Mezzo-soprano

Ann Murray DBE

Ann Murray’s extraordinary career has taken her to the greatest opera houses and orchestras in the world. Amongst her many accolades, in 2002 Ann Murray was appointed an honorary Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Golden Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Honours. In 2004 she was awarded the Bavarian Order of Merit.

© Sian Trenberth

Introduction

Ann Murray was born in Dublin. She has close links with both the English National Opera, for whom she has sung the title roles in Handel Xerxes and Ariodante and Donizetti Maria Stuarda, and with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where her roles have included Cherubino, Dorabella, Donna Elvira, Rosina, Octavian, new productions of L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Ariadne auf Naxos, Idomeneo, Mitridate, Re di Ponto, Cosi fan Tutte, Mosé in Egitto, Alcina and Giulio Cesare.

Her international operatic engagements have taken her to Hamburg, Dresden, Cologne, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Zurich, Brussels, Amsterdam, Milan, Vienna, Salzburg, the Chicago Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

In concert, she has appeared with the world’s great orchestras and her recital appearances have taken her to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Geneva, Dresden, Zurich, Frankfurt, Madrid, London, Dublin, the Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Munich and Salzburg Festivals and both the Konzerthaus and Musikverein in Vienna. Her discography reflects not only her broad concert and recital repertoire but also many of her great operatic roles.


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Discography

  • More info  
    Decades: A Century of Song volume 1, 1810-1820

    Label: Vivat

    Release Date: 20 May 16

    The first volume in a major new recording series across which a host of world-renowned singers draw listeners, decade by decade, through a century of song, from 1810 to 1910. This disc includes songs from Austria, Bohemia, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, by Franz Schubert, Fernando Sor, Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Fabry- Garat, Sophie Gail, Václav Tomáek, Giovanni Battista Viotti, and Carl Maria von Weber. Michael Schade, Lorna Anderson, Sylvia Schwartz, Ann Murray DBE and Florian Boesch are accompanied by the series creator, pianist Malcolm Martineau.

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    The Complete Songs of Fauré, Vol. 1

    Label: Signum Records

    Release Date: 17 Jun 16

    Murray/Anderson/Chest/Cliffe/Davies/Johnson/Kelly/Rodgers. Piano: Malcolm Martineau

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    Brahms & Schumann: Lieder

    Label: Linn Records

    Release Date: 10 Feb 15

    Ann Murray, mezzo soprano Malcolm Martineau, piano with John Mark Ainsley, Benjamin Appl, Hester Dickson, Johnny Langridge

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    HANDEL: Giulio Cesare

    Label: BSO

    Release Date: 01 Sep 12

    Bayerische Staatsoper / Bolton

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    MOZART: La Clemenza di Tito

    Label: Teledec

    Release Date: 14 Jun 05

    Concentus Musicus / Harnoncourt

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    BRITTEN: Phaedra

    Label: Naxos

    Release Date: 29 Jan 04

    ECO / Bedford

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    HANDEL: Xerxes

    Label: ENO DVD

    Release Date: 01 Jan 00

    English National Opera

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    HANDEL: Ariodante

    Label: BSO

    Release Date: 01 Jan 00

    Bayerische Staatsoper / Bolton

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    MOZART: Don Giovanni

    Label: Opus Arte DVD

    Release Date: 05 Feb 97

    La Scala Milan

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    03 Oct 16 Purcell Dido and Aeneas
    St John's Smith Square

    She played someone who has achieved a lot in public life and then gets it wrong in love. Stately, adored and vulnerable, we really wanted to get to grips with what she had done to deserve the nastiness of the Witches.
    Planet Hugill/ Ruth Hansford

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    12 Jul 16 FAURE Complete Songs of Fauré, Vol 1
    Murray/Anderson/Chest/Cliffe/Davies/Johnson/Kelly/Rodgers/Martineau

    “Ann Murray, who spins long, velvety lines in songs ranging from Fauré’s first published work to the Cinq Mélodies “de Venise”, taking in a gorgeously supple Après un Rêve on the way.”
    Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 7 July 2016 

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    21 Apr 16 Irish Culture in Britain: A Centenary Celebration / 21 April 2016
    Wigmore Hall

    “Just as deep melancholy, and a recollection of what Yeats called a “terrible beauty”, threatened to overwhelm us all, Ann Murray leapt in with a dazzle of patter-song doggerel. The traditional Phil the Fluter’s Ball – “with the toot of the flute and the twiddle on the fiddle-o, Hopping in the middle like a herrin’ on a griddle-o” – brought the house down.
    Murray was then presented, by Daniel Mulhall, the Irish ambassador, and John Gilhooly, with the Wigmore Medal. She deserved it for that performance alone, delivered with the finger-pointing, gossipy aplomb of one who might have propped up a Dublin bar all her life. Luckily for us she has, so far, decided against that path, preferring a world-class operatic, oratorio and lieder career which continues, after some four decades, busy as ever.”
    Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 24th April 2016

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    26 Oct 15 Britten The Turn of the Screw
    Aurora Orchestra, Snape Maltings Aldeburgh - 24 October 2015; St Luke's London - 26 October 2015

    “In a fine cast, everyone hit a raw nerve. Bevan, in lustrous voice, lost a few words but commanded attention. Ann Murray made a remarkably potent Mrs Grose, and the two ghosts, Staples’s Quint and Jane Irwin’s Miss Jessel, had plenty of petulant vehemence. The children, Joshua Kenney’s Miles and Louise Moseley’s Flora, provided perfectly horrible blank complicity as the screw turned.”
    Neil Fisher, The Times, 29 October 2015 

    “inflecting with an intelligence and subtlety that suggests housekeeper Mrs Grose understands more than she says”
    David Nice, The Arts Desk, 27 October 2015 

    “Ann Murray’s convincing Mrs Grose”
    Helen Wallace, Classical-Music.com, 28 October 2015 

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    18 Aug 15 Mozart Le nozze di Figaro
    Salzburg Festival

    “Ann Murray, on crisp, Maggie Smith form, sizzled as Marzellina.”
    Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 23 August 2015

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    24 Feb 15 CD BRAHMS & SCHUMANN: LIEDER
    Malcolm Martineau, Linn Records

    “Ann Murray sings with still-steady tone, sensitive phrasing and a quiet, concentrated intensity, flaring into passion in the central ‘An die Königin Elisabeth’ and culminating in a hypnotic, otherworldly ‘Gebet’ as Mary prays for deliverance. Here, and elsewhere, Murray has the art of increasing the tension without raising the volume.”
    Richard Wigmore, Gramophone Magazine http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/brahms-schumann-lieder

    “Here are 25 songs that take you to the heights of 19th Century Romanticism, performed beautifully by some of the best current Lieder artists. … This is a marvelous Lieder album.”
    Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News, 1 March 2015 

    ‘Her Schumann selection begins with a touchingly delivered account of the Poems of Mary, Queen of Scots in which her artistic intelligence and commitment are as apparent as her skilful balance between words and notes.’
    BBC Music Magazine (June 2015)

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    27 Jun 14 Britten 'Peter Grimes': 26, 27, 29 June 2014
    Davies Symphony Hall

    with San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas

    “Mezzo-soprano Ann Murray was warm-voiced, a charmer as Auntie, landlady of the Boar, the village’s public house.”
    Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News, 27 June 2014

    “superb dramatic and vocal contributions are made by mezzo Ann Murray, as Auntie, the owner of the local pub”
    David Wiegand, SFGate, 27 June 2014 

    “Ann Murray, Nikki Einfeld, and Abilgail Nims did fine work as Auntie and her two nieces”
    Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice, 26 June 2014 

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    13 Jan 14 Brahms Recital with Hanno-Müller-Brachmann
    Wigmore Hall

    “Her still-penetrating mezzo was the highlight of the evening. This voice has had one careful owner and it shows in the way Murray really sings through Brahms’s cantabile lines while losing nothing in theatrical awareness. As a teardrop flows down the face of the narrator of Die Mainacht, so did Murray’s voice pour out similar pathos; in arguably the classic Brahms lied, Von ewiger Liebe, eloquent gesture and expression were fused.”
    Neil Fisher / The Times / 15 January 2014

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    11 Aug 13 Mozart Le nozze di Figaro
    Rose Theater, New York

    “The veteran mezzo-soprano Ann Murray, as Marcellina, and the blustery baritone Andrew Shore, as Bartolo, who have their own reasons for trying to derail Figaro’s marriage to Susanna, bring not a trace of stock comic posturing to their winning portrayals.”
    Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, 12 August 2013 

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    01 Dec 12 Britten Centenary / December 2012
    Wigmore Hall

    “Ann Murrays … singing of the final one, ‘The nurse’s song from The Play of Patient Grissell was a master class in the art of sustaining a legato line whilst providing the most telling interpretation.”
    Music OMH Web, Melanie Eskenazi, December 2012

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    01 Nov 12 Vaughan Williams The Pilgrim's Progress
    English National Opera

    “Ann Murray makes vivid cameos of Madam Bubble in the Vanity Fair scene (a riot of colour thanks to Sue Wil­mington’s fancy-dress costumes, in marked contrast to her prison wear) and Mrs By-Ends.”

    Hugh Canning Sunday Times

    “ENO favourites Ann Murray and Timothy Robinson twitter and titillate in the multiple leading roles”

    Anna Picard Independent on Sunday

    “several of ENO’s brightest young hopes – Benedict Nelson and Kitty Whately among them – complement expert old-timers such as Timothy Robinson and Ann Murray in a variety of minor roles.”

    Rupert Christiansen The Telegraph

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    01 Jun 12 Mozart Le Nozze Di Figaro
    Glyndebourne Festival

    “More entertaining singing came from the comprimario roles, a splendidly eccentric triumvirate of Ann Murray as Marcellina”
    Mike Reynolds Musical Criticism

    ‘…and the double act of Ann Murray’s bird-like Marcellina and Andrew Shore’s explosive Bartolo is treasurable.’
    Edward Seckerson The Independent

    ‘The best performances come from Marcellina (Ann Murray), dowdy Bartolo (Andrew Shore) and louche Basilio (Alan Oke), three feisty characters in search of a real drama to get their teeth into.’

    Andrew Clements The Guardian

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    23 Apr 12 Donizetti La Fille du Regiment
    Royal Opera House

    April 2012’She made the part just as much her own as she did on the last two outings, continually impressing for her comic sensibility as much as her superb vocal performance. She simply commanded the stage with ‘Pour une femme de mon nom’, her lower register particularly plush and resonant.’
    John E. De Wald Opera Brittania

    ‘Ann Murray and Donald Maxwell, excel as the La Marquise de Berkenfeld and Hortensius with their brilliant command of comic gesture and timing’

    Sam Smith Music OMH

    ‘Ann Murray was in particularly fine comic form as the Marquise de Birkenfield who spirits Marie away from the regiment to her ancestral château, particularly impressive as she plays the piano for Marie’s singing lesson while singing her own lines and staying thoroughly in character.’

    David Karlin / Bach Track

    ‘Ann Murray again demonstrates her peerless dry comic stagecraft as the Marquise de Berkenfeld’

    Graham Rogers / The Stage

    ‘Ann Murray was superbly ridiculous as the traumatised and desperate Marquise de Berkenfield (especially her alternate straight man/fall guy “singing lessons” with Marie and Sulpice: the singing about singing produced some of the best moments in the opera)’

    ASH Smyth The Arts Desk