Why did you start singing?
I simply loved it. I grew up with no tv and only classical music played at home. My parents were wonderful at taking us to opera. I saw Sutherland, Price, Gobbi and so on at a very young age. I decided to be a singer at age 6 after seeing Turandot at the Met starring Nilson, Corelli and Freni.
Which singer inspired you most when you were young?
I heard a lot of Sutherland as my father was Australian, and of course I was entranced by Callas. I also adored Björling and Fischer-Dieskau.
Which singer do you most admire?
Stratas, Callas, so many. I’m loving Kaufmann these days but aren’t we all?
What’s your favourite role?
Several for different reasons. Lulu, because it was a breakthrough role for me. Gilda because it was heaven to sing. Vixen because my father died during it, I found her life enhancing and 20th century is where I live musically.
What role have you never played but would have liked to?
Maria in West Side Story. The role that took my focus off opera and onto musicals. I got the role in the West End but for various reason didn’t do it. Fate led me in another direction and instead I created the role of Cosette in Les Misérables in the original production.
What’s your favourite opera to watch?
I find opera hard to watch but I love Onegin, and operas by Britten, Janáček, Puccini.
Who is your favourite composer?
Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Britten, Puccini, Shostakovich..
Who is your favourite writer?
I don’t have one. I tend to read a lot of history
Who is your favourite director?
David Pountney, David McVicar.
Who is your favourite actor?
I don’t have a favourite.
What is your favourite book?
I read mainly history.
What is your favourite film?
As a child Olivier’s Richard III. Tootsie makes me laugh. I enjoy anything in long frocks.
Which is your favourite city?
Don’t have one.
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you dislike about yourself?
Not sure where to start!
What was your proudest moment?
Taking two months off from Phantom of the Opera to make my North American début as Lulu.
When and where were you happiest?
As an 8 year old in Italy I saw a glittering beetle flying and felt overwhelmed with happiness. I was aware of the moment and remember it so clearly even now
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
Being old, alone and frightened.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My depressive nature.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a professional singer for 32 years.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your greatest extravagance?
The upkeep of face and body!
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
They are all over rated.
On what occasion do you lie?
Never. No wait, that’s a lie.
If you hadn’t been a singer what would you have liked to be?
Historian or Pope.
What is your most marked characteristic?
You’d have to ask someone else.
What quality do you most value in a friend?
Humour, kindness, loyalty.
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Too many to list.
Which living person do you most admire?
What do you most dislike?
Cruelty. Abuse of animals.
What gift would you most like to have?
To fly and travel in time.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
I don’t know… Extraordinary.
How would you like to die?
In my sleep after a stonking piece of cheese.
What is your motto?
Same as Churchill’s: Keep Buggering on.
Rebecca Caine – a biography
Rebecca Caine was born in Toronto, Canada and studied at the Guildhall School of Music, London.
Uniquely, her career has been divided between Opera and Musical Theatre, making her West End debut at 19 in the role of Laurey in Oklahoma! She then sang the role of Eliza in My Fair Lady on the National tour. While making her debut at Glyndebourne as Amor in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, she was asked to join the Royal Shakespeare Company where she created the role of Cosette in Les Misérables. After a successful West End run she joined the original cast of Phantom of the Opera to play Christine opposite Michael Crawford. She then returned to Toronto to repeat the role in the Canadian premiere of Phantom. During her run in Toronto she joined the Canadian Opera Company to make her highly praised North American debut in the title role of Lulu.
Other work with the Canadian Opera Company includes Vixen ( Dora Mavor Moore Award), Pamina, Despina and Micaëla. Elsewhere, roles include Pamina (Glimmerglass); Pamina, Musetta, Susanna (English National Opera); Ophelia in Hamlet, Aminta in Il re pastore, Anna 1 in Seven Deadly Sins (Opera North), Balkis in L’incontro improvviso (Nice); Vixen (Spoleto); Violetta (Opera Northern Ireland), Clomiri in Imeneo (Handel Opera Society) Mary Turner in Of Thee I Sing, Leila in The Pearlfishers (Atlanta Opera) Marguerite in Faust (Opera Festival of New Jersey), Musetta ( De Vlaamse Opera) Hanna in The Merry Widow (Opera Holland Park), Mrs Coyle in Owen Wingrave (Chicago Opera Theater), Susanna (Scottish Opera), Despina (De Vlaamse Opera, Scottish Opera) Julietta (National Theatre of Prague), Adina (New Zealand Opera).
World premières include: the title role in Jezebel with the Toronto Symphony, an Oratorio by Robertson Davies and Derek Holman; L.A. Lola in Opera North’s Playing Away, by Howard Brenton and Benedict Mason; Fotis in the Canadian Opera Company’s The Golden Ass, by Robertsonn Davies and Randolph Peters; 6 female roles in Psappha’s production of Mr Emmett Takes a Walk, by David Pountney and Peter Maxwell Davies; Mathilde at the Edinburgh Festival, by Conor Mitchell; and Intolerance, a one woman opera, written for her by Conor Mitchell and Mark Ravenhill, at the Tête à Tête Festival, London.
Miss Caine’s broadcasts for Radio 3 include Candide, One Touch of Venus, Trouble in Tahiti, The Telephone, Friday Night is Music Night and concerts of Bernstein, Porter and Kern.
Her extensive cabaret career has included Jermyn Street, Lauderdale House, Sydmonton, (Newbury Spring Festival), Exeter Festival, Cliveden, Theatre Barn, Buxton Festival. She recently made her US cabaret début at the Halsted Centre in Chicago and gave the first performance at the new Telus recital hall at the Royal College of Music in Toronto.
Rebecca has sung with the Orquesta Sinfonia de Barcelona, The Hague Philharmonic (Lulu Suite under Daniel Harding), Toronto Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra , Liverpool Philharmonic and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Her recordings include Les Misérables (original British cast), The Phantom of The Opera (Canadian album), Anything Goes, the track Everyone is Doing Something Without Me on Future Sound of London’s album Dead Cities, Babes in Toyland and Mr Emmett Takes A Walk. Her own solo album is called Leading Ladies.
After appearing with the original cast of Les Misérables 25th Anniversary concert, Rebecca appeared in Tête à Tête’s acclaimed production of Salad Days at The Riverside Studios as Lady Raeburn followed by Three Phantoms concerts with John Owen Jones and Earl Carpenter nationwide. Recent work includes the role of Ottavia in Mark Ravenhill’s controversial Baroque/Jazz version of The Coronation of Poppea at The Kings Head. Concerts in the UK with John Owen Jones and in Canada with Michael Burgess and her own Canadian recital tour with Robert Kortgaard.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.