On the Couch with Caitlin Hulcup

AAR Caitlin Hulcup - photo by Robert CattoWho is Caitlin Hulcup?
I’m an Australian mezzo-soprano living with my Austrian husband in Oxford, UK. I sing in opera and concerts internationally and I’m also a professor of voice at the Royal Academy of Music London. This trip I will be a guest coach to voice students at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium and I will sing Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi for Victorian Opera.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
It would be great to have the ability to clean up junk plastics from the seas and demand reform to those quick-returns agricultural practices that deplete the soils and diminish health.

Who inspires you and why?
Thinking about classical music, there’s too many inspirational singers past and present to mention! Artists like Marian Anderson and Nellie Melba established a following and career against the odds, for instance. I find myself uplifted more often though by friends and family, colleagues and students who I see creating positive change, for themselves and others. I’ve also been moved by the recent court case won by Prof. Tim Noakes in South Africa. His struggle highlights a huge public health/industrial food debate very much of our time. Voices like these are compelling.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
It’s singing. We connect with other people, and find our self-expression at the same time, and neuroscience proves again and again how healthy singing is for us. Listening to and making music has the power to console, motivate and lift our spirit, and as Shakespeare warned us, “the man that hath no music in himself is fit for stratagems, treason and spoils.” So it is music, and particularly singing where I find my chance to contribute.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I enjoy new cities for their unique sights, sounds and tastes. Having said this, Austria and Australia are the places we keep returning to, because we love catching up with friends and family, as well as spending time in the great outdoors.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I like to take them for a bird’s eye perspective: a high-rise restaurant by night, or the top of the nearest view by day.

What are you currently reading?
My husband gave me a Kindle for my last birthday, and I like having lots of choice! Right now I’m reading Tinker Dabble Doodle Try – on different approaches to creativity; Brainmaker, which despite the title is actually about gut bacteria’s influence on the brain, and also Job’s Body – which I think is brilliantly written.

What are you currently listening to?
Aside from whatever music I’m working on, I like to listen to many podcasts. I am a fan of shows including 99% Invisible, Hidden Brain, Bulletproof Radio, Ted Talks, Brain Science, Liberated Body, Friday night Comedy, Stuff You Should Know, among others!

Happiness is?
A true belly laugh.

What does the future hold for you?
I want to be someone who continues to learn, enjoys all the riches and passes it on.

Caitlin stars as Romeo in Victorian Opera’s presentation of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) at Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne on Friday 14 September 2018. For more information, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.

Image: Caitlin Hulcup – photo by Robert Catto