“Sarah Connolly’s Ariodante remains a compelling portrait of the stricken lover – her ‘Doppo notte’, when the veil of darkness is lifted and Ariodante sees the light of day, was an exhilarating outpouring of joy, its rangy syncopations thrillingly sung.”
Hugh Canning, Opera
Born in County Durham, Sarah Connolly studied piano and singing at the Royal College of Music, of which she is now a Fellow. She was made a DBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours, having previously been made a CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours. In 2011 she was honoured by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and presented with the Distinguished Musician Award. She is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2012 Singer Award.
Highlights in her 2017/18 season include her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in a new production of Ariodante, the title role in Giulio Cesare at the Glyndebourne Festival and Brangäne Tristan und Isolde for the Gran Teatro del Liceu.
Past highlights have included Fricka (Covent Garden & Bayreuther Festspiele) Brangäne Tristan und Isolde (Covent Garden & Festspielhaus Baden-Baden); Komponist Ariadne auf Naxos and Clairon Capriccio (Metropolitan Opera); the title role in Giulio Cesare, Brangäne and Gertrude in the world premiere of Brett Dean's Hamlet (Glyndebourne Festival); the title role in Ariodante and Sesto La clemenza di Tito (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence); Purcell’s Dido (Teatro alla Scala & Covent Garden); Jocaste in Enescu's Œdipe (Covent Garden); Gluck’s Orfeo and the title role in The Rape of Lucretia (Bayerische Staatsoper); Phèdre Hippolyte et Aricie (Opéra national de Paris) and the title role in Agrippina and Nerone L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Gran Teatro del Liceu).
She has also sung the title role in Maria Stuarda and Roméo I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Opera North); Komponist (Welsh National Opera) and Octavian Der Rosenkavalier (Scottish Opera). A favorite at the English National Opera, her many roles for the company have included Geschwitz Lulu; Octavian; the title roles in Charpentier’s Medée and Handel's Agrippina, Xerxes, Ariodante and Ruggiero Alcina; the title role in The Rape of Lucretia; Didon Les Troyens; Roméo, Susie The Silver Tassie and Sesto - for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.
The future sees her return to the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Opéra national de Paris and make her debut at the Teatro Réal in Madrid.
Her many concert engagements include appearances at the Lucerne, Salzburg, Tanglewood and Three Choirs Festivals and at the BBC Proms where, in 2009, she was a memorable guest soloist at The Last Night. Other notable engagements have included The Dream of Gerontius (Boston Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis & Mozarteumorchester Salzburg/Bolton); Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 at the BBC Proms (LSO/Haitink); A Child of our Time and Brangäne (Berliner Philharmoniker/Rattle); Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Leipzig Gewandhausorchester/Chailly, Boston Symphony Orchestra/von Dohnanyi & Philadelphia Orchestra/Nézet-Séguin); Das Lied von der Erde (Concertgebouworkest/Harding, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Nézet-Séguin & LPO/Jurowski); Des Knaben Wunderhorn (L’Orchestre des Champs-Elysées/Herreweghe) and La mort de Cléopâtre (Hallé/Elder, CBSO/Gardner & BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Andrew Davis).
She has appeared in recital in London, New York, Boston, Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Atlanta, Stuttgart; at the Incontri in Terra di Siena La Foce and the Schubertiada Vilabertran and at the Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Edinburgh and Oxford Lieder Festivals.
Committed to promoting new music, her world premiere performances include two re-discovered songs by Benjamin Britten (BBC Proms 2018) with Joseph Middleton; Sir john Tavener's Gnosis, (BBC Proms); songs by Mark Anthony Turnage, Sally Beamish and Dame Judith Weir, Jonathan Harvey.