Hailed as “a knockout performer” by The Times, Singaporean-British mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron was awarded the 2022 Schubert Prize alongside Brigitte Fassbender by the Schubertíada. She has been chosen by Het Concertgebouw as a “Hemelsbestormer” (Skystormer) for the 22-23 season and has been designated an Artistic Partner of the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Oviedo for several seasons beginning in 22-23, for which she will curate/perform multiple projects each year. A passionate interpreter of opera, chamber music, and concert works ranging from the baroque to the contemporary, Fleur is mentored by Barbara Hannigan.
In the 2022-2023 season, Fleur has a string of exciting orchestral debuts: Debussy’s La Damoiselle Elue with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestre de Paris, Berio’s Folksongs with Sir Mark Elder on tour with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Brucker’s Te Deum with Vasily Petrenko and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Thomas Hengelbrock and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, Berlioz Les Nuits d’Ete and arias from Carmen with the Slovenian Philharmonic, and concerts with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias. On the operatic stage, Fleur makes her debut with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in the title role of Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen in a new production by Peter Sellars. She also sings the title role in Hasse’s Marc Antonio e Cleopatra with the NDR Radiophilharmonie in Hannover; the title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with La Nuova Musica for a recording on the Pentatone label; alto soloist in a new, staged production of Mozart’s Requiem at the Opéra National de Bordeaux; and Bersi in Andrea Chénier and Mallika in Lakme for Opéra de Monte-Carlo, the latter of which she also reprises at the Théâtre de Champs-Elysées. On the recital platform, Fleur joins her regular collaborator Julius Drake for concerts at Het Concertgebouw, MiTO Festival in Milan and Turin, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, and Winterreise in Germany and at the Théâtre de l’Athénée in Paris. She also joins duo partner Kunal Lahiry for recitals at Wigmore Hall and Oxford Lieder Festival, and teams up with Malcolm Martineau for an all-Britten recital at Snape Maltings.Read more
In the 2021-2022 season, Fleur returned to the Aix-en-Provence Festival as Ottavia in L’Incoronazione di Poppea to great critical acclaim under the baton of Leonardo Garcia Alarcon and to Opéra de Toulon as Pauline in Tchaikovky’s Pique Dame. She also sang the title role in Carmen at Arizona Opera, Schwertleite in Die Walküre at English National Opera, and the title role in Hänsel und Gretel in Oviedo. On the concert platform, she debuted with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican under Barbara Hannigan and performed two recitals at the Wigmore Hall: an all-Mahler program with Graham Johnson and Alice Coote, and works for voice and string quartet with the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective. Fleur reunited with Julius Drake Schubert’s Winterreise in Barcelona, Las Palmas and Ireland, and with Kunal Lahiry for a recital she curated around Empire/Identity at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Hugo Wolf Akademie, Stuttgart, and in Berlin. Last season also saw the release of CDs of Brahms and Samuel Barber songs, as well as a world premiere recording of the Handel/Hasse opera “Caio Fabbricio HWV A9” with London Early Opera for Signum Records, in which she sang the lead role of Pirro.
Recent engagements include debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic under Kirill Petrenko, the Munich Philharmonic under Barbara Hannigan, the BBCSO, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic, and roles with the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, La Monnaie/de Munt, Garsington Opera, Opéra National de Montpellier, Opéra National du Rhin and Cape Town Opera.
Fleur is committed to the way music can facilitate cross-cultural dialogue and healing. She is passionate about curating inclusive chamber music programming that amplifies the voices of diverse communities. Born in Northern Ireland to a Singaporean mother and British father, Fleur grew up in Hong Kong and later New York. She holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A. Comparative Literature) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M. Vocal Performance).
“Exploiting the chiaroscuro within her warm, supple mezzo, Fleur Barron sings Pirro’s vocally wide-ranging solos [in Hasse’s Caio Fabbricio] with authority – tenderness, too […] a performances of skill, spirit and, where apt, virtuoso panache.”
“Fleur Barron demonstrated an impressive theatricality and musicality, along with absolute technical control, channelled with great intensity into ‘Disprezzata Regina’ and the lament ‘Addio'”
“As for Fleur Barron, as soon as she opens her mouth, she seizes the listener with the depth of her timbre, the flexibility of her voice, and her musicality does the rest. Later, in the Pastorale, she is as sighing and mischievous a suitor as one could desire.”
“The real stage vibrancy rests with Tatyana’s supposedly more complacent sister Olga, so compellingly acted and sung by Fleur Barron. Her unique mezzo-contralto immediately stood out in the Blackheath performance of Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes; here she proves herself a stage animal as well. You can’t take your eyes off her whenever she appears; Garsington should build a Carmen around her. “
“Barron was incredibly watchable, perfectly incarnating Olga’s irrepressible nature as the life and soul of any party, and particularly impressed with the strength and quality of her low register.”
“…what at first glance might seem like an indigestible dish, in the hands of the mezzo-soprano and her accompanist, Julius Drake, became a coherent recital, unveiled with great intelligence and increasing intensity. Fleur Barron has a lyrical mezzo-soprano instrument of beautiful colour, wielded with great control. Elegant line at all times, dramatic power when required (sensational in Messiaen) and charisma in abundance constituted the signature of a great recital.”
Opera Actual, September 2022
“It takes a lot of mastery of musical literature and a lot of courage to mix works by Brahms and Schubert with pieces by composers as diverse as Messiaen, Ives, Cole Porter, Fauré, Dutilleux and Chen Yi. Good taste, wisdom and the complicity of the always impressive pianist Julius Drake turned into a gem what in the hands of other performers could well have been a pastiche. Barron has a beautiful, incredibly deep voice, which she controls to perfection along with a measured theatricality, just the right amount to accompany the emotions transmitted by her instrument. From the first moment, the will to offer an evening no longer of good singing, but of real chamber music, was made manifest.”
ABC Spain, September 2022
“Fleur Barron, as Ottavia and Virtu, drifts onto the scene in her unsettled destiny and unleashes an extraordinary vocal palette ranging from delicacy to rage. Her farewell to Rome was heart-breaking.”
Un Fauteuil Pour L’Orchestre, July 2022
“Fleur Barron found an exceptional accuracy to the inner conflict Ottavia experiences in the face of her distress and repudiation. WIthout ever over-indulging the pathos, her melancholic Disprezzata Regina was touching.”
Le Temps, July 2022
“Barron was outstanding throughout, mining each song to lay bare the raw, unfettered grief that underpines each one…With a faultless technique, and burnished tone, she not only pointed the text immaculately, but drained every drop of emotion from each song, without ever allowing them to become mawkish.”
MusicOMH, March 2022
“Silky, smoky, her mezzo-soprano sank low with intensity and made the melismatic meanderings shine; melody and word glowed vividly. This was mesmerizing singing, as if Barron were conjuring the music from the very air around her, which seemed to embrace the listener”
Opera Today, April 2021
“Fleur Barron was… the one revelation. Her meltingly rich mezzo and flair removed the ridiculousness [of the character].”
Los Angeles Times, 2019
“Fleur Barron, an earthy Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress, sounded like a Carmen in the making.”
New York Times, 2019
“The word ‘indisposed’ must send a pulse of dread through the heart of the concert hall director. How is one to find a replacement mezzo soprano who can sing anything from Bach to Berkeley with just 24 hours’ notice? Fleur Barron, who flew into London for this concert with pianist Julius Drake and cellist Natalie Clein did more than simply ensure the ‘show went on’. She brought incredible poise and expressive weight — not to mention a thrillingly dark and rich-veined mezzo, and a striking stage presence, to Kings Place for this concert in the Cello Unwrapped series..”
“The cast… was strong across the board, but mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron as Anna was the charismatic star, projecting her character’s sass but also her sincerity, with a tone that was idiomatically dark and smoky”
The Boston Globe, 2016
“Dido was Fleur Barron: … a striking-looking young woman with an intriguingly dark and complex mezzo voice”
Opera News, 2015