British soprano Katherine Watson studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and was a member of Le Jardin des Voix. Katherine was a Young Artist with the Classical Opera Company and the recipient of the Glyndebourne John Christie award. Katherine appears regularly with Les Arts Florissants (William Christie and Paul Agnew), Les Concert d’Astrée (Emmanuelle Haïm), Le Concert Spirituel (Hervé Niquet), Polyphony (Stephen Layton), The Sixteen (Harry Christopher), Ensemble Pygmalion (Raphaël Pichon), and Les Talens Lyriques (Christophe Rousset).
Katherine Watson studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Trinity College, Cambridge where she was a choral scholar. She was awarded a place on the young artist programme of William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants and has since performed regularly with Christie and Les Arts Florissants throughout Europe and further afield. She has worked with a number of eminent conductors including Paul Agnew, Harry Bickett, Harry Christophers, Stephen Cleobury, Jonathan Cohen, Emmanuelle Haïm, Nicholas Kraemer, Stephen Layton, Sir Roger Norrington and Christophe Rousset.
Katherine made her operatic debut at Glyndebourne as Fairy/Nymph The Fairy Queen (Cummings) and returned as Diana Hippolyte et Aricie (Christie). Other operatic roles have included Italienne/Phantome Médée (Haïm), Virtù/Damigella L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Teatro Real, Madrid, Cassandra La Didone in Caen, Luxembourg and Paris (Christie), Phani Les Incas du Pérou, Dardanus with Ensemble Pygmalion at Opera National de Bordeaux and at the Chapelle Royale, Château de Versailles and Iphis Jephta at the Beaune Festival.
Concert highlights include Iphis Jephtha in Paris, Moscow and Vienna, Diana Actéon and 2nd Woman Dido and Aeneas in New York (Christie), a programme of Cleopatra’s arias from Giulio Cesare in Lille, a programme of Rameau arias in Frankfurt and a Monteverdi Gala at the Festspielhaus, Baden Baden (Haïm). Further notable concert engagements include Bach’s Jauchzet Gott and Handel arias with the English Concert and trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth at the Cheltenham Festival, as well as a concert performance of Handel’s Apollo e Dafne with J. Cohen at Carnegie Hall, New York and more recently with Arcangelo at Zanker Hall, New York. Katherine’s oratorio work includes Messiah in Seville with the Hallé Orchestra, and with Polyphony at St John’s Smith Square, Christmas Oratorio with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Academy of Ancient Music for BBC Radio 3, St John Passion, Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Requiem (Layton), B Minor Mass in Winchester Cathedral, Dixit Dominus in Lincoln Cathedral, and Mozart Exsultate Jubilate in Westminster Abbey. Katherine has also performed Scarlatti’s Christmas Cantata (Norrington), Solomon (McCreesh), Nelson Mass with the Britten Sinfonia at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and Samson with the Irish Baroque Orchestra at the National Concert Hall, Dublin.
In addition to her work in baroque repertoire, Katherine has performed Mahler’s 4th Symphony, Lutosławsky’s Chantesfleurset Chantesfables and Barber’s Knoxville – Summer of 1915 at St John’s Smith Square with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, Symphonia Antarctica (Layton) with the City of London Sinfonia and Britten Les Illuminations. As a keen recitalist, Katherine’s lieder/chanson repertoire includes songs by Mozart, Schubert, Mahler, Strauss, Poulenc and Messiaen.
Her discography includes Bach Christmas Oratorio (Layton/OAE/Trinity College Choir), Caterina Oratorio di Santa Caterina (Headley), and a Hyperion recording in 2014 of Monteverdi madrigals with Cohen and Arcangelo. DVD recordings include Cassandra La Didone (Opus Arte), Virtù/Damigella Poppea (EMI) and Un Songe/l’Amour/une Phrygienne Dardanus (Harmonia Mundi).
Recent highlights include the title role Theodora in Paris, New York, and Amsterdam (Christie), Telaire Castor et Pollux (Wigmore Hall, Curnyn), performances of Messiah with Le Concert Spirituel, Polyphony, and La Risonanza throughout Europe, the title role Isbé at the Palace of Arts, Budapest (CD to be released), Mérope Persée (Metz and Paris), Cleopatra Alexander Balus at the London Handel Festival with Laurence Cummings, three appearances at the Beaune Festival as Nitocris Belshazzar, Armelite Zoroastre, and Galatea Acis and Galatea, a tour of B Minor Mass (Barcelona, Leipzig and London) with Les Arts Florissants, two appearances at the BBC Proms with Arcangelo and Les Arts Florissants, Belinda Dido and Aeneas with Opéra de Rouen (also performed in Vichy and Versailles), recitals at Lille Opera with Simon Lepper and at the Oxford Lieder Festival with Sholto Kynoch, Messiah with Le Concert Spirituel, and Mass in B Minor with the choir of Trinity College, Cambridge.
In 2017, Katherine returns to Théâtre des Champs Elysées as Giunone in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (Haïm), and will make her début with Komische Oper Berlin to sing Amélite Zoroastre with Christian Curnyn.
“Of course, only the most curmudgeonly of husbands could not be seduced by the exquisite soprano voice of Katherine Watson as Dalila. Constrained to Act II, she comes with an amende, only to be roughly rejected. I particularly enjoyed her aria “With plaintive notes and amorous moan”. Possessing an exquisite pronunciation and a pleasing projection, Watson wowed with the sweet sound of her voice. In her “Traitor to love” she showed a feistier side to her, though given such a delectable voice, it was difficult to think of her as truly treacherous.” Andrew Larkin, Bachtrack (January 2016)
Recorded live in Müpa, Budapest with the Purcell Choir and Orfeo Orchestra conducted by György Vashegyi. Katherine Watson sings the title role.
Bach CHRISTMAS ORATORIO
Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by Stephen Layton with Katherine Watson (soprano), Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor), James Gilchrist (tenor) and Matthew Brook (bass)