatic commitment."

Melanie Eskenazi

musicomh.com

Caitlin Hulcup’s Idamante, all adolescent awkwardness and intensity, overflows with ardour for his beloved Ilia, reciprocated with shy delight by Louise Alder. Dramatically it’s a near-perfect pairing, finding the youth and even the silliness in two lovers whose sophistication is only a veneer painted on by suffering. Vocally, too, from Hulcup’s impassioned ‘Non ho colpa’ to Alder’s ‘Zeffiretti lusinghieri’, defiant in its radiant beauty, these are exceptional performances that rise to the challenge of conductor Tobias Ringborg’s speeds and forward-thrusting musical momentum.

The Spectator, Alexandra Coghlan

Caitlin Hulcup's youthful, humble and charming Idamante, (is) beautifully voiced and played with affecting innocence and nicely masculine body language. And, opening on the evening of Father's Day, the scenes of recognition and dismay between Idomeneo and Idamante seemed to thrum with a special poignancy,
Charlotte Valori Bachtrack
 
Mezzo-soprano Caitlin Hulcup as Idamante looks for all the world like a young Toby Spence, and has a lovely swaggering lower register in this trouser role.
Claudia Pritchard, Culturewhisper.com
 
Handel Ariodante

Hulcup is a Handelian of growing distinction...she has all the right musical instincts. Her stylish decorative command was much in evidence here, but she also respected the essential simplicity of Scherza Infida. 'Dopo notte' was, rightly, the crown of the evening, giving us an adrenaline-fuelled, spirit of the moment sense of a singer at the top of her game, relishing the challenges Handel sets and traversing them with aplomb. Add to this Hulcup's dramatic antennae- dignity, deportment, demonstrable stage presence with not a hint of androgeny- and you have an important artist in the making. 

Andrew Clark, Opera

 

This is an opera completely driven by brilliant singing. Caitlin Hulcup completely owns the title role. She looked dashing as the young Ariodante (a soldier, in this production) and took the audience deftly through a rollercoaster of emotions. Her “Scherza infida“, which came shortly before the interval in this production, was pure, heart wrenching sadness. Sung from an awkward crouching position, the sheer knots of grief that betrayal can engender were laid out before us. It was pure, it was sad and it was lovely. Later on, Miss Hulcup gave an astonishingly virtuoso performance of “Dopo notte” – precise, joyful and exquisitely sung. It was all the more remarkable, coming towards the end of quite a long evening of singing.

Kelvin Holdsworth, Opera Britannica ****

 

Scottish Opera has assembled a uniformly strong cast for this production, which is very finely sung. Caitlin Hulcup’s convincingly boyish Ariodante was a study in anguish, her “Scherza infida” heart wrenching, full of melancholy as the blizzards raged outside and a mournful bassoon in the pit amplifyied the sadness. Even at the end of a long evening, her joyful “Dopo notte” was a tour de force, nailing top notes and tricky runs thrillingly. 

David Smythe, Bachtrack.com ****

 

Caitlin Hulcup’s Ariodante - in a role originally conceived for male castrato - is one built on stoical virtue, her velvety nuances a glowing enrichment of the writing’s surface virtuosity.

Ken Walton, The Scotsman ****

 

“Enjoy yourself,” sings a caustic Ariodante in this darkest of baroque operas. Violins ripple under the melody, and a quiet bassoon steps in where the voice chokes up. The aria is Scherza infida – music that carries profound hurt via pretty simple means, but a total synergy between singer and pit. It’s Handel at his most brilliant. Caitlin Hulcup sings  well in Scottish Opera’s new production: her Ariodante is baffled, callow, subtle. 

Kate Molleson, The Guardian ***

 

Rossi Orpheus, Aristeus

Euridice refuses to have the fatal snake venom sucked out of her by Venus-backed Aristaeus. As that hapless would-be lover, Caitlin Hulcup showered warm mezzo riches on us at thrilling close quarters.

David Nice, The Arts Desk.com

 

All Rossi's castrato roles are sung by women and every one of them is a gem. Caitlin Hulcup is a fiery, passionate Aristeus.

Mark Valencia, What's On Stage

 

 ..just when you thought the piece was going to run out of steam, Caitlin Hulcup produced her superb mad scene as Aristeus. 

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill 

 

Another outstanding performance comes from Caitlin Hulcup as Aristeus, a lovelorn suitor of Eurydice. The tragi-comic role includes a substantial mad scene, but Hulcup is as dazzling in comedy as in pathos and has a terrifically caressing voice too. 

Warwick Thompson blouinartinfo.com

 

The dramatic momentum is unflagging, but the darker emotional recesses are explored too, not least in Aristeus’s harrowing mad scene (movingly delivered by Caitlin Hulcup), in which the unfortunate spurned lover hallucinates about himself and others, embarking on an extraordinary range of musical styles and psychological states.

Barry Millington, Evening Standard

 

Currnyn boldly encourages his singers to turn baroque arioso, where appropriate, into something close to speech. Yet where full blooded lyricism is required, they deliver...Caitlin Hulcup's magnificently intense mad scene as Aristeus... 

Richard Morrison, The Times. 

 

But the evening’s most distinguished performance came from the Australian mezzo-soprano Caitlin Hulcup as Orpheus’ rival Aristaeus (another castrato role): his-her mad scene after Eurydice’s death brought an otherwise absent note of emotional urgency to the proceedings and momentarily made me feel that the opera had something sincere to communicate.

The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen 

 

 

Mahler Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Hulcup was enchanting in the failed flirtation, Verlorn'ne Muh... Hulcup's voice is rounded with deep warmth and richly focus, and without a hint of excessive vibrato. In Urlicht, (which Mahler appropriated as the fourth movement of his Second Symphony) she shaped each phrase like glowing light.

Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, 10.05.15

 

Hulcup...displaying alluring tonal warmth, good diction and a sure sense of line. Her intensely compelling account of Urlicht was the highlight.

Murray Black, The Australian 11.05.15

 

As for the mezzo-soprano Hulcup, the highlight was her rendition of Urlicht (which Mahler used for the fourth movement of his Resurrection Symphony). Her voice was sensitive and restrained, while the chorale in the brass was precise and as sacred as music can be...Hulcup also demonstrated great virtuosity and purity of sound as a young maiden in love in Wer hat dies Liedel erdacht? 

 Andrew Luboski, Limelight Magazine 09.05.15

 

 
Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice

... there’s fine singing to enjoy. The Australian mezzo Caitlin Hulcup has impressed me for years with her rich, full and distinctive timbre, and she sings Orfeo with commendable intensity ... Her flaming row with Lucy Hall’s plangently sung Euridice — distraught and baffled by Orfeo’s coldness — is the emotional centre of the show.

Richard Morrison, The Times

 

 

This was a particularly well sung opera with Caitlin Hulcup’s honey-toned mezzo bringing a noble passion to the trouser role of Orfeo. Dressed in a cream three piece linen suit and silk scarf, she was centre of attention and her well-choreographed journey back from the Underworld with a now quarrelsome Euridice in tow was a particular highlight. We had to wait until the end to hear the famous aria “Che farò senza Euridice” simply delivered against stage black, melting the heart of Amore and us in the audience too.

David Smythe, bachtrack

 

Performing in the star role as Orfeo is Australian opera singer Caitlin Hulcup alongside Scottish Opera debutante, Lucy Hall, who plays Orfeo’s lover and wife, Euridice. Both singers have extremely good Italian pronunciation and highly expressive voices, which complement one another beautifully. Hulcup, in particular, displays real control and musical verve and has a powerful and commanding stage presence, and ought to be congratulated on her apparent musical mastery of this challenging and demanding role.

S.E. Webster, The Public Reviews

 

...given a send-off by a stylish group of mourners that is as eloquent physically as Caitlin Hulcup’s Orfeo is musically. ... With the sparest of design, there is never any doubt where we are, and Hulcup and Hall make the most of their roles, particularly in the dark comedy of the crucial scene as he attempts to lead her back.

Keith Bruce, The Herald

 

Caitlin Hulcup’s Orfeo is sung with rich masculinity.

Ken Walton, The Scotsman

 

Gluck: Iphigenie en Tauride, Iphigenie

‘As Iphigénie, mezzo soprano Caitlin Hulcup is quite remarkable. A woman on the verge, indeed, but every gesture of voice and body is eloquent and controlled. Her instrument is a pure stream of liquid silver, flowing in the arias, nuanced in the crucial Gluckian recitative. And her portrayal of poor Iphigénie, almost crushed beyond hope, and yet hanging in there by that shred of humanity that somehow manages to keep so many of us going, is an agony that we, the spectators, willingly become a part of. Ô malheureuses Iphigénie is heart-rending

Clive Paget, Limelight Magazine

 

 

As for the title role, Caitlin Hulcup carries this immense part with unfailing intensity, maintaining a purity of tone and fleetness of phrasing throughout the most turbulent of arias.

’Harriet Cunningham, The Sydney Morning Herald

 

 

‘As Iphigenie, Australian mezzo soprano Caitlin Hulcup sustained remarkable clarity and focus in her tour de force performance. Firm and secure across her tessitura, she displayed excellent dynamic control, impressive timbral variety and an alluring range of tone colours.

Murray Black, The Australian

 

‘A sense of anguish pours from Caitlin Hulcup’s grand performance as Iphigénie, vocally typified by glorious, emotive phrasing, a warm, even vibrato and demonstrative wide-ranging tonal colour. Hulcup fires from the start, maintaining her vigour in Act II’s mournful and piercing O malheureuse Iphigénie. Then, as if dabbing paint to music, Hulcup renders Act III’s Je cède à vos désirs: du sort qui nous opprime with a fierce delicacy as she agonises over her strange desire to free Oreste in feeling a mysterious bond. 

Paul Selar, bachtrack

 

‘As Iphigenie, Caitlin Hulcup is superb. Stern and refined as the priestess she hides a compassionate heart. She sings divinely and is in glorious form with a warm tone. She is always conscious of the phrasing and shaping of the vocal line and very dramatically moving and convincing. Lynne Lancaster, Performing Arts Hub

 

‘In the title role, Caitlin Hulcup sings with a beautifully warm, full and focused tone, ever attentive to the possibilities of phrasing and shaping the vocal line, and is consistently dramatically convincing and moving.

Michael Halliwell, The Conversation

 

‘Hulcup is a classic mezzo-soprano, with all the toasty timbre that implies. Amazingly, given her virtuosity on her native instrument, she started life as a violinist and violist and perhaps it’s this that has endowed her with an uncommon awareness and sympathy for the totality of the form, rather than the sometimes egocentric ambivalence one suspects pertains to the odd prima donna here or there. Even at full tilt, her control is flawless and modulation never falters. Better yet, even while upholding this gold standard of musicality, she is able to imbue a fulsome emotional range: trembling with fear; aching with sadness; shaking with anger. It’s a quietly consummate performance

Lloyd Bradford Syke, Daily Review

 

‘The title role is huge, and Caitlin Hulcup’s performance of it was a true tour de force. She understood every nuance of the emotional fabric of the music. Her voice, mercurially capable of moving seamlessly from deep plangency to tender warmth, and indeed between an array of different feelings, was always true and vibrant, and always true to Gluck’s ideals; at the service of the drama. The arias in the opera are models of concision, [and] ... she has scenas which, though never flashy, demand a very special range of techniques to bring off. Caitlin Hulcup was mistress of them all.

Nicholas Routley, Australian Stage

 

‘Caitlin Hulcup is ideal in the title role as the unrecognised sister of Oreste serving as priestess: her poise, dignity, and beauty in form and voice yield great empathy.’

Jason Catlett, Sinfini Music

 

 
Mahler: 8th Symphony. Alt 1/Mulier Samaritana
Australian Caitlin Hulcup’s delicious mezzo oozed glorious warmth.     Bachtrack, David Smythe. 1st June 2014

 

Vivaldi: Catone in Utica, Cesare

Caitlin Hulcup ..se révèle une interprète exceptionnelle du rôle de Cesare.. cette mezzo australienne nous éblouit cette fois par l’aplomb avec lequel son timbre sonore et velouté se plie aux mille acrobaties exigées d’un personnage qui est peut-être le principal de l’œuvre. Ce qu’elle fait du « Se mai senti » évoqué plus haut est extraordinaire de palpitation, à mille lieues des versions aseptisées qu’ont pu en proposer d’autres chanteurs. Face à ce César-là, la reine de la soirée doit bien partager son trône. Avant l’arrivée d’Ann Hallenberg, les arias s’étaient enchaînées sans qu’il se passe toujours grand-chose, mais avec l’entrée en scène d’Emilia, le frisson du théâtre parcourt enfin nos veines, et sa virtuosité vous met la tête à l’envers. S’il fallait assister à ce concert, c’était assurément pour entendre la mezzo suédoise dans tout l’éclat de ses moyens à leur zénith, mais aussi pour Caitlin Hulcup, qu’on espère très vite retrouver à Paris dans les rôles de son répertoire, comme cette Octavian qu’elle fut à Moscou ou au Mai musical florentin.

ForumOpera.comBernard Schreuders Jan 10. 2014

 
Rossini: Maometto II, Calbo

The finest aria of the evening came from mezzo Caitlin Hulcup in the trouser role of Anna’s suitor Calbo. She sang the Act II “Non temer: d’un basso affetto” with vivid colours and heart-melting grace and nobility...  there can hardly have been a dry eye in the house.                                       BachTrack, David Karlin. 11th June 2013

 

Hulcup delivers her trouser-role with none of the usual irritating faux-masculine mannerisms, and with an artistry to take the breath away. She negotiates the most awkward leaps as if nothing could be more natural; she has distinctly different voices at the top and bottom of her register, but moves between them with seamless ease.     The Independent, Michael Church. 10 June 2013

 

Caitlin Hulcup's Calbo, however, was outstanding. She has a remarkably flexible voice, particularly lustrous in the lower register, so the extreme range in the part elides gracefully. She also moves with energy, not always a given in trouser roles.  

Opera Today, Anne Ozorio. 12 June 2013

HÄNDEL: BELSHAZZAR​, Cyrus

The revelation in the cast was Caitlin Hulcup, an Australian soprano-ish mezzo who has flourished elsewhere since her early UK performances. She has clearly found her metier as a Handelian, singing the idealised role of Cyrus with unforced style, feeling and nobility. 

Andrew Clark Financial Times, Dec 16 2012

The Australian mezzo-soprano Caitlin Hulcup ... showed off her technical mastery to full effect; her control in some difficult coloratura passages, and a fruity lower register, being especially impressive.
Julia Savage Evening Standard Dec 18 2012

STRAUSS: DER ROSENKAVALIER, Octavian

'Ms Hulcup was close to ideal in weight and timbre for the title role and she immersed herself in the character with a combination of aristocratic poise and vulnerability that made her hormonally raging teenager extraordinarily sympathetic.'                                          Nicola Lischi / Opera Britannia

 

​'Caitlin Hulcup la ha affiancato un Octavian elegante e appassionato, altrettanto credibile sul piano scenico.'      

Maria Teresa / La Nazione Firenze


 

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