When the seven-year-old Caroline Cartens came to her first rehearsal of children's chorus Cantarella, she said to conductor Harrie Spronken: “I am Caroline and I will become an opera singer when I grow up”. Through the preparatory class at the Maastricht Academy of Music, the bachelor's at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, the master's at the Dutch National Opera Academy and the CNIPAL opera studio in Marseille, she did end up on the opera stage.
Caroline sang a very diverse repertoire on national and international stages. From roles such as Violetta (La Traviata), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), to world premieres by composers such as Huba de Graaff, Holly Harrison and Seung-Ah Oh. She won prizes at the InterProvinciaal MuziekConcours and the Concours International d'Opera de Marseille.
After having worked as a soloist for several years, she decided to seek more stability with the arrival of her children and auditioned for the Chorus of Dutch National Opera. Since 2012, she has been singing as a freelancer in the Chorus.
Singing opera is not the only thing Cartens does. Besides her freelance opera practice, she is one of the founders of the Platform voor Freelance Musici, which fights for sustainable music practice in the Netherlands. She is also secretary of the Creative Coalition, an umbrella organisation of 45 organisations and trade unions representing the rights of those working in the arts. She is currently studying law at Leiden University.