Equally at home on the concert and opera stages, Carolyn Sampson has enjoyed notable successes in the UK as well as throughout Europe and the US.
On the opera stage her roles for English National Opera have included the title role in Semele and Pamina in The Magic Flute. For Glyndebourne Festival Opera she sang various roles in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, now released on DVD. In 2012 she sang Anne Truelove/The Rake’s Progress in Sir David McVicar’s new production for Scottish Opera. Internationally she has appeared at Opéra de Paris, Opéra de Lille, Opéra de Montpellier and Opéra National du Rhin. She also sang the title role in Lully’s Psyché for the Boston Early Music Festival, which was released on CD and was subsequently nominated for a Grammy in 2008. In the 16/17 season she will sing the role of Mélisande/Pelléas and Mélisande for Scottish Opera.
Carolyn Sampson’s numerous concert engagements in the UK have included regular appearances at the BBC Proms and with orchestras including The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, Bach Collegium Japan, Britten Sinfonia and The Sixteen. She is a frequent guest with the Hallé and has performed with City of London Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras.
In Europe her many appearances have included concerts with Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk, WDR Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Gürzenich Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and a performance of J C Bach’s Lucio Silla with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra.
In the US Carolyn Sampson has featured as soloist with San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, St Paul Chamber Orchestra and is a regular guest at the Mostly Mozart Festival. In October 2013 she made her Carnegie Hall recital debut to a sold-out audience in the Weill Recital Hall.
Carolyn works with conductors such as Sir Mark Elder, Markus Stenz, Ivor Bolton, Philippe Herreweghe, Harry Bicket, Trevor Pinnock, Riccardo Chailly, Louis Langrée, Harry Christophers, Robert King and William Christie.
A consummate recitalist, Carolyn Sampson appears regularly at the Wigmore Hall where a recital of lute songs with Matthew Wadsworth was recorded on the Wigmore Live label and released to huge critical acclaim. She has given regular recitals at the Saintes and Aldeburgh Festivals as well as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. In the 14/15 season Carolyn was a “featured artist” at London’s Wigmore Hall.
Carolyn has recently built up a partnership with the pianist Joseph Middleton. Her debut song recital disc, ‘Fleurs’, with Joseph was released early in 2015 featuring songs by composers from Purcell to Britten and was nominated in the solo vocal category of the Gramophone Awards.
Carolyn’s Harmonia Mundi recording of Poulenc’s Stabat Mater and Sept Répons de Ténèbres was awarded the Choc de l’Année Classica 2014. Other recordings include Mozart’s Requiem with Bach Collegium Japan and her recording of Purcell songs for BIS which was selected as Editor’s Choice in the December 2007 issue of Gramophone Magazine. Her many recordings for Hyperion with The King’s Consort include a highly acclaimed CD of Mozart sacred music ‘Exsultate jubilate’ which was selected as BBC Music Magazine’s “Record of the Month” and was also the recipient of an ECHO Award. She recorded a highly-acclaimed CD of Stravinsky’s Les Noces and Mass for Harmonia Mundi and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly for the Decca label.
Her most recent recording with Ex Cathedra on the Hyperion label, ‘A French Baroque Diva’ – celebrating Marie Fel, a star soprano of Rameau’s time won the recital award in the 2015 Gramophone Awards.
Recent and future highlights include Carolyn’s debut with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra, concert performances of Semele with Concerto Köln and Ivor Bolton, recordings and concerts with both Bach Collegium Japan and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, a tour of Orlando (Dorinda) with the English Concert and concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre des Champs-Élysées and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra as well as several recitals and further recording plans with Joseph Middleton.
Bach Unwrapped, Kings Place London:
“…[Ich habe genug] was beautifully portrayed by Sampson – the second recitative was fresh and bright…Here we felt the power of Sampson’s dramatic capability…”
Emily Owen, Bachtrack, February 2013
Wigmore Hall London:
“The fresh, sappy soprano of Carolyn Sampson and the finely nuanced lute playing of Matthew Wadsworth…an always welcome double act…the dying fall of Sampson’s vocal line, the long melismas that buried love, and the beautifully controlled ebb and flow of intensity within the word setting.”
Hilary Finch, The Times, January 2013
The English Concert and Harry Bicket, St George’s Bristol:
“The final treat was three arias from Handel’s great operatic hit Julius Caesar…the theatrical vocal gestures, the vivid ornamentations, and the force of character were all there in Carolyn Sampson’s dazzling performance.”
The Bristol Post, October 2012
Glyndebourne Festival Opera: Purcell The Fairy Queen:
“…Carolyn Sampson, whose voice and presence are always recognisable no matter what her disguise, provides three blissful moments of transcendence. The first with her paean to sleep…the second her harvest to love…the third being a heart-stopping performance of ‘O, let me weep’.
Edward Seckerson, The Independent, July 2012
Boston Symphony Orchestra and Bramwell Tovey, Boston Symphony Hall, Mendelssohn ‘Lobegesang’:
“Soprano Carolyn Sampson’s silvery, flexible voice floated over the orchestra with power in reserve.” David Wright, Boston Classical Review, January 2012