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’.

Operatic highlights include Rosina Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Elcia Mose in Egitto and Pakati in Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream, all for Welsh National Opera, La voix humaine in David Pountney’s production for the Cardiff Festival of Voice and the Aldeburgh Festival, the title role in Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen for Garsington Opera, and George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s Into the Little Hill in a collaboration between the Royal Opera House and The Opera Group. Other roles have included Rosina The Barber of Seville and Dorinda Orlando (Scottish Opera), Nora in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea (English National Opera), La Comtesse Le Comte Ory (Chelsea Opera Group), and Romilda in 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 include appearances with the Berlin Deutsche Symphonie, Boston Symphony, London Philharmonic, the Tokyo Philharmonic, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. 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 and 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. Further appearances include Knussen’s O Hototogisu! and Birtwistle’s Chorales from a Toy Shop with the Birmingham Contemporary Music, Luigi Rossi’s Oratorio per la Settimana Santa with Christian Curnyn, 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 Knussen’s Songs for Sue with the Remix Ensemble and Orquestra Sinfónica in Porto, Portugal. Furthering her work with the BBC orchestras, in 2018 Claire sang Les Illuminations with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for a tour across Scotland.

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 2018-19 season, Claire joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra to mark the centenary of the Armistice with a performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie. On the operatic stage Claire sang the title role in Handel’s Berenice, a co-production between the Royal Opera House and the London Handel Festival, and Nitocris Belshazzar in her company debut at the Grange Festival, both to critical acclaim. In concert she performed Knussen’s O Hototogisu! with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and at the Aldeburgh Festival with the Knussen Chamber Orchestra, Benjamin’s A Mind of Winter with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, and a programme of Birtwistle with the Nash Ensemble at London’s Wigmore Hall.

Performances in the 2019-20 season include Tippett A Child of our Time with Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and CBSO at the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg (recorded by DG for future release), a programme of Grieg at the Oxford Lieder Festival with pianist Christopher Glynn (ahead of their upcoming CD release of Grieg lieder), Augusta Read Thomas’ Of Being is a Bird with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, Knussen’s Songs for Sue and O Hototogisu with Ensemble Intercontemporain, and Pierrot Lunaire with the Psappha Ensemble. Claire will also join Edward Higginbottom for performances of Messiah in Spain and the UK, and return to the Wigmore Hall with the Nash Ensemble to give the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Owl Songs.

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

Magic, Myths and Mortals

October 9th, 2019

Oxford Lieder Festival: HC artists perform at Sholto Kynoch’s prestigious song festival

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Grieg – Lyric Music

September 4th, 2019

Claire Booth and Christopher Glynn perform an all Grieg programme in their latest recording

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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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Reviews

Handel – BELSHAZZAR (The Grange Festival)

‘…Claire Booth’s Nitocris was devoured by emotional conflict and religious zeal – a barn-storming performance by an actor-singer who can raise the dramatic heat as soon as she enters the stage’.
Ashutosh Khandekar, Opera Now Magazine (July 2019)

“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

Songs and Vexations: Debussy, Fauré, Satie & Dove

Claire Booth (soprano), Susan Bickley (mezzo), Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano)

RTF Classical (2019)

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

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