Mhairi Lawson

Soprano

"…true Handelian style surfaces in the voice of Mhairi Lawson…"

Hilary Finch The Times

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

Hugh Canning The Sunday Times

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

George Hall 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, Jane Glover and Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Recent and future highlights include performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Hallé Orchestra and with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Purcell’s King Arthur with the Academy of Ancient Music at the Barbican Centre, the title role in Semele with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Galatea Acis and Galatea and Bach’s B minor mass with the Gabrieli Consort, Venus Venus and Adonis with the Dunedin Consort, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Raphaël Pichon, a residency at the Carmel Bach Festival in the USA, a recital with lutenist Elizabeth Kenny as part of the St Magnus International Festival, and Mhairi continues her recital collaboration with Eugene Asti.  Mhairi also features on Les Arts Florissants’ recent release of Monteverdi Madrigals vol. 3 ‘Venezia’ for Harmonia Mundi. 

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

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

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, planethugill.com

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, bachtrack.com

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, bachtrack.com

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, Classicalsource.com

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, Musicalcriticism.com

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 Concert Repertoire

Bach

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

CPE Bach

Magnificat

Brahms

Ein Deutsches Requiem

Dvorak

Stabat Mater

Fauré

Requiem

Handel

Messiah
Solomon
Jephtha
Joshua
Deborah
Athalia
Samson

Haydn

The Creation
Harmoniemesse

Mendelssohn

Elijah

Mozart

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

Pergolesi

Stabat Mater

Orff

Carmina Burana

Vivaldi

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

Mhairi Lawson’s Operatic Repertoire

Albinoni

Il Nascimento dell’Aurora (Zeffiro)

Cavalli

La Didone (Cassandra, Junone)

Charpentier

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

Handel

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)

Hasse

Antonio e Cleopatra (Cleopatra)

Landi

Il Sant’Alessio (Curtio)

Menotti

The Consul (Anna Gomez)

Monteverdi

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

Pergolesi

La serva padrona (Serpina)

Poulenc

Dialogues of the Carmelites (Madame Lidoine)

Puccini

Suor Angelica (Genevieve)
Gianni Schicchi (Nella)

Purcell

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

Scarlatti

La gloria di Primavera (Primavera)

Sullivan

Iolanthe (Phyllis)
HMS Pinafore (Josephine)

Vivaldi

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

Weill

Threepenny Opera (Polly)

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