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 was a 2013 Park Lane Young Artist, winner of the Selma D and Leon Fishbach Memorial Prize at the 2014 London Handel Singing Competition, and sings with English Touring Opera in the 2014-2015 season.

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At Trinity College of Music, Susanna 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. During her studies, an Apprenticeship with The Monteverdi Choir and John Eliot Gardiner lead 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 concert halls, churches and cathedrals.

Susanna now continues to forge a successful career in opera and as a soloist. She appeared as Juno in Hampstead Garden Opera’s highly successful 2014 production of La Calisto, to great critical acclaim. Other operatic roles include Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni for 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.

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; Mozart/C Minor Mass at the Trinity College of Music Sir Charles Mackerras Memorial Concert conducted by Sian Edwards; Tavener/Veil of the Temple in Canterbury Cathedral in the composer’s presence; Dvořák/Stabat Mater; Finzi/Dies Natalis; Poulenc/Gloria; and two solo appearances on BBC One – O Holy Night on Christmas Day 2010 and The One Show in May 2014.

A keen explorer of contemporary music, Susanna was a 2013 Park Lane Group Young Artist and made her Southbank debut in the January series at the Purcell Room, where she returned this year to perform Judith Weir King Harald’s Saga and Messiaen Poèmes pour Mi alongside Jane Manning. She recently premiered the Efthymious’ new multi-disciplinary piece, Parting, at Kings Place. Susanna is also a keen recitalist, appearing UK-wide with her duo partner Matthew Schellhorn. The pair recently premiered a new song cycle written for them by Toby Young, and will perform together in the 2015 Park Lane Group series at Purcell Room.


'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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