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Spotlight on: Charlotte Knight

schmopera-logoColoratura soprano Charlotte Knight last made me laugh as Cecily Cardew in Earnest, the Importance of Being at Toronto Operetta Theatre this season. Her fierce technique is easy to hear, and like all great comediennes, Charlotte is also a smart and versatile performer; she just finished singing Rona Lisa Peretti in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with No Strings Theatre. Next season, you can hear her in November with the Gallery Players of Niagara, singing Villa-Lobos’ stunning Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 for soprano and eight cellos. and in May 2016 with Toronto Masque Theatre‘s production of The Fairy Queen.

Obviously in love with performing, Charlotte gave a beautiful interview about working hard, and not comparing yourself to others.

1. Why do you sing, and why are you pursuing it professionally?

The short answer is: because I love it.

The long answer is: because I absolutely love it. For me, there is nothing more thrilling and fulfilling than cracking the spine on a new score, delving into the often complex journey of a character, developing rhythms and relationships with colleagues during the rehearsal process and then walking (or skipping…or jumping) onstage to perform for an audience.


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It Shoulda Been Me: Charlotte Knight debuts one-woman cabaret

For outsiders looking in, Charlotte Knight appears to be on quite the roll.

After years singing opera as a soprano, Knight made the switch to musical theatre and has been steadily taking on role after role.

“The last few years, I’ve been quite a bit more busy with engagements and from the outside, it looks like I’m doing so well. And I am, but the truth is, it’s still a grind. I’m still out auditioning and dealing with rejection,” she said. “There have been some successes as well.”

Being classically trained in opera, Knight hasn’t had the opportunity to do many casual concerts but said lately, she’s been inspired some of the music she’s been listening to and singing through her musical theatre roles.

“You hear a song and think, ‘that speaks to me’ or ‘I’ve felt that way’,” she said.

As a result, she’s decided to head down a path many other musical theatre performers have before her: putting on her own one-woman cabaret. She went through and picked a collection of songs and wrote a song inspired by her life and career.

“I’m at a turning point in my career, transitioning to musical theatre from opera, and I thought this would be a great way to introduce myself to the genre of cabaret,” she said.

To help things go smoothly, she teamed up with musical director Jon Corkal to put the show together, deferring to his experience in this genre.

“He knows this stuff more than I do,” she said.

Knight’s picked a number of songs from her favourite composer, Steven Sondheim, as well as other artists like Joe Iconis, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen.

“You gotta have some pop in there,” she said.

There were three separate performances booked, starting off with the one Friday night at Mahtay Café in St. Catharines, her hometown. While she was born in the Garden City and later moved back after her post-secondary studies, she was raised in Toronto and did a performance there on June 16 at Gallery 345. On June 18, she’ll brought the show to TBD Theatre Co. in Guelph.

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R2RLots of artists have lots of debt. But tons of those artists are managing to pay it back, all while living this crazy variable life.

I recently put out a call for artist debt stories and got this email that I just had to share.

Meet Charlotte. She’s a Canadian opera/musical theatre singer based in Toronto. This is her debt story…

“It’s an unconventional debt repayment story – I paid off all of my debt by taking on more debt – but it’s worked out beautifully and given me more stability and peace of mind than I ever thought was possible while still pursuing a full-time performing career.

The short version is this: four years ago, I was freelancing and working part-time at a law office – and I felt like I was drowning in dept. In 2008, I graduated from Western with $26,000.00 in student loans. By 2011, my student line was still sitting at $18,000.00 – due largely to the constant strain on my income from continuing to re-invest in my developement i.e. summer program tuitions, lessons, coachings, travel expenses, audition expenses, etc. I also still owed my parents $4,000.00 and my credit card was maxed at $1000.00. Eeek.

So I bought a house.

With ZERO financial backing from any outside source (not even a mortgage co-signer), at 25 years old, with an annual average income of $24,000.00 gross – I bought a rental property.

In four short years, my rental income has paid off the following: my student line, my parents, and all of my consumer debt – not to mention it also pays my mortgage and all operating expenses (property tax, house insurance, utilities, maintenance and updates, etc.)

I wasn’t simple by any means – it took a LOT of creativity and hard work – but really anybody could do it.”

– Charlotte

I was super fired up by her awesome solution to her debt problem… I also had a ton of questions.



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