Claire Booth

Claire Booth

SOPRANO

Representation: General Management

Photo: Sven Arnstein

Overview

British Soprano Claire Booth is known internationally for her commitment to an astonishing breadth of repertoire, together with the vitality and musicianship she brings to performance. A graduate of the University of Oxford, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio, Claire has performed with Welsh National Opera, Garsington Opera, English National Opera and with the Royal Opera. She enjoys a busy concert schedule, having delivered numerous world premieres by composers including Elliot Carter, Oliver Knussen, George Benjamin, Harrison Birtwistle and Ryan Wigglesworth, and performed with the Boston Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Hallé, Mahler Chamber, City of Birmingham Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras. In recital Claire has appeared at Wigmore Hall, and at the Holland, Lucerne, Edinburgh and Aldeburgh Festivals.

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Full Biography

British soprano Claire Booth has become internationally renowned both for her commitment to an extraordinary breadth of repertoire, and for the vitality and musicianship that she brings to the operatic stage and concert platform. A regular contributor to the Aldeburgh Festival, Claire enjoyed a close collaboration with the late Oliver Knussen, and was the soprano soloist for many of his works, including the world premiere of ‘O Hototogisu’.  With a growing reputation in contemporary repertoire and the performance of new works, in her 16/17 season Claire returned to the Aldeburgh Festival for a revival of David Pountney’s production of La voix humaine, which won critical acclaim when performed with WNO in conjunction with Cardiff’s Festival of The Voice in 2016.

Operatic highlights include Rosina in Welsh National Opera’s new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Elcia in Rossini’s Mose in Egitto and Pakati in Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream (Welsh National Opera), the title role in Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen (Garsington Opera), which met with widespread critical acclaim, George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s  Into the Little Hill in a collaboration between the Royal Opera House and The Opera Group, Rosina in The Barber of Seville and Dorinda in Handel’s Orlando (Scottish Opera); Nora in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea (English National Opera), La Comtesse in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory (Chelsea Opera Group) and a concert performance of Handel’s Serse with the Early Opera Company at St John’s Smith Square.

Her numerous concert appearances have resulted in close associations with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Proms, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Aldeburgh and Holland Festivals. Further highlights and debut appearances include with the Berlin Deutsche Symphonie, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. For more than a decade she has collaborated with video director Netia Jones to produce a series of critically acclaimed productions. These include her performances of Georg Friedrich Haas’ Atthis (ROH), Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments (ROH), Max in Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are and Rhoda in Higglety, Pigglety, Pop, which toured from the Aldeburgh Festival, via the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a further debut under Gustavo Dudamel, to the Barbican’s own 60th birthday celebrations for the composer.  Further appearances include Birtwistle’s Chorales from a Toy Shop, with the Birmingham Contemporary Music, Luigi Rossi’s Oratorio per la Settimana Santa with Christian Curnyn, works by Wigglesworth and Knussen with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ravel chamber works with the Nash Ensemble at London’s Wigmore Hall, Britten’s On this Island in the opening concert of New Paths Music Festival in Beverley and a recital with Christopher Glynn at the Bath International Festival.

Claire’s most recent CD release features folk songs by Percy Grainger, accompanied by Christopher Glynn (Avie Records). She has also recorded diverse works by Ryan Wigglesworth and the Hallé Orchestra, including his Augenlieder of which she sang the world premiere. Others recordings include Lucia in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia (EMI), Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream, John Eccles’ The Judgement of Paris and works by Oliver Knussen, Jonathan Dove and Charlotte Bray.

In the 2017/18 season Claire performed the London premiere of Oliver Knussen’s O Hototogisu! with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in a programme curated and conducted by Oliver Knussen, as part of London Symphony Orchestra’s ‘This is Rattle’ series celebrating Sir Simon Rattle’s inaugural season as Musical Director of the LSO. Claire also sang both Oliver Knussen’s Songs for Sue and Ryan Wigglesworth Augenlieder with the Remix Ensemble and Orquestra Sinfónica in Porto, Portugal, conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. Furthering her work with the BBC orchestras, last season Claire made recordings of Drei Bruchstücke from Wozzeck with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra lead by Australian conductor Simone Young, and sang Les Illuminations with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for a tour across Scotland. She also appeared on BBC Radio 3 as part of their ongoing ‘Inside Music’ series.

Appearances in 2018-19 so far have included Mrs Foran in a concert performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre, O Hototogisu! with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, concerts with pianist Julius Drake and Music Network Ireland in Dublin, Wexford and Sligo. Upcoming performances include the title role in Handel’s Berenice, a co-production between the Royal Opera House and the London Handel Festival, Nitocris Belshazzar at The Grange Festival, as well as performances with NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, and the Nash Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall. Claire will also work with composers and a chamber group of young professionals in a composition course as part of the Britten-Pears Young Artist programme at Snape Maltings.

Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version. Email: Tom Wood

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News

UK Summer Opera 2019

May 20th, 2019

Hazard Chase artists in this year’s summer opera festivals.

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Claire Booth sings Berenice

March 20th, 2019

Soprano makes Royal Opera debut

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WW1 Centenary

November 8th, 2018

Claire Booth and Mark Le Brocq perform Turnage’s pacifist opera ‘The Silver Tassie’ to mark Armistice Day

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Claire Booth sings Les Illuminations

April 18th, 2018

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra perform Britten

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Claire Booth and Christopher Glynn

April 11th, 2017

New recording of the folk music of Percy Grainger

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Reviews

Handel – BELSHAZZAR (The Grange Festival)

“Claire Booth’s Nitocris proved the pick of a dramatically engaging cast … her soprano radiant but vulnerable, torn between indulgent loyalty to her swinish royal son and sympathy for sagacious Daniel and the dignified Jews, as she sings that “Alternate hopes and fears distract my mind”.”
Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk (24th June 2019)

“Booth came into her own in the second half in the almost Freudian duet with (Christopher) Ainslie.”
Tim Ashley, The Guardian (22nd June 2019)

“Clare Booth’s resinous soprano brings rich emotion to Nitocris’ plight.”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph (21st June 2019)

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Songs and Vexations (Nimbus Records)

“Essentially the emotional centrepiece of the disc nevertheless remains Debussy’s own ever-remarkable Cinq Poèmes de Charles Baudelaire. Booth throws herself fully into their heady world, her voice breathy and open in its timbre and often indecently sensuous – and always used intelligently.”
Hugo Shirley, Gramophone, May 2019

Nash Ensemble, Wigmore Hall

“The closing piece, much gentler, was Birtwistle’s 1999 mini-cantata The Woman and the Hare, setting enigmatic lines by David Harsent. Beautifully sung and narrated by Claire Booth and Simone Leona Hueber respectively, it’s a surprisingly sensuous excursion into the surreal, symbolist musical country first mapped by Schoenberg in Erwartung and Verklärte Nacht.”
Richard Morrison, The Times, April 2019

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Handel BERENICE (Linbury: Royal Opera House)

“She made a highlight not only of her Act 3 scena … but of her rarely heard F-sharp minor arioso, unaccountably cut by Handel but restored here to lavishing effect.”
Hugh Canning, Opera Magazine, June 2019

“A stylish and commanding performance as the scheming Berenice.”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 28th March 2019

“dramatically vivid and feisty Claire Booth … (she) does the venom most persuasively.”
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 28th March 2019

“The dominatrix tendencies of Claire Booth’s Berenice are matched by her formidable vocal delivery.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 28th March 2019

“Claire Booth is imperious as the Egyptian queen Berenice, and her gradually intensifying duet with James Laing’s beautifully sung Demetrio at the end of Act 1 is a musical high point.”
Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 28th March 2019

“In the title role Claire Booth delivers her arias sumptuously, and almost turns her recitatives into 20th-century Sprechstimme, so intense is her delivery.”
Richard Morrison, The Times, 28th March 2019

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Benjamin A MIND OF WINTER (BBC Philharmonic)

“Another early musical landscape — the chilly Wallace Stevens setting A Mind of Winter — displayed Benjamin’s punctilious command of intricate texures on a smaller scale. It also showed that in 1981 he hadn’t yet learnt how to write vocal lines that allow every word to be heard. Even with the super-skilled Claire Booth singing, the text of Stevens’s poem stayed a beautiful blur.”
Geoff Brown, The Times, 24th January 2019

Birtwistle THREE SONGS FOR THE HOLY FOREST (Aldeburgh Festival)
“the unfailingly eloquent and precise Claire Booth”

Debussy arr. Boulez CHANSONS DE BILITIS (Aldeburgh Festival)
“ravishing aphorisms wrapped sensuously around Booth’s equally beguiling recitations.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian (June 2018)

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Britten LES ILLUMINATION – BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
“Britten’s Rimbaud settings, Les Illuminations, a pivotal work in his personal life as well as his catalogue, concluded that first half, with soprano Claire Booth – a singer often heard tackling the most challenging contemporary music – on fine form”
Keith Bruce, The Herald Scotland (April 2018)

“Booth gave a radiant, rapturous, wonderfully nuanced performance, adjusting her sound from piercing purity through to luscious richness to respond to Rimbaud’s hallucinatory texts – and there was always a delicious sense of danger behind her unsettling declamations.”
David Kettle, The Scotsman (April 2018)

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Discography & Repertoire

Percy Grainger – Folk Songs

Christopher Glynn (piano) and Claire Booth (soprano) document their fascination with the multifaceted firebrand, and bring his alluring music to a wider audience.

AVIE (2017)

Ryan Wigglesworth ECHO AND NARCISSUS

Hallé Orchestra / Ryan Wigglesworth; Claire Booth, Pamela Helen Stephen, Mark Padmore, Barnabás Kelemen

NMC

Charlotte Bray AT THE SPEED OF STILLNESS

Aldeburgh World Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Sir Mark Elder, Oliver Knussen; Claire Booth, Lucy Schaufer, Alexandra Wood, Huw Watkins, Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano)

NMC

Artist Manager

Sue Nicholls (Cambridge)
sue.nicholls@hazardchase.co.uk
01223 706023

Associate Artist Manager

Tom Wood (London)
tom.wood@hazardchase.co.uk
020 7084 6951