Mezzo-soprano Kathleen Wilkinson made her Royal Opera debut in 2005 as She Ancient (The Midsummer Marriage) and has since sung Mother Goose (The Rake’s Progress), Third Maid (Elektra), Brigitta (Die tote Stadt), Filipyevna (Eugene Onegin) and Anna Kennedy (Maria Stuarda) for The Royal Opera.
Wilkinson, of Irish descent, grew up in Lancashire in a large mining family. She worked in musical theatre before winning a scholarship to the Royal Northern College of Music. Her repertory includes Filipyevna, Mistress Quickly (Falstaff), Mrs Herring (Albert Herring), Mamma Lucia (Cavalleria rusticana) and Cleaning Lady (The Makropulos Case) for companies including Welsh National Opera, English National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival and on Tour. Roles with Scottish Opera include Erda (Das Rheingold), Schwertleite (Die Walküre), First Norn (Götterdämmerung) and Old Woman/Nurse (Inés de Castro), and role creations Mary Lamb (Monster!) and Margaret Muir (Friend of the People). International engagements include Mistress Quickly in Nantes, Angers and Rennes, Mother Goose in Caen, Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro) in Rennes, Auntie (Peter Grimes), La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), Mistress of the novices (Suor Angelica), Grandmother Buryjovka (Jenůfa) and Lady-in-Waiting (Macbeth) for Opéra de Lyon, Old Woman/Nurse in Porto and Erda (Das Rheingold) for the Sopot International Wagner Festival.
Wilkinson sings widely in concert, including at the Last Night of the Hallé Proms. She has worked with such conductors as Mark Elder, Richard Hickox, Vladimir Jurowski, Charles Mackerras, Carlo Rizzi and Robin Ticciatti, and recorded for the BBC, Opus Arte, Radio France and for the Chandos ‘Opera in English’ label.