Kathryn Rudge in Carmen
TAKE That’s Gary Barlow may seem an unlikely inspiration for one of the country’s rising opera stars, but mezzo soprano Kathryn Rudge – who will perform at Birkenhead School this summer – has him to thank for making one little girl take her music seriously.
"I didn’t know anything about opera until my singing tutor at school spotted something in my voice.
"She had a love of opera and was very talented herself.
" It’s her I have to thank for setting me on the path to my career," said Liverpool-born Kathryn.
With a laugh she adds: "Although Gary Barlow – who was on my wall at that time – originally made me want to learn to play the piano at the age of seven and get more from my music."
Her speaking voice belies the power of a talent that was first identified by that music teacher at Liverpool College when she was just 13 or 14.
In soft tones, light and with a definable Liverpool lilt she talks about how a 24-year old from Liverpool found herself in love with opera.
"None of my family has any musical training, although they are very supportive of what I do, and this has been a real journey for me."
And it’s some journey.
At 24 Kathryn has a formidable roll-call of prestigious awards and lead roles to her name, yet she remains down to earth, friendly and open. Her recent run as Bizet’s Carmen at the Royal Northern College of Music was one of her most challenging roles to date – a far cry from her follow-on role, as Erika in Barber’s ‘spooky’ opera Vanessa at the RNCM, which finished at the end of March.