Mhairi Lawson


"Mhairi Lawson sang with precision and agility, injecting colour and weight into her soprano with expressive thoughtfulness"


"True Handelian style surfaces in the voice of Mhairi Lawson"

The Times

"…a crystal stream of pure, limpid soprano sound…"

The Sunday Times

"Soprano Mhairi Lawson proves as unfailingly beautiful in tone as she is neat in execution"

BBC Music Magazine

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As a soloist Mhairi Lawson has performed in opera houses and concert halls worldwide including English National Opera, Les Arts Florissants, The Gabrieli Consort and The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and with leading conductors such as William Christie, Sir Charles Mackerras, Paul McCreesh, John Butt, Richard Egarr, and Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Recent and future highlights include performances of, Galatea Acis and Galatea, Bach’s B minor mass and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and King Arthur with the Gabrieli Consort, Venus Venus and Adonis with the Dunedin Consort, Diane/Daphne in Charpentier’s Acteon with the Early Opera Copmany, Haydn’s Creation with the Arctic Philharmonic, regular residencies at the Carmel Bach Festival in the USA, and Mhairi continues her recital collaboration with Eugene Asti. Engagements that could sadly not take place in 2020 include Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Bach’s St Matthew Passion with BBC NOW.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Purcell: Songs & Ayres, Dunedin Consort at the Lammermuir Festival

(September 2020)

Dunedin programmes are always inventive affairs, and this one showed not just a creative choice of repertoire, but joy taken in the variety of what was on offer, crowned by Mhairi Lawson’s shining soprano which gave the songs star quality that they probably didn’t have when they were first performed.

Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard International

Purcell King Arthur 1691, Gabrieli Consort & Players

Signum Classics SIGCD589 (October 2019)

Nine singers shared the songs and choruses between them, a flawless ensemble of equals, though Anna Dennis and Mhairi Lawson stood out as a seductive pair of sirens.

Tim Ashley, The Guardian*****

​ Purcell King Arthur, Gabrieli Consort & Players, St John’s Smith Square

(October 2019)

Overall, this is a cultivated performance, well sung and played …First-rate voices are onboard, including Anna Dennis, Mhairi Lawson…

Richard Fairman, The Financial Times****

​ Purcell King Arthur, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Auditorio Baluarte

Pamplona (October 2019)

The most important sopranos were Anna Dennis and Mhairi Lawson, who among other pages offered a delicious duet, in which the two shone in their own light.

José M. Irurzun, Beckmesser

It is important to mention the other three vocal soloists, the soprano Mhairi Lawson, the tenor Jeremy Budd and the bassist Robert Davies (replacing Marcus Farnsworth), who in all their solo interventions were singing at a high tessitura.

Enrique Bert, Platea Magazine

Handel and the Rival Queens, Early Opera Company, St John’s Smith Square

(April 2019)

Lawson delivered Bordoni’s florid numbers with neat technical fluency.

Hugh Canning, The Times

Purcell King Arthur, Gabrieli Consort & Players

Melbourne Recital Centre (February 2019)

All six of Gabrieli’s high-calibre soloists brought something special, including soprano Mhairi Lawson and bass-baritone Ashley Riches injecting gentle fun into the masque led by Cupid and the Cold Genius.

Patricia Maunder, Limelight Magazine

Soprano shepherdesses Anna Dennis and Mhairi Lawson blended marvelously … The final duet of this act was a beautifully engaging parley between Riches and Lawson, both blending, matching so engagingly, leading everyone to join in a rousing “'Tis Love that has warm'd us”. It was an uplifting way to end. Even the conductor joined in.

Brian Angus, Bachtrack

Handel The Triumph of Time and Truth, Instruments of Time and Truth

King’s Place (October 2018)

…as her carpe diem aria swings into “Life consists in the present hour”, Handel at his finest blazes through with a bravura flame, tended by an accomplished soprano who knows exactly how to project every subtle touch of warmth, wit and grace into this music.

Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk****

Bach Fest, Carmel Bach Festival

(July 2018)

The soloists were superb. Soprano Mhairi Lawson’s supple vocal beauty lent a special grace to the evening.

Barbara Rose Shuler, The Monterey Herald

Mad Women, Queens & Lovers, East Neuk Festival

(June 2018)

As ever, Lawson’s engaging delivery found purity and passion in nascent operatic numbers by Carissimi, Francesca Caccini and Monteverdi, set within a framework of couthy Scots songs, and English ones by Purcell and Lawes.

Ken Walton, The Scotsman

Mozart Mass in C Minor

Scottish Chamber Orchestra (February 2018)

Anna Dennis and Mhairi Lawson were contrasting but well-matched as Butt’s two soprano soloists.

David Kettle, The Scotsman*****

Songs From The Heart, National Centre for Early Music

York (February 2018)

The most ornate songs were the Haydn settings edited by Domenico Corri … Lawson never let the virtuosity come to the fore, but was beautifully integrated into the song itself.

Steve Crowther, The York Press

King Arthur, Academy of Ancient Music

Barbican (October 2017)

Mhairi Lawson sang with precision and agility, injecting colour and weight into her soprano with expressive thoughtfulness.

Claire Seymour, OperaToday

Mhairi Lawson, whose swallow-like soprano was on fine form.

Hannah Nepil, Financial Times

Mhairi Lawson … made an effective contribution.

Neil Fisher, The Times

Mozart Mass in C Minor, K.427

Carmel Bach Festival (July 2017)

In the following Christe section, Mozart introduces the E-flat relative major with an expressive and joyful solo sung by soprano Mhairi Lawson, whose range was tested as she sang a long, soft b-flat and a-flat below middle C, and then jumped dramatically to the a-flat two octaves higher. It was a thrilling moment and beautifully accomplished by Ms. Lawson.

Lyn Bronson, Peninsula Reviews

Recording: The Sunlight on the Garden: The Songs of Stephen Wilkinson

Signature (June 2017)

The more overt brightness of Mhairi Lawson, exquisite in ‘Winter Snow’ and ‘Proud Songsters’

Tim Ashley, Gramophone

Handel Semele (title)

CBSO / Egarr, Symphony Hall, Birmingham (January 2017)

In the title role, Mhairi Lawson soared like a morning lark through these emotional thunderstorms, delivering her solo numbers with celestial tone.

Rebecca Franks, The Times

Cryptic, Fantasy and Madness, Dunedin Consort

Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh (October 2016)

Singers Mhairi Lawson and Matthew Brook – both ruddy-cheeked and grinning suggestively – gave brilliantly vivid performances, full of vocal theatrics, savouring every word for its dramatic potential. Lawson’s tearjerking Plaint from Purcell’s The Fairy Queen was as heartbreaking as it was exquisite.

David Kettle The Scotsman

Handel Apollo e Dafne, Ensemble Maryas

Linn Records CKD 543 (October 2016)

[Lawson’s] exquisite entrance aria, ‘Felicissima quest’alma’, barely touches the ground, so lightly spun are its phrases.

Alexandra Coghlan, Gramophone

The heroic bluster of ‘Spezza l’arco’ beautifully sets up Dafne’s oboe-gilded first number which is exquisitely shaped by Mhairi Lawson (no wonder Apollo is smitten).

Paul Rily, BBC Music Magazine

Mhairi Lawson, as Dafne, and Callum Thorpe, as Apollo, are in complete command of all this glorious music, and bring it to life with enormous dramatic energy, ably partnered by Ensemble Marsyas’s superb playing.

Alastair Harper, Early Music Review

I find Mhairi Lawson ideal as Dafne; she has caught the measure of the expressive qualities required and is also able to articulate the somewhat fragile nature of Daphne's plight. All this is contrasted with her determination and with a variety of vocal colours.

Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International

Purcell The Fairy Queen, Academy of Ancient Music

Barbican, London (October 2016)

Unforgettable in the last act was Lawson’s appearance as Juno, vogueing in a tricorn hat, while singing in top form. She captured perfectly the joy of this extraordinary, bizarre entertainment.

Cary Gee, Tribune

Idomeneo (Elettra)

Carmel Bach Festival (July 2016)

Lawson, making her stunning festival debut this summer, electrified as the seething, jealous Elettra.

Barbara Rose Shuler, Monterey Herald

Purcell King Arthur, Early Opera Company / Curnyn

Wigmore Hall, London (February 2015)

Sopranos Joélle Harvey and Mhairi Lawson duetted ravishingly as sirens out to waylay the unsuspecting Arthur…The whole thing was a classy entertainment, and hugely enjoyable.

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

Act two saw Mhairi Lawson as a vividly characterful and finely sung Philomel. Throughout the evening Lawson showed skill at combining immense charm, vivid and rather wicked sense of characterisation whilst never distorting the musical line.

Robert Hugill,

Handel Messiah, Royal Northern Sinfonia / McCreesh

The Sage Gateshead (December 2014)

Lawson’s light, agile voice was perfect for the ecstatic soprano arias: “Rejoice greatly” exuded pure, uncomplicated happiness and “I know that my Redeemer liveth” was quietly serene, and sung with a smile.

Jane Shuttleworth,

Each soloist – soprano Juliet Bauer, countertenor James Laing, vigorous tenor Samuel Boden and robust bass Ben Bevan – was given a moment to shine by the composer. The soprano air, Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Sion, was a model of precision.

Rob Barnes, The Journal

Schubert’s Abendröte Cycle

Oxford Lieder Festival

He shared the “Abendröte” (Sunset) cycle with soprano Mhairi Lawson, well-known for outstanding work in early opera and the Italian Baroque. She has a real talent for the intimate scale of Lieder – always engaging with wit and charm. Lawson knows every part of every note and word not just the general phrase and she really does “tell the story” contrasting the skittishness of “Die Vögel; ” with the exquisite stillness of “Das Mädchen “. Both singers demonstrated great stagecraft, a quality not always evident in lieder recitals, and closed the evening with the slightly sentimental duet “Licht und Liebe”.

Cary Gee, Tribune

Recital at the Spitalfields Festival

London (June 2014)

Things could only get better, and they did. At 6.30pm a lucky few who had tickets assembled at an address down a back street, which turned out to be the large and deeply eccentric house of a long-standing friend of the Festival. There we heard a concert of Baroque song from England and Italy, together with some of the Scots songs collected by Robert Burns. They were sung with engaging vigour and grace by Mhairi Lawson, ably partnered by Christian Curmyn at the harpsichord. It was a delight.

Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph

Handel Messiah, City of Bath Bach Choir

Bath Abbey (March 2014)

Mhairi Lawson’s soprano was very fine: I enjoyed Rejoice Greatly, immaculately phrased and paced.

Lloyd Williams, The Bath Chronicle

Bach St Matthew Passion, Royal Northern Sinfonia / Zehetmair

The Sage Gateshead (April 2014)

Mhairi Lawson was equally outstanding in the soprano arias.

Alfred Hicking, The Guardian

Soprano Mhairi Lawson’s “Blute nur” was full of emotion, sighing in anguish against the pulsing flow of the accompanying flutes and strings, and her “Aus Liebe” was touching in its innocence, surrounded by a protective cocoon of wind instruments, led by the expressive flute of Juliette Bausor. Lawson and countertenor Christopher Ainslie blended wonderfully in their duet “So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen”, their twisting lines dripping with woe.

Jane Shuttleworth,

Soprano Mhairi Lawson's voice had a ringing clarity and soared to the heavens in Blute nur.

Gavin Engelbrecht, The Northern Echo

York Baroque Soloists

York Early Music Festival, York Minster (July 2013)

Here the shining exemplar of his coloratura writing was the soprano Mhairi Lawson. Her infectious smile was reflected in her glowing tone, particularly in the tour de force of Saeviat Tellus (Let the earth rage).

Martin Dreyer, The York Press

Mhairi Lawson’s florid division, diction and charismatic delivery were flawless.

David Vickers, Early Music Review

Handel Esther (Esther), Dunedin Consort

Wigmore Hall, London (April 2013)

Mhairi Lawson’s lucid soprano gave Esther's persuasive powers clarity and purpose.

George Hall, The Guardian

The character of Esther herself has to wait until the second act before taking the stage. Soprano Mhairi Lawson was the perfect choice, shaping phrases intelligently and becomingly; her diction throughout was exemplary – particularly noteworthy in the final act’s “O gracious King, my people spare.

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International

Venice By Night (Avie AV 2257)

La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler (dir)

…sensuous vocal accompaniment provided by Mhairi Lawson.

Early Music Today

Vivaldi L’Olimpiade, Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music (May 2012)

St. John's, Smith Square, London

But it was soprano Mhairi Lawson as Aminta who stole the show, demonstrating a flawless technique throughout, and dispatching the fiendishly difficult “Siam navi all’onde algenti” with effortless style.

Laura Battle, The Financial Times

Sir Charles Mackerras Memorial Concert

Royal Festival Hall (November 2010)

Mhairi Lawson (replacing an indisposed Rebecca Evans) was as sensitive in 'How beautiful are the feet' from Messiah as she was deft in 'Let the bright seraphim' from Samson.

Richard Whitehouse,

Lawson, if a little soft-grained, was throughout exactly the kind of musicianly, personable singer Mackerras adored

David Nice, The Arts Desk

Handel Jephtha, Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh, Barbican Hall London

(July 2009)

I’ll also remember Jephtha’s daughter, Mhairi Lawson’s clear-voiced Iphis – light as a fairy in Tune the soft melodious flute, touchingly fragile minutes later after accepting her lot as a sacrificial offering.

Geoff Brown, The Times

Mhairi Lawson (Iphis) is a great communicator, charmingly seductive but also disciplined and tasteful. She told the story with suitable pure voice, lovely tone-colour changes, facial expressions …

Agnes Kory,

Handel Acis and Galatea, Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh, Wigmore Hall London

(February 2009)

…hers was the very epitome of sweet English song.

Hilary Finch, The Times

…Mhairi Lawson and James Gilchrist making an ecstatic pair of lovers…

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

Haydn The Creation, Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh, Swansea Festival

(October 2009)

Mhairi Lawson was full of vocal vitality and elegance, the sound of her voice rising above the whole ensemble striking and the intimacy of address in her work as Eve a particular pleasure.

Glyn Pursglove, Seen and Heard

Mhairi Lawson’s Operatic Repertoire


Il Nascimento dell’Aurora (Zeffiro)


Venus and Adonis


La Didone (Cassandra, Junone)


Actæon (Junone, Diane)
La descent d’Orphée aux enfers (Daphne, Proserpine)
David et Jonathas (Premier Berger)


Agrippina (Nerone)
Alcina (Morgana)
Ariodante (Ginevra)
Xerxes (Atalanta, Romilda)
Giulio Cesare (Cleopatra)
Hercules (Їole)
Acis and Galatea (Galatea)
Aci, Galatée e Polifemo (Aci)
Saul (Michal)
Semele (Semele)
Clori, Tirsi e Fileno (Tirsi)


Antonio e Cleopatra (Cleopatra)


Il Sant’Alessio (Curtio)


The Consul (Anna Gomez)


L'Orfeo (la Musica, Speranza, Proserpina)
L'Incoronazione di Poppea (Drusilla)


La serva padrona (Serpina)


Dialogues of the Carmelites (Madame Lidoine)


Suor Angelica (Genevieve)
Gianni Schicchi (Nella)


Indian Queen (God of Dreams)
Fairy Queen (All female roles)
King Arthur (All female roles)
Dido and Aeneas (All female roles)


La gloria di Primavera (Primavera)


Iolanthe (Phyllis)
HMS Pinafore (Josephine)


La fida ninfa (Morasto)
Giustino (Arianna)
Tito Manlio (Lucio)
La Senna Festeggiante (L’Età dell’Oro)


Threepenny Opera (Polly)

Mhairi Lawson’s Concert Repertoire


B minor Mass
Christmas Oratorio
Easter Oratorio
Cantata 51 ‘Jauchtzet Gott’
Passions of St John and St Matthew

CPE Bach



Ein Deutsches Requiem


Stabat Mater






The Creation




C Minor Mass
Davide Penitente
Mass in C KV317
Vespers KV339
Exsultate Jubilate


Stabat Mater


Carmina Burana


Gloria and Introduzione
Various Motets, including ‘Nulla in mundo pax sincera’

'Love and Dreams' - with Eugene Asti (piano)

Lawson Asti Love And Dreams

'It Fell on a Summer's Day' - with Elizabeth Kenny (lute)

Lawson Kenny It Fell On A Summers Day

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