Paula Murrihy

Paula Murrihy


Representation: General Management

Photo: Barbara Aumüller


Irish mezzo soprano Paula Murrihy enjoys a busy career working at the highest level in both Europe and America.  Previously a member of Oper Frankfurt’s prestigious ensemble, Paula has also appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, the Santa Fe Festival, Los Angeles Opera, Opernhaus Zürich, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Dutch National Opera and Teatro Real Madrid.


Full Biography

Irish Mezzo-Soprano Paula Murrihy received her Bachelor of Music from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin before continuing her studies in North America at the New England Conservatory. She also participated in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and as an apprentice at Santa Fe Opera.

A member of Oper Frankfurt’s acclaimed ensemble her many roles included  Medoro Orlando Furioso, Dido Dido and Aeneas, Lazuli L’étoile,  Octavian Der Rosenkavalier, and her role debut as Carmen in Barrie Kosky’s iconic production.

Recent highlights include her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, as Stéphano Roméo et Juliette, and a return to Santa Fe Opera as Ruggiero in Alcina and Orlofsky Die Fledermaus. She made her first appearance at the Salzburg Festival as 2nd Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and opened the 2019 Salzburg Festival as Idamante in Idomeneo, in Peter Sellar’s production with Teodor Currentzis conducting. Paula has appeared with the Dutch National Opera as Octavian Der Rosenkavalier and Sesto La Clemenza di Tito,  at Opernhaus Zurich as Concepcion in L’heure Espagnole and Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, at the Teatro Real in Madrid as Frances, Countess of Essex in Britten’s Gloriana and at Oper Frankfurt as the Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos.  She returned to her native Ireland to make her role debut as Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle for Irish National Opera.

Further appearances include Ino in Semele for Boston Lyric Opera, Ghosts of Versailles for Opera Theatre St Louis, Dido Dido and Aeneas for Los Angeles Opera, Tebaldo Don Carlo, and Mercedes Carmen for Covent Garden, Annio La Clemenza di Tito at the Théâtre Capitole Toulouse, Medoro Orlando Furioso for Opéra de Nice, Octavian Der Rosenkavalier at Staatsoper Stuttgart and Ascanio in Terry Gilliam’s production of Benvenuto Cellini at English National Opera.

On the concert platform Paula enjoys a close relationship with MusicAeterna and Teodor Currentzis and performances include Cosi fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, Purcell’s Indian Queen, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater,  Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, Hindemith’s Die Junge Magd  and Das Knaben Wunderhorn at the Marinsky Theatre and on a tour of Europe. She made her debut at the BBC Proms in 2016 in Haydn’s Paukenmesse and recently jumped in for performances of works by Tommaso Traetta with La Nuova Musica and David Bates, and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Sir Mark Elder and the Britten Sinfonia. Further appearances include Messiah with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Elijah with the Spanish National Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Christmas Oratorio with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Handel’s Solomon, Alexander’s Feast and Honneger’s Judith for the Nederlandse Programma Stichting, and Beethoven Missa Solemnis with the London Philharmonic Orchestra . In the United States she has worked with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where she premiered John Harbison’s Symphony No. 6, the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven Symphony 9), the Handel and Haydn Society (Juno/Ino in Semele) and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra in performances of Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

An accomplished recitalist, Paula has given performances at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Shannon International Music Festival, the Chancellor’s Concert at the University of Limerick, in Frankfurt and at the Diaghilev Festival in Perm.  She recently made her debut at the Wigmore Hall with the pianist Malcolm Martineau.

In her 2019-20 season Paula returns to Frankfurt to sing the title role in Fauré’s Pénélope, as well as Carmen in Barrie Kosky’s infamous production. She also sings Carmen at Irish National Opera directed by Paula Curran, and Siebel Faust for Palau de les Arts, Valencia.  On the concert platform she will perform a selection of arias in concert with Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, will sing Elvira in Don Giovanni with Orchestra of the 18th Century, Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro and Dorabella Cosi fan Tutte as part of MusicAeterna’s Da Ponte tour, and returns to the US for Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, Messiah with The Philadelphia Orchestra, St Matthew Passion with Handel & Haydn Society and title role Ariodante with Boston Baroque.

Artist Website:

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: Evie Parker



Christmas with Hazard Chase

December 2nd, 2019

Festive concerts throughout the Christmas season

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Murrihy returns to Frankfurt

November 27th, 2019

New production of Fauré’s rarely performed opera.

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Murrihy returns to Salzburg Festival

July 15th, 2019

Paula Murrihy sings her first Idamante Idomeneo conducted by Teodor Currentzis.

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Paula Murrihy returns to Ireland

October 8th, 2018

Mezzo-soprano stars in Bluebeard’s Castle

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Paula Murrihy in Salzburg

July 16th, 2018

Mezzo soprano makes her festival debut

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‘Paula Murrihy, at very short notice, stood in for Anna Stéphany, took a lyrical view of the texts, the German words flowed gracefully and the consonants were treated softly. Her flexible voice gave an Italianate impression of the lyrics and the frustrated lover’s reference to the “sweet bird singing in the green heath” was a touching moment. In the final song, ‘Die zwei blauen Augen’, taken at an unhurried pace, refinement of playing and hushed beauty of melodic line typified Mark Elder’s sensitive view of the music.’
Antony Hodgson, Classical Source (Jan 2019)

‘Murrihy slipped into a partnership with the orchestra – with confident, bright-toned, even cheeky, woodwinds to the fore – that let these dialogues of doom unroll in all their strangely exhilarating morbidity. Murrihy wrapped sweetness around anguish in the yearning high notes of “Ging heut’ Morgen über Feld”. She wrung every inch of melodramatic colour from the lurid misery of “Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer”, and sailed powerfully across the sinister orchestral tutti as that song closes. The farewell pathos of “Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz” signed off the sequence, with the soothing lilt and swing of the instrumental parts undercut by the mezzo’s plaintive lament – like the forsaken call of some widowed forest bird.’
Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk (Jan 2019)

‘Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy in an Oscar-worthy maternity gown of black tulle and sequins then sang Mahler’s tale of unrequited love, Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen. Elder hushed the ensemble to allow Murrihy’s pure, conversational tone to come though.’
Amanda Holloway, Sunday Express (Jan 2019)

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‘The execution of the Lieder was exemplary for precision, transparency and agogic. Also thanks to the two excellent singers, the baritone Florian Boesch with his generous voice, capable of measured and elegant expressiveness, and the mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy, who has shown that she knows how to perfectly calibrate ingenuity and detached anguish, easily overcoming any difficult passage.’
Stefano Jacini, gionale della musica (Dec 2018)

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Bartók BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE (Irish National Opera)

‘The music is matched in performance by the Kerry-born mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy as Judith in a rare Irish interlude from her burgeoning American and European career. From the softest whisper to her high C at the opening of the castle’s fifth door, and in Bartók’s deliberate mismatch between Judith’s initial optimism and the dark oppression of the orchestra, Murrihy thrills with her voice while fully inhabiting her symbolic assignment with her presence.’
Michael Dungan, The Irish Times (Oct 2018)

‘Murrihy with her crystalline mezzo-soprano perfectly delivered the ambivalent Judith, morbidly attracted to the tenebrous side of her husband and willing to prove him bad at every cost’
Pia Maltri, Bachtrack (Oct 2018)

‘Paula Murrihy as Judith is a marvel to behold, giving an impassioned and physically-committed performance, her voice rich and expressive, full of colour.’
GoldenPlec: Live Reviews, (Oct 2018)

‘Murrihy and Bloom’s singing delights in this treatment of the Bluebeard legend. Their skillful and relaxed delivery is enchanting and the live orchestra dramatically accentuates the twists and reveals of the story. ‘
Tricia O’Beirne, The Reviews Hub (Oct 2018)

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Britten GLORIANA (Teatro Real, Madrid)

‘warmly incisive yet softer grained in a way that suggested a more innocent character caught up in the intrigue around her’
John Allison, Opera Magazine (June 2018)

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Handel CHRISTMAS ORATORIO (Scottish Chamber Orchestra)

“Neal Davis the bass-baritone, young English soprano Soraya Mafi and Irish mezzo Paula Murrihy were the other ingredients of a superb cast with the latter’s solo arias, especially the well-known Schlafe, mein Liebster, particular highlights.”
Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland (4 Dec 2017)


Mozart LA CLEMENZA DI TITO (Orchestra of the 18th Century)

“Irish mezzo Paula Murrihy, a memorable Octavian at the DNO two years ago, returned to Amsterdam as a fantastic Sesto. Her unaffected, expressive acting and honey-toned mezzo-soprano, warm and  agile, fitted the passionate but hapless character as a glove. She made of her Act 1 aria “Parto, parto”, when Sesto announces to Vitellia he is going to get on with it, the pivotal moment of the opera.”

Nicolas Nguyen, Bachtrack (20 Oct 2017)


Handel ALCINA  (Santa Fe Opera)

“There was a good deal of excellent singing. Mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy, in her house debut, was superb as Ruggiero. She brought the total package to the part both vocally and dramatically: beautiful timbre, gorgeous phrasing, sophisticated singing technique, sensitivity to what we understand of Baroque style. Her aria “Mi lusinga il dolce affetto” was a showstopper of an Andante (or an Andante-larghetto, as Handel called it), so captivating that one could almost ignore Alden’s overlay of extraneous activity. Ditto her top-drawer performance of “Verdi prati,” which confirmed her mastery of sustained line. She was splendid in florid singing, too, as in her aria “Sta nell’ircana pietrosa tana,” where she negotiated challenging coloratura and even inflected some of it with surprising staccatos.”
James M. Keller, Santa Fe New Mexican, (30 July 2017)

“As Ruggiero — the latest victim of Alcina’s predatory romantic practices and in many ways the opera’s protagonist — the Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy gave an especially impressive performance, marked by understated expressivity and vibrant tone.”
Joshua Kosman, SFGate, (31 July 2017)

“Paula Murrihy’s Ruggiero captured the emotional complexity Alden clearly intended, decoding the young man’s conflicting emotional loyalties.”
Thomas May, Bachtrack, (30 July 2017)

Handel SEMELE (Handle & Haydn Society, Boston)

“The versatile mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy pulled her weight and more, singing the role of Semele’s sister Ino with innocent grace and soft-edged phrases and transforming into the imperious Juno with rage written on her face and venom lacing her voice.”
Zoë Madonna, Boston Globe (May 2017)


CARMEN (Frankfurt Opera)

“Paula Murrihy sang and danced with quite versatile magic, conveying herself as a virtuoso of the highest order.”
Hansklaus Jungheinrich, Frankfurter Rundschau (June ’16)

“Paula Murrihy with her vocal magic, presence and precision, ease and sex appeal is an equal to [Joseph Calleja as Don José].”
Josef Becker, Bild Frankfurt (June ’16)

“Paula Murrihy threw herself with great passion in her debut, and showed plenty of character, mischievous spirit and even deliberate provocation.”
Musik Heute (June ’16)

“Paula Murrihy sings and plays a sadistic Carmen. Fantastic! …Murrihy brings to the role a flexible, versatile voice – sometimes big, particularly strong, soft and supple – a voice in which one can detect emotion at every second. Murrihy sings this Carmen like a song, a fine embodiment of the role, on one long breath, word perfect.”
Natascha Pflaumbaum, Deutschlandradio Kultur (June ’16)

“The focused, often imploringly soft and whispering Paula Murrihy… is a perfect medium and a willing projector for Kosky’s at times operatic, at times tragic variation on the legendary archetype we think we know.”
Manuel Brug, Die Welt (June ’16)

“…The singers were on top form throughout, with Paula Murrihy foremost in the title role – her ‘femme fatale’ character not too forced, rather quite naturally interpreted.”
Michael Dellith, Frankfurter Neue Presse (June ’16)

“Paula Murrihy in the title role is a harmonious and balanced vocal powerhouse, with a full, warm mezzo-soprano timbre which continually emphasises the undertones of the character.”
Stefan Michalzik, HNA (Hessische-Niedersächsische Allgemeine) (June ’16)

“Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy, with her flexible and well guided timbre, took centre stage. Her agile performance left nothing to be desired. She presented an exceptional theatrical interpretation of Carmen, which set new standards.”
Lars-Erik Gerth, Maintal Tagesanzeiger (June ’16)

“Paula Murrihy as Carmen must be declared a triumph, bringing full vocal expressive potential to the reduced orchestral score, showing that Carmen can be more than erotic – so much more.”
Bernd Zegowitz, Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung ((June ’16)

“Paula Murrihy is found on stage non-stop in the title role, apart from countless rapid movements and scene changes which illustrate the complexity of the production. She remains relentlessly in the spotlight with eloquent expressiveness – hunting, creeping, crawling over the stage, dancing with the ensemble and singing easily and flexibly, just as is required of the role. She embodies an almost inexhaustible range of characteristics: sexy, saucy, lascivious, seductive, cold blooded, self-centred, stubborn, strong. Her greatest and most convincing success is that central Carmen characteristic – eroticism, which radiates from her at every moment.”
Christiane Franke, Opernnetz (June ’16)


DER ROSENKAVALIER (De Nationale Opera, Amsterdam)

“Brilliant, electrifying and youthfully vital  was the Octavian of Paula Murrihy . The young singer also captivated scenically as a committed credible Rosenkavalier.”
M. Fiedler, Opernglas (Sept 2015)



“Octavian was shiningly sung by Paula Murrihy…with her lustrous, soprano-ish mezzo”
Opera Magazine (Sept 2015)



“Murrihy was especially affecting with a penetrating mezzo that was agile and rich.”
Matthew Richard Martinez, Bachtrack (October 2014)

“Murrihy is remarkable, the embodiment of love turned to pain and ultimately death. Her final lament (as direct by Kosky) provides one of the most heartrending scenes you will ever see.”
Jim Farber, LA Daily News (October 2014)


BENVENUTO CELLINI – English National Opera

“Yet Paula Murrihy almost stole the show. bringing trouser-role swagger to Ascanio and singing with a focused mezzo and enough vocal dash to hold the stage in her ebullient solo”
John Allison, Opera Magazine (August 2014)

“Paula Murrihy’s ringingly pure-toned Ascanio”
Michael Church, The Independent (6th June 2014)

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Discography & Repertoire


A live recording from Frankfurt Opera with Paula Murrihy (Orontea), Xavier Sabata (Alidoro), Simon Bailey (Gelone) and Louise Alder (Silandra).  Ivor Bolton conducts the Monteverdi Continuo Ensemble

OEHMS (2017)

Mendelssohn COMPLETE SONGS, VOL. 2

Malcolm Martineau (piano) with a line-up of singers including Kitty Whately, (mezzo), Paula Murrihy (mezzo), Sophie Bevan (soprano) and Benjamin Appl (baritone)

Champs Hill Records (2016)

Artist Manager

Sue Nicholls (Cambridge)
01223 706023

Associate Artist Manager

Evie Parker (Cambridge)
01223 706414