About Susanna

English soprano Susanna Fairbairn studied under the tutelage of Dennis O’Neill, Nuccia Focile and Alison Wells at the Wales International Academy of Voice and Trinity College of Music, and was an Instrumental Scholar whilst studying flute at Magdalen College, Oxford. She won the Dvořák Society for Czech and Slovak Music Prize at the 2015 Emmy Destinn Competition, the Selma D and Leon Fishbach Memorial Prize at the 2014 London Handel Singing Competition, was a 2013 Park Lane Group Young Artist, and now continues to forge a successful operatic and solo career. She currently learns with Raymond Connell.

About Us

Susanna looks forward to making her Wigmore Hall recital début with duo partner Matthew Schellhorn in June next year. She will also be travelling the UK once again with English Touring Opera in Spring 2016, performing the roles of 1st Priestess and Greek Woman Iphygénie en Tauride, Bice Pia de’ Tolomei, and Donna Anna (cover) Don Giovanni. Susanna’s previous roles with ETO have included Eleonora Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo and Gismonda (cover) Ottone. This autumn she is performing at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and in Hamburg and Versailles in Gluck’s Orphée for John Eliot Gardiner.

Other operatic roles include Juno La Calisto (Hampstead Garden Opera), Donna Elvira Don Giovanni (Co-Opera Co. and Opera Vera), Armida Rinaldo (dir. Nicholas Kraemer), Lady Billows Albert Herring (dir. Steuart Bedford/Bill Bankes-Jones), and Papagena Magic Flute (Opera in Oborne, including offstage flute). She created the role of Agrippina in Fragments of Sun, written for her by Effy and Litha Efthymiou and premiered at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival 2012. Chorus work includes Carmen at the Opéra Comique, Paris and Grand Théâtre, Luxembourg, including the acting/fighting part of Manuelita (dir. John Eliot Gardiner/Adrian Noble), and Le Freischütz again at the Opéra Comique and BBC Proms 2012.

Solo appearances this autumn include Beethoven Symphony No. 9, Mozart Requiem, Bruckner Te Deum, Messiah in Oslo, and Beethoven’s great concert aria Ah! perfido. She will also be performing David Blake’s From the Mattress Grave with Ensemble Isis in Oxford.

Previous significant solo engagements have included Schumann with The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Israel in Egypt at Cadogan Hall and covering Missa Solemnis on an international tour of Beethoven, all with John Eliot Gardiner; Messiah at the Wales Millennium Centre; St. John Passion in Birmingham Symphony Hall; Tavener Veil of the Temple in Canterbury Cathedral in the composer’s presence; Dvořák Stabat Mater; Finzi Dies Natalis; Poulenc Gloria; Carmina Burana; Mozart C Minor Mass at the Trinity College of Music Sir Charles Mackerras Memorial Concert conducted by Sian Edwards; and two solo appearances on BBC One – O Holy Night on Christmas Day 2010 and The One Show in May 2014. She was also heard on the soundtrack of the BBC adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, now available as a track on iTunes.

A keen recitalist and explorer of contemporary music, Susanna made her Southbank début in the 2013 Park Lane Group January series at the Purcell Room, where she returned to perform Judith Weir King Harald’s Saga and Messiaen Poèmes pour Mi alongside Jane Manning in 2014. With pianist Matthew Schellhorn she appeared there again at the start of this year performing Joseph Horovitz and Robert Saxton, and has performed many recitals around the country with Matthew.

Susanna met with success from the moment she decided to swap the flute for a career as a singer. Even before she had had many lessons, she won an Apprenticeship with The Monteverdi Choir and John Eliot Gardiner, leading to a busy international touring schedule with the group, performing in top world venues such as Carnegie Hall New York, Vienna Musikverein, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and all of London’s major venues. This somehow jigsawed together with her postgraduate studies at Trinity College of Music, where she was supported by the Linda Pilgrim Charitable Trust, a Henry Wood House Bursary and TCM Scholarship, and won the Paul Simm Opera Prize, Wilfred Greenhouse Allt Prize, and the English Song Competition.

When not singing, Susanna can be found eating taramasalata, riding her red Brompton bicycle, or sweating it out in the 40 degree heat of a Bikram Yoga class. She recently qualified as an Open Water Diver in the beautiful seas of Borneo.


'And best of all ... outstanding'

The Times

'The strongest performance came from soprano Susanna Fairbairn as a blazing, venom-spitting Juno who easily stole the show with her electric stage presence and brilliant delivery'

Early Music Today

'Susanna Fairbairn got around these dizzying corners with justified confidence. Her range (tested to the extreme) was also outstanding, her diction good. ... Her searing expressivity was really exposed in Weir's A Spanish Liederbooklet ...'


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