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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Mhairi Lawson has performed in opera houses and concert halls worldwide. In the UK, she has regularly collaborated with such companies as The Gabrieli Consort & Players, The Academy of Ancient Music, English National Opera, The Early Opera Company and The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and with many leading conductors such as William Christie, Sir Charles Mackerras, Paul McCreesh, Jane Glover and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in repertoire ranging from traditional folksong to opera.

This season, Mhairi sings Purcell’s King Arthur with the Early Opera Company in London, Bach’s B minor Mass with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, and returns to the Academy of Ancient Music.

Recent highlights include performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and also the Dunedin Consort, Haydn’s Creation with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and also the Arctic Philharmonic, Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht and also BBC NOW, regular residencies at the Carmel Bach Festival in the USA, and performances of Purcell’s King Arthur on tour with the Gabrieli Consort.

With Les Arts Florissants, Mhairi has performed dramatic music by Purcell, Charpentier, Landi and Monteverdi at the Cité de la Musique, Paris, throughout Europe, and London’s Barbican Centre and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall in the UK.

Further afield, Mhairi has sung Bach’s St John Passion in New York’s Lincoln Centre, and in Weimar, Germany, the St Matthew Passion with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, and King Arthur with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco.

She has made many commercial recordings, including Haydn’s Creation with the Choir of New College, Oxford, conducted by Edward Higginbottom, Scottish Jacobite Songs on the Avison Ensemble’s CD Rebellion, and two discs of Schubert Lieder, including the vocal tour de force Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, with clarinettist Jane Booth and pianist Eugene Asti. Mhairi also features on Les Arts Florissants’ 2017 release of Monteverdi Madrigals vol. 3 ‘Venezia’ for Harmonia Mundi, a finalist for the Gramophone Baroque Vocal Award.

With the virtuoso baroque band La Serenissima, Mhairi has recorded many of Vivaldi’s sacred and operatic works and has performed large-scale pieces including La senna festeggiante and La fida ninfa in Venice.

A keen recitalist, engagements have included songs from the British folksong tradition and Lieder by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Strauss and Wolf with appearances in the Edinburgh Festival, Newcastle and York Universities, recordings for BBC Radio 3, and a recital with lutenist Elizabeth Kenny as part of the St Magnus International Festival.

Whilst still a student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Mhairi won the International Early Music Network Young Artists Prize with the fortepianist Olga Tverskaya, which led to her first CD recording of Haydn’s English and Scottish Songs.

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

Bach B minor mass, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Usher Hall Edinburgh (October 2023)

With a luxury line-up of five top-notch vocal soloists… this was always going to be a Bach B minor mass to remember… [the] quintet of soloists each had their moment in the spotlight, sopranos Rowan Pierce and Mhairi Lawson tripping off each other in a jaunty ‘Christe eleison’, while Lawson returned with wonderfully characterful support from orchestra leader Stephanie Gonley in a ‘Laudamus te’ full of blossoming promise.

David Kettle, The Scotsman*****

Purcell King Arthur, Early Opera Company

Temple Church (September 2023)

Mhairi Lawson offered delightful melisma as Cupid, and the two sopranos sounded well together as the Two Sirens of Act 4.

Roy Westbrook, Bachtrack

Mhairi Lawson's delightfully characterful bright spirit… Rowan Pierce and Mhairi Lawson as shepherds full of graceful, shapely elegance… Mhairi Lawson as an engagingly witty Cupid… Mhairi Lawson made St George rather more stylish and less tub-thumping than usual…

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

Handel Scipione (Berenice), Early Opera Company

London Handel Festival (March 2023)

Mhairi Lawson impressed with some stunningly expressive vocalism, particularly in the accompanied recitatives. Her purity of tone and consistency of line brought tremendous dignity and profundity to the siciliano at the end of Act 2 in which Berenice laments the never-ending trials she must forbear; elsewhere Lawson conveyed a gamut of emotions, from bewilderment to self-pity and, in a showstopping outburst of exuberant coloratura fireworks – with super support from vigorous strings and sumptuous oboes and bassoons – feisty resolution.

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

Record Review Radio 3: Building a Library, with Nicholas Kenyon

I think the exuberance of Mhairi Lawson for Paul McCreesh[‘s version of ‘Hark the echoing air'] - rapid fire virtuosity with just a touch of elaboration and a cheerfully rustic trumpet - is just what we need.

Nicholas Kenyon

Handel Messiah, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (January 2023)

From hereon in, the narrative was foremost, whether issued through … the seraphic purity of Mhairi Lawson’s soprano (thoughtfully changing her garb from angelic white in Part 1 to a more demure black in Parts II & III for such golden reflective moments as her I know that my redeemer liveth)

Ken Walton, VoxCarnyx

Handel Messiah, Dunedin Consort, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh

(December 2021)

It was a directness mirrored in his quartet of soloists’ contributions. Mhairi Lawson’s I know That My Redeemer Liveth, for example, was a simple, sincere expression of faith, and all the more powerful for that, delivered with her exquisite silvery soprano.

David Kettle, The Scotsman*****

Bach St Matthew Passion, BBC National Orchestra of Wales

St David’s Hall Cardiff (April 2022)

…soprano Mhairi Lawson gave a haunting account of the Aria: ‘For love will my Redeemer die.’

Peter Collins, Nation Cymru

CD: Chisholm: Songs, Delphian DCD34259

(October 2021)

A rather different style of humour is on display in Glances, which John Purser aptly sums up as “highly suggestive and harmonically coquettish”. Mhairi Lawson and Iain Burnside deliver this with a definite twinkle in the eye. …Diarmait's Sleep, sung by Mhairi Lawson, is a touching lullaby to a sleeping lover. This is beautifully performed, as is Lament, which is all the more affecting on account of the restraint of the setting. Right at the end of the programme Ms Lawson gives us Home Sickness. This is very beautiful. …The penultimate song, ‘Innocence’ has Ms Lawson back in front of the microphone. This may well be my favourite among the set; its simple eloquence touches the heart and the fragile delicacy of Mhairi Lawson’s singing is just right. …Their voices sound extremely pleasing and the clarity of voice and of diction that each of them brings to their respective performances is very welcome.

John Quinn, MusicWeb International

Reflective prayers and laments are given a spring-water freshness by Lawson’

David Patrick Stearns, Gramophone

Handel Brockes-Passion, Arcangelo, Alpha Classics

ALPHA644 (March 2021)

Mhairi Lawson’s shining soprano excels in her reflective arias towards the end of the work (the assuaging ‘Was Wunder, dass der Sonnen Pracht’, softly coloured by bassoons, is one of several foretastes of Acis and Galatea).


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

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)


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


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
Cantata 51 ‘Jauchtzet Gott’
Cantata 211 'Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht'
234 Kyrie-Gloria Mass in A major
Christmas Oratorio
Easter Oratorio
Passions of St John and St Matthew

CPE Bach



Ein Deutsches Requiem


Te Deum


Stabat Mater




Apollo e Dafne
Brockes Passion
La Resurrezione (Angelos)
The Triumph of Time and Truth (Deceit)


The Creation
Il ritorno di Tobia (Sarah)
The Seasons




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


Stabat Mater


Carmina Burana


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


An English Passion According to St Matthew

'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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