Starting her international career with one of the most coveted endorsements in the business, soprano Gail Carson received, at the high recommendation of famed conductor Leonard Bernstein, a Fulbright Scholarship in 1969 to study opera at the London Opera Centre in England. There she was one of two singers that year chosen to appear in a master class given by Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge. The other singer accorded that honor was Kiri Te Kanawa.
Gail Carson graduated from New England Conservatory of Music with a vocal major in 1964. In following years she appeared with leading orchestras in America and Europe as a soloist, including the Milwaukee Symphony, Hungarian Symphony of Budapest, Opera Orchestra of Milan, Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra, Springfield (Mass.) Symphony, Beloit (Wisc.) Symphony, Madison (Wisc.) Symphony and New England Conservatory Orchestra.
As a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions in 1971, she was in the top twenty, out of a field of 2000 contestants nationwide, and sang on the stage at the Met.
She was also a finalist in Chicago's WGN Opera Contest in 1968, She also sang the Boston/American premier of Alan Hovaness' "Magnificat," in the famed Jordon Hall in 1964, while still a student at New England Conservatory, for which she got a rave review in the Boston Globe; this was the first of many rave reviews of her career.
She was a finalist in the International Verdi Competition in Italy in 1972, competing against top singers from 60 countries -- kind of like the Olympics of singing, and later sang with National Opera as well as many opera companies here and in Europe, in stage performances of "La Boheme"(Mimi), "La Traviata"(Violetta), "Don Giovanni"(Donna Anna), "Cosi fan Tutte"(Fiordiligi), "Nozze di Figaro" (the Countess), "Fledermaus"(Rosalinde) "Merry Widow," "Luisa Miller" (the title role, Luisa) and many other operas.
A Day in the Life.....
I'm in the wings, standing beside the Stage Manager's box.
"2-minute call, Miss Carson to the stage. 2 minute call." I'm already there.
It's 1976 and I'm in the largest concert hall in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, in a glamorous low cut red velvet gown. The Hungarian Symphony Orchestra is finishing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." The conductor is bowing to the packed concert hall of 3,000 -- and now he is exiting stage right toward me. He stops, off stage in front of me, smiles and says, "Ready? Let's do it! You'll wow them!"
The stage director nods to me. I walk the path, that familiar path between the first and second violins "in bocco lupo" ("into the mouth of the wolf"). The applause grows. I bow to the audience. The maestro steps up to the podium and lifts his baton.
The music begins. The song soars. That's my voice filling the hall - to the third balcony... my voice, which needs no microphone to carry over an orchestra of 75 musicians. Later will come the roses and curtain calls. But now, it's just the song and the singer.
The above autobiographical notes
by Gail Carson