At last night’s performance of Le Nozze di Figaro, in which Ann Murray sang her acclaimed Marcellina, The Royal Opera House paid the following tribute to this great mezzo-soprano in celebration of her 40th season in the House:
Ann Murray: a Celebration
This Season marks the fortieth anniversary of mezzo-soprano Ann Murray’s Royal Opera debut. Murray’s first two roles for The Royal Opera were Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and Siébel in Faust (June 1976). Over the next three Seasons she performed several other trouser roles including Tebaldo (Don Carlo) and Ascanius (The Trojans at Carthage) for The Royal Opera, along with Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte). In 1983 she performed the central role of the Child in The Royal Opera’s first production of Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges, designed by David Hockney.
From 1984 to 1997, Ann Murray appeared with The Royal Opera nearly every Season. The variety of her roles shows her versatility as a singer and actress. As one of the UK’s most accomplished Handelians, she delighted audiences as the heroic Ruggiero (Alcina) in 1992, and as Giulio Cesare at the Barbican in 1997. Her Royal Opera Mozart repertory has included heroic youths such as Sifare (Mitridate, re di Ponto) and Idamante (Idomeneo); the volatile and tragic Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni); and the flighty Dorabella and comic maid Despina (Così fan tutte). A noted interpreter of Strauss’s trouser roles, she triumphed as the Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos) in 1985 and 1987, and appeared to acclaim in 1987, 1989 and 1995 (recorded on CD) as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. In 1996, Murray even made a foray into Wagner, with a performance of Waltraute (Götterdämmerung) that The Telegraph praised for its ‘fiery intensity and drama’.
In recent Seasons, Murray has had considerable success performing comic roles for The Royal Opera. The Guardian and The Stage praised the ‘unerring skill’ and ‘peerless dry comic stagecraft’ of her interpretation of the guilty Marquise de Berkenfield in La Fille du régiment (2010 and 2012), while the Observer hailed her ‘wonderful deadpan charm’ as the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel (2008/9). She has won particular acclaim for her interpretation of Marcellina, which she has also sung for companies including Glyndebourne, Paris Opéra and the Metropolitan Opera and at Salzburg Festival.
As we celebrate her 40 years with The Royal Opera, the Company would like to thank Ann Murray for her many magnificent performances and long association with us.
(Quoted by kind permission of the Royal Opera House)