Claire Booth



“An actor-singer who can raise the dramatic heat as soon as she enters the stage” (Opera Now), “that most questing, resourceful and intelligent of sopranos” (Daily Telegraph), British soprano Claire Booth has been widely acclaimed for her “radiant, rapturous, wonderfully nuanced performances” and voice of “piercing purity [and] luscious richness” (The Scotsman). She is renowned for her breadth of repertoire, and for the vitality and musicianship that she brings to the operatic stage and concert platform, with a versatility that encompasses repertoire spanning from Monteverdi and Handel, through Rossini, Berg and Britten, to a fearless commitment to the music of the present day.

Booth’s plans for the 2023/24 season include performances of Berg’s Seven Early Songs with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with Jessica Cottis, and her first performances of Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and Sinfonica de Galicia under Jonathon Heyward’s direction. She maintains her regular connections with Wigmore Hall, in a memorial concert for Sir Harrison Birtwistle with the Nash Ensemble, and Britten Pears Arts, returning once again as course director for the Composition and Performance Residency, and performing one of her signature pieces, Schoenberg’s iconic Pierrot Lunaire, at the Aldeburgh Festival. She also marks Schoenberg’s 125th anniversary year with a recording of his lesserknown songs with pianist Christopher Glynn.

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“Claire Booth’s Agrippina – a platinum-wigged Hollywood starlet ageing disgracefully – seemed genuinely unhinged, spitting out virtuosic ornamentation, her voice terrifyingly expressive.”

Flora Willson

The Guardian ****

“the radiant and impeccably tuned Claire Booth” [Vivier’s Lonely Child with Ilan Volkov and London Sinfonietta]

Richard Morrison

The Times ****

“Claire Booth’s light and agile soprano voice navigates Mussorgsky’s wide interval leaps with ease, while her superb diction and rhythmic pointing bring stylish vividness to more extroverted songs without a trace of vulgarity. Highly recommended.” [Modest Mussorgsky Unorthodox Music on Avie label]

Jed Distler

Classics Today

“Soprano Claire Booth is superb as the girl-on-the-make Irene — her aria at the end of Act 1 infuses the coloratura vocal inflections with a spoilt rage.” (Vivaldi’s Bajazet, Irish National Opera)

Katy Hayes

Independent (Ireland)

“Booth brings each song to life with operatic vividness, whether it’s the satirical The Goat with which the disc opens, the sadness of bereavement in The Leaves Rustled Softly, or the desolation of On the River, from Sunless. Every one of them becomes a miniature scena, while the piano pieces that Glynn places between them sometimes offer contrast, sometimes reinforcement. The whole thing is a joy, brilliantly conceived and presented with tremendous panache.”

Andrew Clements

The Guardian *****

“The vocals were perfectly suited to the poems (Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Four Songs of Autumn), with a feeling of being somewhere between singing and speaking, something also shown in the other works for voice performed. Claire Booth felt comfortable in this style and was captivating with her mastery of expression and different sound registers… Booth especially impressed in moments of a cappella singing and sounds that mimicked an owl (in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Owl Songs) ”

Francisco Martinez Ramos

Bachtrack (translated from Spanish)

“Claire Booth sang with character, passion and commitment in all her items […] Colin Matthews’s Seascapes set words in a Bergian, expressionist mode, with a richly lyrical soprano line that Claire Booth clearly relished. Mark-Antony Turnage’s Owl Songs are a tribute to his friend and mentor Oliver Knussen, who died in 2018, and who Turnage nicknamed “Big Owl”. The settings were by turns assertive, sparkling and – in the end – doleful, the cor anglais again underpinning Booth’s poised singing.”

Bernard Hughes

The Arts Desk

“Claire Booth and Christopher Glynn’s La Voix Humaine for Grange Park Opera is as good as it gets. …. soprano Claire Booth pours herself into the role of Jean Cocteau’s complicated , self-deceiving heroine Elle, pain and anger spilling over into controlled chaos… it didn’t occur to me to cry, I was far too moved.”

The Spectator

“The arrival of Claire Booth as soprano soloist in works by Ravel and Schönberg added a further touch of vocal class. In his Chansons Madécasses, exotic and often erotic, Booth’s combination of perfectly inflected French with lustrous tone was seductive, […] startling and dramatic. Ravel suggested that he could not have composed these Chansons without the example of Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, and that became apparent in Booth’s performance of the epoch-making monodrama the following evening. Booth is a noted exponent of the distinctive German Sprechgesang (half-spoken, half-sung) style; her ability to characterise words and feelings brings a different kind of expressive intensity to each of the 21 settings. In portraying the moonstruck Pierrot, she was by turns sad, nonchalant and angry, gestures pointing up the flowing curves of the vocal lines, with her stance – sometimes with hands on hips or in her pockets – adding further attitude to the symbolist defiance of poet and clown.”

Rian Evans

The Guardian ****

“the magnificent Claire Booth, turning Agrippina, Nero’s dreadful mother, into an extraordinary amalgam of Norma Desmond and Blanche DuBois.”

Richard Morrison

The Times *****

“three action-packed chamber concerts featured some outstanding performers led by the soprano Claire Booth […] all was eclipsed by Booth’s unaccompanied soprano delivering Knussen’s compellingly passionate settings of Rilke’s late poems.” [Oliver Knussen Day at Aldeburgh Festival]

Richard Morrison

The Times ****

“Claire Booth was the ethereal soloist, bringing a feeling of incantation to the vocal line” [Vivier’s Lonely Child with Ilan Volkov and London Sinfonietta]

John Allison and Ivan Hewett

The Telegraph

“The 11-piece orchestra imbues the action with unceasingly inventive dancing rhythms and each singer rises to the challenge of difficult figuration and range — a highlight is Booth’s rendition of Irena’s aria closing Act I.”

Fiona Charleton

The Times ****

“crafting a detailed, rigorous and complete performance […] a sublime Claire Booth lights up the stage every time she enters, and [her] singing is utterly spellbinding.” (Irene in Vivaldi’s Bajazet, Irish National Opera)

Chris O'Rourke

The Arts Review ****

“All of the songs are interesting, and Booth’s superb interpretive skills make them more interesting still. Just listen to the way she tears into ‘Oh, you drunken sot’ and you’ll quickly appreciate her abilities. This is a soprano who has it all. Clearly one of the outstanding vocal albums of the year. You simply won’t believe your ears.”

Lynn René Bayley

The Art Music Lounge

“Claire Booth shines in Turnage’s Owl Songs […] “Owl mimic” is surely a new entry for the soprano Claire Booth’s CV. Yet it’s a skill she employed to convincing effect in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Owl Songs, one of three premieres in this concert from the shape-shifting Nash Ensemble. The music emulates hoots and calls, certain motifs suggest the flap of a bird’s wing, yet none of it was a gimmick. This was a heartfelt piece, beautifully captured by Booth…”

Rebecca Franks

The Times

“Poulenc’s monodrama La Voix Humaine, recorded earlier this week on stage by that most questing, resourceful and intelligent of sopranos Claire Booth..“

The Telegraph

More Reviews

“How faithfully should the sprechgesang settings of the text be observed?….Claire Booth was the soloist here, and got that balance between speech and song exactly right. There was certainly caricature in her presentation – which stayed on the right side of winsomeness – but musical accuracy too.”

The Guardian

“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.”

Opera Now

“The role of Berenice, sung with due star quality by Claire Booth, who plays the ill-fated Egyptian Queen with a temperamental dash of Olivia Colman from The Favourite”

Financial Times

“Booth gave a radiant, rapturous, wonderfully nuanced performance, adjusting her sound from piercing purity thought to luscious richness to respond to Rimbaud’s hallucinatory text”

The Scotsman

“La Voix Humaine is one of the hardest tests for a soprano and in this new production Claire Booth makes it wholly unforgettable… with Booth’s expressiveness so intense, the colours of the voice so beautiful, this doesn’t feel virtual but all too real”

The Guardian

“Booth is an intensely watchable performer, responsible for translating so many contemporary works into emotional language an audience can understand. Here she tackled Haas’ extreme vocal writing with complete conviction”

The Arts Desk

“Claire Booth was a polished Rosina, singing immaculately with florid vibrato and a feminine guile. Booth deserved credit for performing more of the evening dressed in her underwear than as a wealthy heiress…“


“An epoch-making performance – her force blazes with energy and subsides with exhausted despair. It’s a real tour de force. She has done nothing finer.”

The Guardian

“Claire Booth heads up a fabulous cast with a knockout performance in the title role. Her voice is well suited to choppy writing, but her command of the role’s irrepressible passion exceeds even high expectations, and the scene in which she reflects on having found a true mate is almost unbearably moving.”

The Guardian

“Booth and Glynn are certainly on fire here… Booth goes all out to capture the yearnings and frustrations of (Haugtussa) with a wholly contemporary lack of inhibition… this new recital, strongly recommended, contributes greatly to the catalogue.”