Dame Felicity Lott

Introduction

Dame Felicity Lott is one of Britain's best-loved sopranos. In opera, her portrayals of the Strauss and Mozart roles in particular have led to critical and popular acclaim worldwide. Her concert engagements take her to the major orchestras, working with Rattle, Haitink, Mehta, Previn, Masur, Welser-Möst, Sawallisch and Sir Andrew Davis. Much of her concert and recital repertoire is recorded, as are many of her great operatic roles: from her wonderful Marschallin under Carlos Kleiber to her Belle Helene, with which she enchanted the Parisians when she sang the role for the first time at the Chatelet in Paris in 2000.  A founder member of The Songmakers' Almanac, Felicity has appeared on the major recital platforms of the world and in June 2005 she celebrated the 30th anniversary of her recital debut at the Wigmore Hall.   A noted exponent of French song, she has been awarded the title Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Legion d’Honneur by the French Government. She was made a CBE in the 1990 New Year Honours and, in 1996, was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire.   In February 2003 she was awarded the title of Bayerische Kammersängerin. Most recently she was made Doctor Honoris Causa of the University Paris Sorbonne. 

This is for information only.  Please contact Sophie Dand for an up-to-date biography.

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Tutti Magazine

Interview - December 2013

Please click here to read Dame Felicity Lott's interview with Philippe Banel of Tutti Magazine Philippe Banel, Tutti Magazine, 14 December 2013

Poulenc

La voix humaine

Ehrbar Saal, Vienna

Im Ehrbar-Saal gab ein britischer Weltstar, Sopranistin Felicity Lott, in Begleitung des Pianisten Graham Johnson, Francis Poulencs solistisch angelegtes Musiktheater La Voix humaine… Lott beherrscht das zarte Flehen wie die Verzweiflung einer Sterbenden. Ihr Ausdruck und ihre Präsenz hoben den Abend in Bereiche des Besonderen. 
Ljubiša Tošić, Der Standard, 25 November 2013

Poulenc

La voix humaine DVD

Champs Hill Records

5*****
BBC Music DVD Choice 
It is highly significant that Poulenc's family have finally lifted the embargo on this version of La voix humaine specifically for Felicity Lott and Graham Johnson.  Certainly it is hard to think of two finer champions of Poulenc's music, and this set finally gives us a chance to see Lott's devastating interpretation.  It is an emotionally intense 40 minutes for the soprano, and, as here, performing it leaves Lott in tears.  
Christopher Dingle, BBC Music Magazine, June 2013

Bromsgrove Festival

A Celebration of English Song

The New Guesten Hall

What better way to celebrate St. George's Day than in the company of the magnificent Dame Felicity Lott and some of our greatest poets and composers?
A recital such as this is as much an engrossing evening of poetry as it is a vocal performance and the glory of these songs is in the literate and subtle way words and music are mixed, so full marks for including all the words in the programme.
...Dame Felicity’s magnetism embraced us all instantly, creating an immediate rapport...
My own favourites from more than 20 songs included a radiant and hushed performance of Warlock’s My own country, followed by his setting of Sleep, where Wybrew’s piano produced some mesmerising sounds...
The sense of engagement Lott always creates even convinced us that we had understood Auden’s convoluted lyrics in Britten’s As it is, plenty, before beguiling us with a superb rendition of Noël Coward’s wicked A bar on the Piccola Marina: an operatic scena in all but name, with the heroine letting her hair down in irresistibly comic fashion. 
John Gough, The Birmingham Post, 3 May 2013

William Lyne Birthday Gala

Wigmore Hall, London

Lott was at her very loveliest in French, circling around the artful self-pity of Hahn’s Verlaine setting D’une prison, or preening her feathers in Messager’s fanciful L’air du Rossignol.

Neil Fisher, The Times, November 30, 2012

Strauss

Ipswich Orchestral Society

Ispwich Corn Exchange

Dame Felicity Lott has been singing the operas and songs of Richard Strauss to universal acclaim for more than 30 years and, wonderful as the Four Last Songs are, it was good to hear something different – and what a treat it proved to be. The six songs included some of his best known (Morgen) and some of his most inventive –Three Holy Kings contains some extraordinary and ravishing music. From the very first notes the quality of the truly great artist was on display – that of instant and authoritative communication. Her voice was perfectly in keeping with the music, rich, resonant but also brightly incisive. Adam Gatehouse and the orchestra accompanied her with great sensitivity and the stirring woods of Waldselgeit were wonderfully portrayed. Felicity Lott’s charm and sincerity shone through and it was indeed a privilege to hear her.

Gareth Jones, East Anglian Daily Times, November 26, 2012

Song recital

Leeds Lieder Festival

We British have not developed an art-song tradition of our own and do not celebrate the traditions of others in this field – except at the LeedsLieder+ Festival which this year was a triumph.
The final recital, given by Dame Felicity Lott accompanied by Malcolm Martineau, was an unsurpassable sampling of songs in the French ‘Mélodie’ tradition.
Beginning with Duparc’s elegantly lyrical but passionate L’invitation au voyage, Lott moved on to settings by Fauré and Debussy of Verlaine and Baudelaire poems that encompassed so much human experience in a handful of bars, in which her expression and technique were masterly.
The Festival had commissioned new songs from composer Gabriel Jackson, known for his choral works in the British tradition. 
In the hands of Lott and Martineau, they proved to have a vocal line worthy of Duparc and a harmonically clear and luminous piano part with touches of smiling irony.
The finale was a dessert of witty “French froth” – as the Festival brochure put it – including songs by Saint-Saëns, Hahn, Poulenc and Messager. 
They were all delivered by Lott with panache and even, to the surprise of some, a dash of burlesque. In this ambience even her Noel Coward encore, A Talent to Amuse, sounded French!

Chris Robins, The Yorkshire Post, October 14, 2011

Poulenc Recording

Signum Records

Here La courte paille is sung by Felicity Lott with a fine sense of style and real understanding… these are songs that benefit greatly from the kind of musical intelligence Lott has in abundance, and this late cycle makes a fine conclusion to the disc.

International Record Review, May 2011

Operetta gala

Hamburger Symphoniker

Laeiszhalle Hamburg

Nach der ersten Zugabe von Dame Felicity Lott, einer hinreißenden Version von "My Funny Valentine" für Sopran und Streichquartett, setzte sich Jeffrey Tate an den Flügel, drückte eine ziemlich jazzige Begleitung in die Tasten und sang mit heller, klarer Stimme Eric Maschwitz' Lied "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square"…
Auf heitere, vollkommen in sich ruhende und verspielte Art interpretierte diese große Künstlerin einige Liebhaberstücke der vermeintlich leichten Muse - Lieder von Franz Lehar und Oscar Straus, Kurt Weill und Jacques Ibert, Richard Rodgers und Noel Coward. Ihre perfekte Intonation gab ihr jeden Spielraum zu gestalterischer Freiheit, sodass jede der Figuren, die sie auf Deutsch, Französisch und Englisch sang, zu einem eigenen Wesen wurde. Ihr warmes Timbre gab den kaum zählbaren Schlüpfrigkeiten in den Songtexten aus den 10er- bis 40er-Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts eine vergnügliche Erfahrungstiefe. 
"Warum soll eine Frau kein Verhältnis haben?", lautet ein Titel, in einem anderen preist eine Frau die Vorteile, die man mit gleich zwei Liebhabern hat. Und in "Mad About The Boy" öffnete Dame Felicity Lott mehr als einen Spaltbreit die Tür ins Boudoir einer Dame, die für die Amour fou zu einem jungen Kerl eigentlich ein bisschen zu alt ist - und die doch nicht anders kann.

Hamburger Abendblatt, 29 January 2011

Recording with Graham Johnson

Richard Strauss: Songs

Champs Hill Records

Felicity Lott, though highly honored in her native England and given awards by the French, is by and large not as huge a name in America or central Europe as her talents deserve. This is grossly unfair insofar as her artistry goes, for in my opinion Lott is not merely a great soprano but one of the greatest vocal artists of the 20th (and 21st) century. If proof be needed, this is the recording to do it. Recorded in 2002 and originally issued in 2003 as ASV 1155, it presents Lott in her favorite role, that of song stylist, with her recital partner since her student days in 1967, pianist Graham Johnson. (I know marriages that haven’t lasted that long!) As one is accustomed to with Lott, everything is not only impeccably sung but infused with great intelligence and an artist’s eye (or ear, if you will) for the inner meaning of the text, a very personal way of phrasing in nearly every song, and generally great sensitivity to the music in general. Moreover, for the work of a (then) 55-year-old soprano, it is astounding, exhibiting vocal control to match her interpretive skills.
Because Lott and Johnson take such an intimate view of the music, tempos tend to be a shade on the relaxed side, thus Ständchenand Zueignung are not as forceful as one is often used to. On the other hand, she infuses these songs with an entirely new and different feeling that is entirely appropriate to the meaning of the words. Indeed, it is this peculiar feeling of intimacy Lott gives to the whole recital that makes one feel as if she is singing to you and you alone. This is not a skill to be taken lightly; it’s easy to sound intimate but boring, extremely difficult to sound intimate and interesting. Nowhere is this more evident than in one of the most outward and least intimate of all Strauss songs, Cäcilie . By pulling back on the tempo and not attacking every note and phrase as if she were Florence Austral, Lott brings out fully the meaning of the words: “If you only knew what it’s like to despair on lonely nights, surrounded by the storm, while no one comforts with their mild voice your weary soul.” The singer’s soul-weariness is the focus here, not the storm.
Yet this is not to say that she can’t, or doesn’t, sing in a sprightly manner when she’s in the mood. Listen to the performance of Ach, was kummer that immediately follows Cäcilie , and you’ll be amazed at her liveliness, and both she and Johnson revel in the more modern harmonies (and sprightly rhythms) of the Lieder der Ophelia. There’s simply no escaping it: Lott is one of the giants of singing in our lifetime, we are fortunate to have her, and this CD is one of her many treasurable moments. 

Lynn René Bayley, FANFARE, 26 November 2012
... In sum, this is as it should be singing ... A must for connoisseurs of the musical voice.

MusicWeb International

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Recordings

KLEIBER

COMPLETE ORCHESTRAL RECORDINGS

Dame Felicity Lott is interviewed by Jon Tolansky on the Blu-ray Audio CD of these recordings discussing her work with Carlos Kleiber.
Deutsche Grammophon

Elgar in Sussex

This recording contains Elgar's beautiful Piano Quintet in A minor, Three Movements for Piano Trio and seven songs performed by Felicity Lott and Joseph Middleton, piano.

Champs Hill Records

Chausson - Ravel - Duparc

"Lott floats and soars like a dream of heaven in a compilation of French songs from Chausson, Ravel and Duparc.  The world of the French chanson is a sensuous, lilac-scented one, full of pale-cheeked eroticism and vague longing and yet also somehow cool and detached at the same time. It’s a hard mix of songs to pull off, but Lott does it splendidly in this gorgeous disc of orchestral songs and her diction is as clear as a bell." 

Classic FM Album Review

Aeon