A hardworking English mezzo has died

A hardworking English mezzo has died


norman lebrecht

June 16, 2014

We have been informed of the death of Carol Rowlands, who had a 30-year career mostly in UK opera houses, and a secondary line as a cabaret singer.

Carol,who died in her sleep yesterday, started out in chorus and small roles with Scottish Opera.   She went on to sing  Mrs Grose in The Turn of the Screw, Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress for English Touring Opera, Judy in Punch and Judy by Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Goneril in Toshio Hosokawa’s Vision of Lear. 

She was in Gloriana ar ROH and sang Annina, Mrs Gross and Miss Sedley at Holland’s Reisopera.  She sang Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana for Scottish Opera-go-round and was Carmen at Holland Park. In her 60s, she was stricken by cancer, which she dealt with in a very private way. Few knew the severity of her condition. She was widely loved. 

Our sympathies to Carol’s family and friends.





  • Mark Beesley says:

    So sad to hear this news. She was a lovely woman, and a great collegue. I sang Swallow with her at the Reisopera where we had so many laughs on and offstage. RIP

  • Benjamin Bevan says:

    I had the privilege to work with Carol at ETO and at the ROH more recently. She was a delightful, funny and un-stuffy colleague and a fine actor. She was always rather nervous of the moving stairway on which she had to cling in Gloriana after having poured the contents of a chamber pot on my head, which she did each night with unerring accuracy. I am so sad to hear of her passing and my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.

  • Guus Mostart says:

    I first heard Carol Rowlands as Mrs. Grose in Wilton’s Music Hall in London and engaged her straight away for the same role in the Stephen Langridge/Reinbert de Leeuw production of The Turn of the Screw for the Nationale Reisopera here in the Netherlands. She returned subsequently for Mrs. Sedley and Annina (Traviata), becoming a popular artist with the press and public alike. A good friend to many in the company, she will be sadly missed. May she rest in peace.