Robbin has performed in recital and in oratorios and concerts with major Canadian orchestras and choirs. She also has sung with the Boston SO, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the English Baroque Soloists, the National SO, and the St Louis SO, among others. She has been heard on the BBC, the CBC, and Radio France, and has performed extensively throught North America and Europe. Although she has preferred oratorio and concert work, Robbin has performed such operatic roles as Frédéric in Mignon (1976, for Stuart Hamilton's Opera in Concert series), Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia (1979, Aldeburgh, England), the title role in Mignon (1984, Opera in Concert), and Olga in Eugene Onegin (1984, Lyons Opera). She has sung many Handel opera roles, including Cleone in Alessandro (1985, Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall), the title role in Julius Caesar (1987, Edmonton), Medoro in Orlando (1989, Academy of Ancient Music US tour), Bradamante in the Canadian premiere of Alcina (1990, Vancouver Opera), and the title role in the North American premiere of Floridante (1990, with Tafelmusik).
Robbin's voice has a remarkable timbre which, through its focus, range and evenness is ideally suited to baroque music. In the early 1980s she came to international prominence in this repertoire, collaborating with renowned specialists such as Christopher Hogwood, Trevor Pinnock, and in particular, John Eliot Gardiner, with whom she made the 1982 recording of Messiah. There is, however, a richness and resonance in her voice, which has been compared to Janet Baker's, and this allows her to be equally at home in the romantic German and French repertoire.
Author Nancy McGregor, Barbara Norman
Beethoven Missa Solemnis. Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Gardiner conductor. 1989. Archiv 429-779-2 (CD)
- Symphony No. 9. London Symphony Chorus, Academy of Ancient Music, Hogwood conductor. 1988. L'Oiseau Lyre 425-517-1/6-L'Oiseau Lyre 425-696-2 (CD)
Catherine Robbin: Bissell - Ridout - Schubert - et al. McMahon piano. 1985. Marquis ERA-113
Handel Messiah. Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Gardiner conductor. 1982. 3-Philips 6769-107/3-Philips 411-041-2 (CD)/(selections) Philips 425-267-2 (CD)
- Belshazzar. English Concert and Choir, Pinnock conductor, Robbin (Cyrus). (1991). 3-Archiv 431-793-2 (CD)
- Floridante (excerpts). Tafelmusik Baroque O, Curtis conductor. 1990. CBC SMCD-5110
- Orlando. Academy of Ancient music, Hogwood conductor. (1991). Oiseau-Lyre 430-845-2 (CD)
Haydn Stabat Mater. English Concert, Pinnock conductor. 1989. Archiv 429-733-2 (CD)
Mahler Kindertotenlieder, Rückert Lieder, Songs of a Wayfarer. Kitchener-Waterloo SO, Armenian conductor. 1989. CBC SMCD-5098
Sweet Was The Song: Willan - Gabrieli - et al. Vancouver Chamber Choir, Mowatt harp. 1982. Marquis ERA-107
Colgrass, Ulla. 'Catherine Robbin - a stellar voice,' Music, vol 5, Dec 1982