Intermusica Artists' Management

 

 

Intermusica represents Susan Bickley worldwide

Artist Manager:
Julia Maynard

Assistant to Artist Manager:
Matthew Horne

Susan Bickley

Mezzo-soprano

Susan Bickley is firmly established as one of the most accomplished mezzo-sopranos of her generation, with a wide repertory encompassing the Baroque, the great 19th and 20th century dramatic roles as well as contemporary repertoire. In May 2011 she received the prestigious Singer Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK.

Susan Bickley has sung on many of the world’s great stages with conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Ingo Metzmacher, Trevor Pinnock, Sir Andrew Davis, Christian Curnyn, Antonio Pappano and Mark Wigglesworth. Operatic highlights include Kabanicha Katya Kabanova at Opéra de Paris, Kostelnicka Jenůfa, Baba the Turk The Rake’s Progress and Mrs Grose The Turn of the Screw at Glyndebourne, Herodias Salome at San Francisco Opera, Irene Theodora, Ludmilla Bartered Bride, Aksinya Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Babulenka The Gambler; Virgie Anna Nicole at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Madre in Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore at the Staatsoper Berlin and Salzburg Festival, Geschwitz Lulu at De Vlaamse Opera, Josefa Miranda in Love and Other Demons at Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, Ghost in Birtwistle’s The Last Supper at the Staatsoper Berlin, Kabanicha, La Nourice Ariane et Barbe-bleue at Frankfurt Oper, Mescalina Le Grand Macabre Twice, Juno Semele, Storgè Jephtha, Dido/Sorceress After Dido, Mescalina Le Grand Macabre and Anne Two Boys at English National Opera and Ortrud Lohengrin and Brangäne Tristan und Isolde at Welsh National Opera.

On the concert platform Bickley has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras and ensembles. She made her debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under Gustavo Dudamel in Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are, her Carnegie Hall debut singing Stravinsky Requiem Canticles; has sung Ligeti Requiem and George Benjamin Upon Silence at the Salzburg Festival; opened the 2008 Edinburgh International Festival and regularly appears at the BBC Proms. Performances during the last couple of seasons include Alexander Nevsky, Fricka Die Walküre and Waltraute Götterdämmerung with the Hallé Orchestra, the latter of which was recorded for commercial release and won Best Opera Album at the 2010 Gramophone Awards. Other engagements include Alice in Wonderland with NDR Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Adès America: A Prophecy with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Symphony No.2 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Bach B-minor Mass at the Barbican, London and performances with RundfunkChor Berlin, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Northern Sinfonia, BBC Scottish Symphony and at the Three Choirs Festival.

On the recital platform, Bickley has appeared with Roger Vignoles at the Kennedy Center in Washington, with Iain Burnside at the Wigmore Hall and at the Spitalfields Festival, and with Julius Drake at St John Smith’s Square and Oxford Lieder Festival. In autumn 2011 she performed songs and part-songs by Haydn at the Wigmore Hall with András Schiff and recently recorded songs by Poulenc with Graham Johnson for Hyperion.

Susan Bickley’s other recorded repertoire includes songs by Ivor Gurney with Iain Burnside; Handel Serse, Theodora, Solomon; Purcell The Fairy Queen, Dido and Aeneas; Vivaldi Juditha triumphans; Reynaldo Hahn Songs; George Benjamin Upon Silence; Thomas Adès America: A Prophecy; and Simon Bainbridge Ad ora incerta and Primo Levi songs.

Engagements in 2013/14 included Rubbra’s Ode to the Queen with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms, Benjamin Into the Little Hill at the Messiaen Festival in La Meije, Virgie with New York City Opera, Auntie Peter Grimes with Sir Antonio Pappano and the Accademia Nazioanle di Santa Cecilia, Eduige Rodelinda in a new production by Richard Jones for English National Opera, Jocasta in the world premiere of Julian Anderson’s The Thebans, and Waltraute Götterdämmerung for Opera North.

This season, Bickley sings Virgie in the revival of Anna Nicole at the ROH, Herodias at Dallas Opera, Messangiera Orfeo with the ROH at The Roundhouse, Mother in the world premiere of Tansy Davies’ Between Worlds at ENO, Irene with the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, Tippet’s A Child of Our Time with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Hallé. Further ahead Bickley will return to Opera North, WNO, Glyndebourne and the ROH.

Susan Bickley is represented by Intermusica.
September 2014 / 676 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.


Opera Repertoire

ANDRIESSEN
Maria Thins Writing to Vermeer
BARTOK Judith Bluebeards Castle
BERG
Countess Lulu
BERLIOZ
Beatrice Beatrice et Benedict
Cassandre/Didon Les Troyens
BIRTWISTLE
Ghost The Last Supper
BRITTEN
Florence Pike, Lady Billows Albert Herring
Elizabeth I Gloriana
Auntie Peter Grimes
Lucretia Rape of Lucretia
HANDEL
Storge Jephtha
Juno Semele
Serse Serse
Irene Theodora
HENZE
Kurfuerstin The Prince of Homburg
HUMPERDINCK
Witch Hansel and Gretel
JANACEK
Kostelnicka Jenufa
Kabanicha Katya Kabanova
Mila’s mother Osud
LAMAN
Clytaemnestra Agamemnon
MONTEVERDI
Ottavia The Coronation of Poppea
Messaggiera Orfeo
Penelope The Return of Ulysses
MOZART
Marcellina Marriage of Figaro
MUSSORGSKY
Marina Boris Godunov
OSBOURNE, NIGEL
Anna Electrification of the Soviet Union
PROKOFIEV
Babuschke The Gambler
PURCELL
Dido, Sorceress Dido and Aeneas
SMETANA
Ludmilla The Bartered Bride
STRAUSS, RICHARD
Klytemnestra Elektra
Herodias Salome
Clairon Capriccio
STRAVINSKY
Baba the Turk The Rake’s Progress
Jocasta Oedipus Rex
TCHAIKOVSKY
Pauline Queen of Spades
TIPPETT
Andromache King Priam
Nan New Year
TURNAGE
Twice through the Heart
WAGNER
Fricka Das Rheingold *
Fricka, Sieglinde Die Walkure *
Brangäne Tristan und Isolde
Kundry Parsifal *
Waltraute Götterdämmerung
Ortrud Lohengrin

* Not performed on stage

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Concert Repertoire

ADES
America
BAINBRIDGE
Ad ora Incerta
BANTOCK
Sappho
BERLIOZ
L'Enfance du Christ
Le mort de Cleopatre
Romeo and Juliette
BEETHOVEN Missa Solemnis
BRAHMS
Alto Rhapsody
BRITTEN
Spring Symphony
ELGAR
The Dream of Gerontius
Sea Pictures
The Kingdom
HAYDN
Scena di Berenice
MAHLER
Das Lied von der Erde
Kindertotenlieder
Symphony No.2
Symphony No.3
Symphony No.8
MAW
Scenes and Arias
MENDELSSOHN
Elijah
PROKOFIEV
Alexander Nevsky
RAVEL
Scheherazade
RUBBRA
Ode to the Queen
STRAVINSKY
Oedipus Rex
Les Noces
Requiem Canticles
TIPPETT
A Child of our Time
VERDI
Requiem
WAGNER
Wesendonck Lieder

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Storge Jepthe / CD Hyperion
The Sixteen / cond. Harry Christophers

“Storgè’s ‘In gentle murmers will I mourn’ is sung with delectable softness by Susan Bickley…”
David Vickers, Gramophone, September 2014

Waltraute Götterdämmerung / Opera North
Cond. Richard Farnes / concert staging Peter Mumford

“The other remarkable character in this strong cast was Susan Bickley’s Waltraute. Singing well within herself, she slipped easily into a quiet intensity that was utterly riveting. But there was plenty of blaze in her departure.”
Martin Dreyer, Opera, August 2014

“The dramatic highlight of the evening, however, was undoubtedly the scene in which the Valkyrie Waltraute begs her sister to save the Götter from their Dämmerung by returning the Ring to the Rhinemaidens. Susan Bickley brought tears to the eyes with her moving description of Wotan’s solitary, forlorn existence in Valhalla as he awaits the gods’ demise. She seemed to inspire Mellor to her most gripping singing of the evening – a staggering performance.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, June 2014

“Susan Bickley’s Waltraute close focuses all Valhalla’s grief.”
Hilary Finch, Times, June 2014

“Susan Bickley and Orla Boylan were outstanding as Waltraute and Gutrune respectively”
Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, June 2014

Jocasta Thebans / ENO
Cond. Edward Gardner Dir. Pierre Audi
“Susan Bickley was a vivid Jocasta.”
John Allison, Opera, July 2014

“Susan Bickley’s mezzo-soprano Jocasta was wholly commanding.”
Paul Driver, Sunday Times, May 2014

Eduige Rodelinda / English National Opera
Cond. Christian Curnyn Dir. Richard Jones

“Susan Bickley's Eduige is a deft liaison of ferocity and wit.”
Fiona Maddocks, Observer, March 2014

“Susan Bickley, Christopher Ainslie and Richard Burkhard all rise splendidly to the challenges posed by the subsidiary roles.”
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, March 2014

“Bickley is formidable throughout.”
Tim Ashley, Guardian, March 2014

“Susan Bickley is a fearless and stylish Eduige.”
Hilary Finch, Times, March 2014

“Both coquettish and determined as Eduige, Susan Bickley provided just the right amount of vocal allure.”
Curtis Rogers, Classical Source, March 2014

“Susan Bickley as the emotionally crushed Eduige [is] noble in her misery.”
Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, March 2014

“One can only praise the superb artistry of tenor John Mark Ainsley (Grimoaldo), mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley (Eduige) and baritone Richard Burkhard (Garibaldo); all of them delivering every aspect of Handel's glorious music.”
Agnes Kory, Musical Criticism, March 2014

“[A] superb Eduige from Susan Bickley.”
Mike Smith, Wales Online, March 2014

“Susan Bickley [was] spot on and riveting.”
Eric Page, GScene, March 2014

Jephtha The Sixteen / Barbican Hall
Cond. Harry Christophers

“Another English asset to this rendition was the inimitable Susan Bickley as Storgè…I have seen her so often in contemporary opera that it is easy to forget she is also a formidable Handel mezzo. She has a distinctive edge to her voice which in this role she used to great effect as the grieving mother, horrified at her husband’s failure to protect their beloved daughter. It is not often that I have heard passage work in Handel sung with such precision and fluency and yet with apparent ease. If I had any criticism of Bickley’s singing, it is that she makes Handel sound easy to sing, when it is manifestly not. Give the rest of us a chance, please!”
Miranda Jackson, Opera Britannia, January 2014

“Susan Bickley registered [Jephtha’s] wife's anguish with unflinching veracity.”
Tim Ashley, Guardian, January 2014

“As Storgè, Susan Bickley showed herself to be Jephtha’s devoted wife, sorrowful at his departure to fend off the Ammonites. But real independence of musical character emerged with the frenzy of Storgè’s ominous forebodings about Iphis’s fate, and her recriminations of Jephtha in ‘First perish thou’ when those presentiments came to pass – every inch the wronged, betrayed woman, though in a rather different situation from the usual type of spurned lover or mistress.”
Curtis Rogers, Classical Source, January 2014

The Complete Songs / Poulenc
CD Hyperion

“Susan Bickley, beautiful fruity mezzo performed the "Poems of Ronsard," the "Three songs of Garcia Lorca" and "Pray for Peace" with strength and expressive delicacy required.”
Yvan Beuvard, Forum Opera, November 2013

Jephtha / The Sixteen / Bath Abbey / Mozartfest
Cond. Harry Christophers

“Susan Bickley as her mother Storge offered sterling support.”
Rian Evans, Guardian, November 2013

“Storge, Jephtha’s wife, was movingly portrayed by Susan Bickley, whose rich mezzo gave the full force of her grief.”
Peter Lloyd Williams, Bath Chronicle, November 2013

Peter Grimes / Chorus and Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Cond. Antonio Pappano

"Susan Bickley pulled out all the right stops for the rumbustious charm and wit of Auntie, keeper of the pub."
Jack Buckley, Seen and Heard International, October 2013

Virgie Anna Nicole / New York City Opera
Cond. Steven Sloane / Dir. Richard Jones

“Mezzo-Soprano Susan Bickley was Cassandra-fierce as Anna Nicole's pistol-packing mother...”
Peter Matthews, Feastofmusic, October 2013

“While it stops short of making Smith an innocent lamb, the embittered commentary of her security-guard mother Virgie (Susan Bickley, tremendously moving) underscores the sad fate for many beautiful women in a “hump-and-dump” culture. “Feel my pain. Taste my vomit,” sings Virgie, musing that the thong is to Western women what the burqa is to their sisters in the East.”
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, September 2013

“The real star of this show was Susan Bickley as Virgie, Anna Nicole’s mother. She lurked on the sidelines, commenting bitterly on the action until the last scene, when she took center stage to lament her daughter’s death in a wide-ranging, vibrant mezzo…Bickley’s vocal grandeur stood out strongly among an otherwise mostly bland cast.”
New York Post, September 2013

“The most affecting performance of the evening came from Susan Bickley as Anna Nicole's mother, Virgie, who brought commitment and intensity to her savage denunciation of Anna Nicole's wedding to Marshall…”
Wall Street Journal, September 2013

“The major holdover from the 2011 Covent Garden premiere of the work is Susan Bickley as Virgie, and the British mezzo is a welcome addition to an otherwise all-American cast. Virgie is the voice of morality in the piece, and as written she comes off as a humorless scold, a walking op-ed. But Ms. Bickley’s rough charm and intelligence warm her up and make us care. The chorus at great length excoriates the sleazy Stern (“Judas Iscariot,” they call him, “Yoko Ono!”) but it’s Ms. Bickley’s steely stare and slashing vocals that define him for us as the real villain of the piece...”
New York Observer, September 2013

“The rest of the cast… did some fine work in supporting Miller. At the top of the list, kudos must go mezzo Susan Bickley, repeating her London performance, who was tremendously moving as Smith's mother.”
Broadway World, September 2013

“…Susan Bickley, the true stand-out here...”
Huffington Post, September 2013

“As her mother, Virgie, the superb British mezzo Susan Bickley was funny, bitchy, easy-to-understand, and sang with assured, big tone...”
Classics Today, September 2013

“Smith’s venomous mother, Virgie (a terrific Susan Bickley)…”
New York Daily News, September 2013

“Virgie, Anna Nicole’s excitable mother, is the most prominent of these. Susan Bickley sang with raw emotion, her voice admirably conveying anger and bitchiness, especially toward her husband – and later, toward Anna’s marriage to a man of biblical age.”
Classical Source, September 2013

“As described by the star’s mother Virgie (an expert Susan Bickley)…”
New Jersey Star Ledger, September 2013

“The cast surrounding Miller is uniformly excellent as well, especially Susan Bickley's turn as Smith's vilified mother, who acts as Anna Nicole's hard-living moral center. Her arias, delivered with a well-worn snarl, are the purest musical highlights in Turnage's score…”
Entertainment Weekly, September 2013

“… a foul-mouthed mother (the indomitable mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley)…”
New York Times, September 2013

“Susan Bickley, the only holdover from London, conveys hard-boiled practicality as her mother.”
Financial Times, September 2013

“While it stops short of making Smith an innocent lamb, the embittered commentary of her security-guard mother, Virgie (Susan Bickley, tremendously moving), underscores the sad fate for many beautiful women.”
The Hollywood Reporter, September 2013

Witch Hänsel und Gretel / Garsington Opera
Dir. Olivia Fuchs

“Susan Bickley was luxury casting as the Witch, and sang both strongly and malevolently: there were faint sighs of relief in some quarters as she was despatched into the gingerbread oven!”
Musical Criticism, July 2013

“As the Witch, Susan Bickley was an awesome blend of Fanny Cradock bile and Barbara Cartland frosted pinkness, and she sang and acted with lubricious glee.”
Classical Source, June 2013

“Susan Bickley as the witch is so expressive in her singing and facial expressions that she had a special jeer, panto-like in the final bows.”
Bucks Free Press, June 2013

“Susan Bickley’s magnificent witch oozes evil deliciously, all fluffy marigold-wearing persona and pink rinse hair-do.”
The Stage, June 2013

“Looking like a nightmarish cross between Barbara Cartland, and a 50s domestic goddess, Bickley provides sterling singing and a rumbustious comic performance.”
Guardian, June 2013

“…everything lifts when Susan Bickley’s pink-permed, laser-toned Witch strides on to bake some child-flavoured treats.”
The Times, June 2013

Ortrud in Wagner Lohengrin / WNO
cond. Lothar Koenigs / dir. Antony McDonald

“Susan Bickley sang Ortrud with imposing stage presence and strong commitment.”
Agustín Blanco Bazan, Mundo Clasico, June 2013

“The exchanges between Elsa and her evil opposite Ortrud, sung by the excellent Susan Bickley, are riveting.”
Patsy Fuller, Birmingham Mail, June 2013

“Ortrud, powerfully played by Susan Bickley, is a terrifying creation.”
Sameer Rahim, Daily Telegraph, June 2013

“Susan Bickley sings wonderfully and gives a memorable performance as the evil Ortrud.”
David Nicholson, Morning Star Online, June 2013

“Susan Bickley… projects with alarming conviction.”
The Spectator, June 2013

“Susan Bickley’s subtle, suggestively enunciated and insidious Ortrud...”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, June 2013

“Susan Bickley’s Ortrud was refreshing…”
Neil Fisher, Times, May 2013

“Susan Bickley menaced superbly as Ortrud in Act One, then erupted spectacularly the second, her gleaming soprano brooking no opposition. If she was a formidable Lady Macbeth figure with Friedrich, she was an unforgettable feeder of doubt in Elsa’s bosom. She never disappoints.”
Peter Reed, Classical Source, May 2013

“Susan Bickley's immensely intelligent Ortrud, so wonderfully contained that her outburst before the wedding was all the more shocking.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, May 2013

“Susan Bickley… the embodiment of malevolence”
Nigel Jarrett, South Wales Argus, May 2013

“Emma Bell enchanted as the passive, bereft Elsa, ever challenged by the wilful malevolence of Susan Bickley's exciting Ortrud.”
Fiona Maddocks, Guardian, May 2013

“Susan Bickley’s Ortrud stood out… Bickley gave an inspired performance as an uncomplicatedly evil Ortrud with incredible power throughout her range. She showed impressive stamina to match, seeming to become progressively more deranged in the latter parts of the opera. Her dramatic interaction with Telramund in Act II, plotting revenge on Elsa and Lohengrin, was outstanding.”
Rohan Shotton, Bach Track, May 2013

George Benjamin Focus Evening / Wigmore Hall, London
“Upon Silence, Benjamin's setting of WB Yeats, reunited the performers who gave the song its first performance in 1990: the mezzo Susan Bickley and the viol consort Fretwork. The accompaniments are a beguiling reimagining of the consort sound, at one moment glassy and glacially still, hyperactive and unpredictable at the next, while the voice implacably delivers the text above it.”

“Bickley was typically understated and eloquent, and she was equally direct in Goehr's From Shadow of Night, a setting of George Chapman, and his Three Sonnets and Two Fantasias.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, March 2013

Florence Pike in Britten Albert Herring / Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse
cond. David Syrus

“Susan Bickley lent her full-bodied voice to the ‘chief warrant officer’ Florence Pike”.
Robert Pénavayre, Classic Toulouse, January 2013

Mrs Grose in Britten The Turn of the Screw / Glyndebourne Recording
London Philharmonic Orchestra / cond. Jakob Hrůša / dir. Jonathan Kent

“Fully aware of Quint’s wicked and perverse schemes, the very fresh and accomplished Susan Bickley unveiled new depths in the character of Mrs Grose”.
Chris Carter Humphray, Classique News, January 2013

Susan Bickley’s Mrs. Grose is no old fool; she’s alert, caring, in excellent voice and makes the housekeeper a major character.”
Robert Levine, International Record Review, March 2013

Recording: From a City Window: Songs by Hubert Parry / Delphian
“One of the most tuneful of these songs is ‘Proud Maisie’ with its dancing rhythm lightly aired in Susan Bickley’s relaxed tone. In a different mood is ‘From A City Window’, a quick-slow-quick format, in which Parry captures the atmosphere of Langdon Elwyn Mitchell’s poem. It too is sung by Bickley, thoughtfully, like the watcher contemplating the people hurrying by. To her falls another Mitchell poem, ‘Nightfall In Winter’, which I find even more thought-provoking than its companion because of Parry’s stark setting: bleak, ‘iron-bound in frost, silent, windless, the voice chill and colourless… Bickley chooses a vocal stillness to enhance the scene.”

“Nightfall in Winter’… Bickley is again notable.”
John T. Hughes, International Record Review, April 2013

“A recital of 27 songs features three sympathetic soloists, a soprano (Ailish Tynan), a mezz-soprano (Susan Bickley) and a baritone (William Dazeley), with Ian Burnside (an afficiando of English songs) at the piano…. Full of subtle vocal nuance, excellent diction and discerning accompaniment the performances are exquisite.”
Jeremy Dibble, Gramophone Magazine, April 2013

Parry is famous for his noble choral music and for apparently stirring the soul of the Prince of Wales as no other composer does. This pleasant disc embellishes those accomplishments by revealing this eminent Victorian as a composer of prodigious lyrical gifts. Among the 27 songs here, fastidiously set to texts from Shakespeare to Scott, are some well-known gems. But many more are revelations. Recorded in Parry’s boyhood home near Gloucestershire, Susan Bickley sing [s] them with ardour and sensibility, and Iain Burnside’s piano accompaniments are full of subtle insight.
Richard Morrison, Times, January 2013

Dido in Purcell Dido and Aeneas / Wimbledon Music Festival
Academy Choir Wimbledon & Academy Baroque Orchestra / cond. Andrew Edwards

“...on to the soloists, who really were phenomenal. To me Susan Bickley just is Dido; not only because she is the performer I have seen most often but because she gets so involved in her character. The famous lament “When I am laid in earth” was heartbreaking, and she sensitively turned round to listen to the chorus, and interacted with the other soloists well”.
Billie Hylton, Bach Track, November 2012

Brangaene in Wagner Tristan und Isolde / Edinburgh International Festival
Welsh National Opera / cond. Lothar Koenigs

“Susan Bickley’s Brangaene was further proof, if any were needed, of this indispensible singer’s versatility and artistry – the bright timbre contrasting well with Wilson’s and the warning calls resounding magnificently from the back of the organ gallery”.
Andrew Clarke, Opera, October 2012

Recording: Mezzo-soprano / Upon Silence / Nimbus 5505
London Philharmonic Orchestra / London Sinfonietta / cond. George Benjamin

“Mezzosopraan Susan Bickley geeft de melismatische partij een verheven stemming“.

“Mezzo-Soprano Susan Bickley gives the melismatic part an elegiac atmosphere”.
CD Reviews, Opera Nederland, September 2012

Brian Elias Electra Mourns / BBC Chamber Prom
Britten Sinfonia / cond. Clark Rundell

“Brian Elias’s Electra Mourns, with Nicholas Daniel on cor anglais and Susan Bickley singing Sophocles’ original Greek, stole the show as a moving study of madness and remorse.”
Geoffrey Norris, Daily Telegraph, August 2012

“Susan Bickley's inward interpretation interweaved to eloquent effect with Nicholas Daniel's no less articulate line while the string harmonies churned and changed beneath.”
George Hall, Guardian, August 2012

Mother in Oliver Knussen Where The Wild Things Are / Aldeburgh Opera
cond. Ryan Wigglesworth / dir. Netia Jones

“Susan Bickley gave an inkling of what her Ortrud in Welsh National Opera’s Lohengrin might be like as Max’s voluminous, vacuuming Mama...”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, June 2012

Brangaene in Wagner Tristan und Isolde / Welsh National Opera
cond. Lothar Koenigs / Yannis Kokkos production, revival dir. Peter Watson

“Susan Bickley, who impressed Oxford audiences as Brangäne in the 2006 revival, offers another assured and affecting performance.”
Christopher Gray, Oxford Times, May 2012

“Isolde’s own flawed servant Brangane was sung with eloquence by Susan Bickley.”
Mike Smith, Theatre in Wales, May 2012

“As for Susan Bickley’s Brangaene, it’s enough to say that she is not upstaged. She, too, is a soprano who can treat Wagner as pure vocal line. Later, in her tower in Act II, she captures unforgettably the haunting fusion of time suspended but about, catastrophically, to move on... Bickley, too, is good on stage, a slightly fragile presence but not without a certain self-deprecating authority: a companion as much as a servant. She and Petersen are a match made in heaven, compulsively listenable to and watchable.”
Stephen Walsh, The Arts Desk, May 2012

“[Isolde] was matched by the impeccable Brangaene of Susan Bickley, and between them they stole the show.”
Rian Evans, Guardian, May 2012

“Susan Bickley’s Brangäne sang powerfully and movingly.”
Hugo Shirley, Daily Telegraph, May 2012

Dido in Purcell Dido & Aeneas / Early Opera Company 
Wigmore Hall / cond. Christian Curnyn

“Susan Bickley was the immaculate, heartbreaking Dido”
Tim Ashley, Guardian, January 2012

“...her warmly sung and gently regal Dido”
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, January 2012

Mrs Grose in Britten Turn of the Screw / Glyndebourne Opera
cond. Jakub Hrůša / dir. Jonathan Kent

“As Mrs Grose Susan Bickley gave a simply inspired performance, probably the best account of the role that I have ever heard. Her voice is now rich, expressive and perfectly in focus: her diction superb. She spat out her answers to the Governess's insistent questions and gradually she assumed the whole Angst of the developing situation, in true complicity with her interrogator. Bickley rode thrillingly over the orchestral tutti that tramp ever downwards as she sings her dear God, is there no end… and her assumption of the character was complete.”
Mike Reynolds, Musical Criticism, August 2011

“The unquenchable Susan Bickley, fresh from her much-deserved accolade at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, is Mrs Grose, the housekeeper, matching Persson notch for notch in character, power and diction.
Jessica Duchen, Independent, August 2011

"Susan Bickley’s Mrs Grose is so resolutely sung that she becomes the moral compass of the drama…”
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, August 2011

“Susan Bickley is a defining Mrs Grose.”
Martin Kettle, Guardian, August 2011

“Susan Bickley transcends her dowdy costume to lend unaccustomed power and dignity to the character of the housekeeper Mrs Grose…”
Mark Valencia, Classical Source, August 2011

“Susan Bickley’s uncomprehending but indignant Mrs Grose is another convincing figure.”
Richard Morrison, Times, August 2011

“Mrs Grose, the housekeeper, was warmly dramatised and sung by the excellent Susan Bickley…”
Ismene Brown, The Arts Desk, August 2011

“Susan Bickley sang strongly and acted convincingly in the role of the troubled housekeeper Mrs Grose…”
William Hartsto, Express, August 2011

“Susan Bickley’s Mrs Grose is utterly real as a sensible woman increasingly out of her depth.”
George Hall, The Stage, August 2011

On Susan Bickley winning the prestigious Singer Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in May 2011
"When it comes to playing not-to-be-messed-with mums, Susan Bickley has few peers. Last year saw the English mezzo entrance English National Opera audiences as the grimly domineering Kabanicha in Janáček's Katya Kabanova. Then in February, it was Covent Garden that sat in awe of her formidable maternal presence, this time as the sharp-tongued mother of Anna Nicole in the premiere of Turnage's controversial opera. In between, she has brought her rich tones and crystal-clear diction to roles ranging from Waltraute in Wagner's Götterdämmerung to Mrs Grose in Britten's Turn of the Screw."
BBC Music Magazine, June 2011

Anne in Nico Muhly Two Boys 
English National Opera / cond. Rumon Gamba / dir. Bartlett Sher
“…with standout performance[s] by Susan Bickley”
Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times, June 2011

“Susan Bickley gave a typically strong performance as the detective.”
Seen and Heard International, June 2011

“Susan Bickley is superb as Detective Inspector Anne Strawson and her acting totally convincing, as we, and she, recognize that the piece is more about her own self-knowledge than whodunit or the two boys.”
Paul Levy, Wall Street Journal, July 2011

“Susan Bickley stepped up to the crucial role of Anne Strawson, her dramatic experience serving her well…”
Alexandra Coghlan, New Statesman, June 2011

“The members of the cast throw themselves into it wholeheartedly. Bickley has a great voice with an ear-grabbing spin to it.”
Warwick Thompson, Bloomberg, June 2011

“Mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley vividly portrayed Anne”
William Robin, Washington Post, June 2011

“…world-weary detective Anne Strawson, superbly portrayed by Susan Bickley
Stephen Prichard, Guardian, July 2011

“Susan Bickley is in superb form.”
Ashutosh Khandekar, Opera Now, June 2011

"What was especially fine about the central triumvirate, however, was the acting. Susan Bickley's Detective, Anne, was like watching vintage Helen Mirren."
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk, June 2011

“Craig Lucas's libretto relates the story through DI Anne Strawson (Susan Bickley)… Bickley lends [the role] dignity.”
Anna Picard, Independent, June 2011

Mezzo-soprano in Berlioz Romeo et Juliette
BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales / cond. Thierry Fischer

“At St David’s Hall mezzo Susan Bickley was supreme, offering a performance of beauty and poise and leaving one longing for more.”
Peter Collins, Wales online, April 2011

Virgie in Mark Anthony Turnage Anna Nicole
Royal Opera House / cond. Antonio Pappano / dir. Richard Jones

“In the role of the mother, mezzo Susan Bickley performed the deeply moving score with panache, such as the aria "Men, men, losers, idiots"; the story of Danny's death (...); or the bitter reprise of "You can pray, you can dream" at the end of the opera.”
Laurent Bury, Forum Opera, November 2011

“The wonderful British mezzo Susan Bickley is outstanding as Anna’s mother, providing a foul-mouthed commentary on her daughter’s behaviour.”
Opera Now, Summer 2011

“The least noxious character, Anna’s mother, evoked at least a modicum of sympathy in Susan Bickley’s bravura portrayal.”
Antony Craig, Gramophone, May 2011

“Best of all is Susan Bickley as Anna's mother, raging with foul-mouthed moral indignation at her daughter's behaviour.”
Ashutosh Khandekar, Rhinegold Publishing, February 2011

“’The party always ends’, mourns Anna's mother…sung by the fabulous Susan Bickley.”
Jessica Duchen, Independent, February 2011

Mephistopheles in Schnittke Faust
Barbican / cond. Vassily Sinaisky

“Bickley was superb in the mocking tango of the seventh movement (‘Es geschah’)”
John-Pierre Joyce, Music OMH, February 2011

George Benjamin Into the Little Hill
The Opera Group / cond. Franck Ollu

"...the excellent Susan Bickley."
Cesar Lopez Rosell, El Pirodico, December 2010

Richard Wagner Götterdämmerung
Hallé Orchestra / cond. Sir Mark Elder
Commercial CD recording, released on the Hallé’s own label. Best Opera Recording at the 2010 Gramophone Awards

“The outstanding reading comes from Susan Bickley as Waltraute, her narration providing the most completely moving part of the whole occasion. She colours her words beautifully... and her involvement reaches out as only a major artist can.”
Michael Tanner, Opera, November 2010

Into the Little Hill was, once again, played in all its pungent, ironic precision by the London Sinfonietta; and Susan Bickley…made us hang on every word”
Guy Dammann, Times, July 2010

“Bickley and Booth are the foremost interpreters of modern music in this country. They are superb.”

“It’s a tour de force, testing a singer’s full range … Susan Bickley was magnificent”
Anne Ozorio, Opera Today, July 2010

“Bickley gave a searing performance, her sense of theater as impressive as her staggering vocal performance. She stepped blithely between styles as the musical madness broke around her. John Constable was in his element as the accompanist struggling to contain flights of diva temperament, and actress Nina Kate was impressive as the insouciant dresser. Members of the London Sinfonietta played with great flair under conductor Franck Ollu.

The Benjamin is a very different work, telling its tale with quiet intensity. It makes considerable vocal and dramatic demands, and again Bickley, surely one of the country's underrated singers, was immensely impressive”
Keith Clarke, Musical America, June 2010

Kabanicha in Janácek Katya Kabanova
English National Opera / cond. Mark Wigglesworth

“Susan Bickley as a chilling dominatrix of a Kabanicha…is quite exceptionally good”
Daily Telegraph, March 2010

“Susan Bickley’s brittle Kabanicha is a finely-drawn portrait of malicious hypocrisy,”
Opera Britania, March 2010

“Everything about this performance is first rate (including) Susan Bickley’s Kabanicha”
Guardian, March 2010

“The stillness of Susan Bickley's very imperial Kabanicha, her awful authority emphasised by gleaming tone rather than the usual paintstripping old-baggery,”
The Arts Desk, March 2010

“Kabanicha, deliciously played by Susan Bickley.”
Wall Street Journal, March 2010

Babulenka in Prokofiev The Gambler
Royal Opera House / cond. Antonio Pappano / dir. Richard Jones

“Among the principal characters, only the rich Babulenka, who gambles away her fortune to the despair of her impecunious nephew, the General, has real depth, as she sings nostalgically of her Russian properties after her losses. Susan Bickley — who sings virtually anything well — makes the most of her lyrical opportunity”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, February 2010

“…sharp cameos from Susan Bickley’s Babulenka”
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, February 2010

“…the Babulenka of Susan Bickley, whose surprise arrival through the revolving doors was deliciously done. Her comic timing is superb and she relished her role in disrupting the General’s plans for his inheritance. Yet it was tinged with sadness too, Babulenka’s financial losses keenly felt and her yearning to return to Russia had a sincerity which made you empathise with her character’s situation more than those of the rest of the cast.”
Mark Pullinger, Opera Britannia, February 2010

“The scene in which the hitherto indomitable figure of fun Babulenka - the rich aunt on whose inheritance everyone is greedily depending – laments her losses, seems to find Prokofiev, too, in mourning for something irretrievable. Russia, perhaps? It’s a beautiful scene and Susan Bickley took it splendidly.”
Edward Seckerson, Independent, February 2010

“The high star rating below reflects the superb quality of the performance. Richard Jones’s production, stylishly designed by Antony McDonald, wittily creates an ambience of Weimar Republic decadence; a superb ensemble of singing actors led by Roberto Saccà, John Tomlinson, Angela Denoke, Kurt Streit and Susan Bickley play out the black farce with total commitment.”
Rupert Christensen, Daily Telegraph, February 2010

“John Tomlinson and Susan Bickley are deeply affecting as the General and Babulenka”
Tim Ashley, Guardian, February 2010

“A pair of British stars, John Tomlinson and Susan Bickley, excelled as the seedy General and his disobliging old aunt, Babulenka, who wears purple and crazily gambles away her (potentially his) fortune.”
Fiona Maddock, Observer, February 2010

“Babulenka (Susan Bickley) is the only candid voice, a dotty grandmother with a retinue of expressionless serfs.”
Anna Picard, Independent, February 2010

Elgar The Kingdom
Hallè Orchestra / cond. Mark Elder / Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

“The baritone Iain Paterson, as St Peter, was exemplary in feeling and diction, and Susan Bickley’s bright mezzo lit up Mary Magdalene.”
Geoff Brown, Times, October 2009

Celebrating English Song / Tardebigge Parish Church
Iain Burnside, piano

“Mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley and pianist lain Burnside provided a master class in subtlety and variety in a programme of favourites next to items well off the beaten track…Bickley was superb in these songs more usually sung by a male singer; bluff and hearty in I Will Go With My FatherA-ploughing and infinitely touching in his best known song, Sleep.

For the encore we had a second chance to hear Gurney’s By a Bier-Side and so yet again our hearts were wrung in this accomplished and moving programme.”
John Gough, Birmingham Post, August 2009

Madre in Nono Al gran sole carico d’amore
Salzburg Festival / cond. Ingo Metzmacher

“Bickley’s luscious mezzo… Among the huge cast, she triumphs as both actor and singer…”
Hugh Canning, Times, August 2009

“…the acapella solo at the beginning of the second act was magnificently sung with perfect intonation by Susan Bickley”
Renaud Machart, Le Monde, August 2009

“Among the huge cast Bickley scored a personal triumph as both actor and singer: in the first part she movingly incarnated harmless-looking middle aged activist, Louise Mitchell, as she contemplates mounting the barricades, and her consoling melismata at the start of Part 2 were among the most beautiful sounds to be heard in this uneven but fascinating score.”
Hugh Canning, Opera Magazine, October 2009

Ivor Gurney Songs / Naxos 8.572151
Iain Burnside, piano

“Susan Bickley and Iain Burnside have put together a well-balanced recital of the inward-looking, the tender and the effervescent. They are as adept at building to the climax of By a bierside as they are at catching the tranquility of ‘Sleep’, the fourth of the Five Elizabethan Songs, a cycle of refreshingly contrasting settings. Bickley can spin out the line of the slow songs, such as All night under the moon, a hauntingly lovely setting of Wilfrid Wilson Gibson’s poem, and also trip livelily to The Fiddler of Dooney, one of three fine compositions to the verses of Yeats.”
John T. Hughes, International Record Review, September 2009

“But as Susan Bickley's beautifully understated performances with pianist Iain Burnside show, Gurney was not only an important figure in early 20th-century English song, but also a distinctive one detached from its folksy mainstream…this is a well-conceived and important disc for all English music enthusiasts.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, August 2009

Waltraute in Wagner Götterdämmerung
Halle Orchestra / cond. Sir Mark Elder / Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

“But I must mention the outstanding vocal performance: on the first evening Susan Bickley, the extraordinarily versatile — and strangely underemployed in the big houses — mezzo, delivered the most moving and eloquent account of Waltraute’s narration that I have ever witnessed in a concert hall or theatre. This was truly great singing, with a use of the words which no one else emulated, and a dramatic intelligence which meant that, as Wagner intended, the distinction between narration and presentation vanished, and we witnessed what Waltraute was telling us about. One rarely, now, comes across such a performance, which takes its place in the grand tradition of artists who have made this scene the most deeply affecting of the whole work.”
Michael Tanner, Spectator, May 2009

“Susan Bickley was a heartfelt Waltraute.”
Lynne Walker, Independent, five stars, May 2009

“Susan Bickley was an outstanding, top-notch Waltraute: her encounter with Brünnhilde was the high point of the Saturday night.”
Dominic McHugh, Musical Criticism, May 2009

“Another British singer, the mezzo Susan Bickley, was the most moving Waltraute I have heard in many years.”
Michael Kennedy, Daily Telegraph, May 2009

“Susan Bickley’s outstanding Waltraute.”
Hilary Finch, Times, five stars, May 2009

“Susan Bickley was an outstanding Waltraute - sorrowing, tragic, and, like so much of this extraordinary experience, unforgettable.”
Tim Ashley, Guardian, May 2009

Dido in Purcell After Dido (Dido and Aeneas)
English National Opera / Young Vic / cond. Christian Curnyn / dir. Katie Mitchell

“Susan Bickley sings both Dido and the Sorceress with impeccable poise and clarity”
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, April 2009

“Purcell’s operatic account of Dido’s monumental suffering, sung exquisitely…by Susan Bickley as Dido.”
Sam Marlowe, Times, April 2009

“Susan Bickley plays both Dido and the Sorceress, delivering Dido's arias with dignified intensity and inflecting the Sorceress's music with wonderfully understated malice.”
Michael Billington & Tim Ashley, Guardian, April 2009

“It was beautifully and poignantly sung by Susan Bickley (as Dido and the Sorceress)."
Peter Reed, Opera, May 2009

Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky
Hallé Orchestra / cond. Alexander Lazarev / Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

“Exceptional singing, from the combined forces of the Hallé Choir and the Brighton Festival Chorus, had much to do with its impact. So did Susan Bickley, quietly harrowing in her intonation of the great lament. It got under everyone's skin and there was near hysteria when it was over: for anyone who heard it, Alexander Nevsky will never be quite the same again."
Tim Ashley, Guardian, November 2008

Recital at Oxford Lieder Festival
Julius Drake, piano

“Bickley is one of the leading specialists in new music: she and Drake together were excellent.”
on Michael Berkley's Speaking Silence

“The musical highlights of the evening, were Ravel’s joyous and witty Chansons Populaires and Britten’s equally tongue-in-cheek Cabaret Songs. Showcasing Bickley’s gift for characterisation and communication… Bickley’s range — both vocal and dramatic — was amply demonstrated in the energy and apparent effortlessness with which she romped from the soulful meanderings of the Chanson Hebraique to the sinuous slitherings and dusky-eyed dramatics of the Chanson Espagnole.”
Alexandra Coghlan, Oxford Times, October 2008

Michael Berkley 60th Birthday Celebration Concert at Wigmore Hall
Julius Drake, piano
“In between came Berkeley's 1986 song cycle, Speaking Silence, beautifully performed by Susan Bickley and Julius Drake, with its Brittenesque bright and florid piano writing illuminating often all but unaccompanied settings of poets including Rossetti and Yeats.”
Hilary Finch, Times, October 2008

Kostelnicka in Janácek Jenufa
Welsh National Opera / cond. Sian Edwards / dir. Katie Mitchell
“But Susan Bickley’s tremendous Kostelniuka was the evening’s stand-out; a mixture of unshakeable dignity and troubled humanity that made it hard to understand why this role was ever seen as unsympathetic. Bickley’s voice blazed thrillingly in her prayers for a better life and trembled with emotion in her final confession of guilt.”
Richard Bratby, Birmingham Post, November 2008

"Yet the most magnetic characterization was undoubtedly that of Susan Bickley. While her naturally authoritative bearing conveyed the Kostelnicka's status within her community, she also managed to suggest early on the bitterness and proud self regard that offer a clue to the motivation for murdering her step daughter's illegitimate baby. Bickley produced subtleties of tone that reflected all the complexity of the Kostelnicka's feelings and the torment engulfing her, reaching the very heart of Janacek's psychological drama."
Rian Evans, Opera Magazine, November 2008

“But it is Susan Bickley's searing performance as the stepmother who murders Jenufa's illegitimate newborn that will remain etched in the memory. Bickley finds tone-colours and vocal inflections that make Kostelnicka's dilemma and her crime absolutely credible, yet it is the portrayal of her guilt and the subsequent disintegration of her mind that is most remarkable.”
Rian Evans, Guardian, October 2008

Leocadia Begbick in Kurt Weill Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
Royal Scottish National Orchestra / cond. HK Gruber
“Some were excellent...Susan Bickley brought her resonant, imperious mezzo to Leocadia Begbick, the ferocious madame who establishes the city.”
Erica Jeal, Guardian, August 2008

“Susan Bickley ... excelled in a strong cast”
Richard Morrisson, Times, August 2008

Baba the Turk in Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress Garsington Opera / cond. Martin Andre / dir. Olivia Fuchs
"Susan Bickley’s flamboyant Baba the Turk... with menacing allure”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, July 2008

“Outstanding among the soloists was ...Susan Bickley as an unusually sympathetic Baba the Turk."
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, June 2008

"...Bickley add(s) both experience and a touch of real class."
Andrew Clements, Guardian, June 2008

"Susan Bickley's plate-smashing Baba the Turk - as magnificently upholstered in voice as in bosom - is the other dominant presence. Her surreal entrance through the flowerbeds, accompanied by dozens of prancing, bowler-hatted acolytes, has a touch of Pythonesque genius."
Richard Morisson, Times, June 2008

Judith Weir Recital / LSO St Lukes / Iain Burnside, piano
"Susan Bickley's sensitivity and vocal allure confirming her among the finest mezzos of her generation…"
Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source, January 2008

Handel Esther
London Handel Orchestra & Choir / cond. Laurence Cummings

"Bickley's singing of her three big solos has a serenity and clarity of utterance - eloquent of diction - which sets Handelian standards."
Hugh Canning, International Record Review, January 2008

"The performance, live from Handel's church, St George's Hanover Square, in 2002, is exceptional, with outstanding solo work from Susan Bickley (a raptly lyrical Mordecai)…"
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, January 2008

Baba the Turk and Mother Goose in Stravinsky The Rake's Progress
CBSO / cond. Jac van Steen
"Susan Bickley was excellent as Mother Goose and the bearded Baba."
Paul Driver, Sunday Times, December 2007

Mistress Quickly in Verdi Falstaff
Opera North / cond. Richard Farnes

"Susan Bickley makes a wonderfully obsequious Quickly."
Alfred Hickling, Guardian, October 2007

Sara in Donizetti Roberto Devereux
Buxton Festival / cond. Andrew Greenwod / dir. Stephen Medcalf

"Buxton allowed itself luxury casting in Susan Bickley. ... Bickley not only irradiates her role with pathos and subdued passion; she performs regally. ...one of the best sung shows in the Festival's history."
Lynne Waker, Independent, July 2007

Dido in Purcell Dido and Aeneas
Opera North / cond. Nicholas Kok / dir. Aletta Collins

"Faultless singing from Susan Bickley"
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday, May 2007

"Susan Bickley's stately and beautifully sung Dido… Dido's Lament, with which Bickley crowns a regal performance, itself was worth the price of admission."
Anthony Holden, Observer, May 2007

"Susan Bickley gives a lovely performance as Dido, notable for some sensitive soft singing and unfailing musicality of phrasing. Her account of the Lament was all the more affecting for being so pure and restrained in style."
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, May 2007

"Susan Bickley gives a lovely performance as Dido, notable for some sensitive soft singing and unfailing musicality of phrasing. Her account of the Lament was all the more affecting for being so pure and restrained in style."
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, May 2007

"Susan Bickley's Dido combines maturity, dignity, voluptuousness and vulnerability - a class act."
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, May 2007

"In the main role, Susan Bickley brings enough variety of tone and sheer humanity to Dido to make her emotional plight the opera's central experience, charting a sure and certain course from fear of involvement, through anger at her betrayal, and on to the self-mourning of her great final lament."
George Hall, Guardian, May 2007

"The star is Susan Bickley's Dido…She shapes and directs her full-beam mezzo to a tremendous, gut-wrenching climax. Hearing Bickley sing "death is now a welcome guest" is almost worth the price of a ticket."
Neil Fisher, Times, May 2007

"The mezzo- soprano Susan Bickley makes a magnificent Queen Dido."
The Stage, May 2007

"But the opera was - it had to be - Susan Bickley's triumph, as Dido. What a great interpretation this was, with multiple levels of expression and superb vocal quality."
Manchester Evening News, June 2007

Brangäne in Wagner Tristan and Isolde
Welsh National Opera / cond. Mark Wigglesworth / dir. Yannis Kokkos

"Susan Bickley's eloquent Brangäne"
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, October 2006

"From the outset the singing of Susan Bickley was enthralling, with Bickley's sculpting of the lyrical lines as intelligent as they were beautiful."
Rian Evans, Guardian, October 2006

"The supporting cast is exemplary: Susan Bickley is an ardent Brangäne."
Neil Fisher, Times, October 2006

Storgé in Handel Jephtha
Welsh National Opera / cond. Donald Nally / dir. Katie Mitchell
"Susan Bickley returned to give a compelling performance in the role of Storge."
Rian Evans, Opera, May 2006

Ludmila in Smetana The Bartered Bride
Royal Opera House / cond. Sir Charles Mackerras / dir. Francesca Zambello
“Ludmila is vividly cast, and sung with beautifully observed detail by Susan Bickley.”
Hilary Finch, Times, January 2006

Sidonie von Grasenabb in Barry The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
English National Opera / cond. André de Ridder / dir. Richard Jones
“As Petra’s friend Sidonie, Bickley delivers a perfectly judged performance.”
Anna Picard, Independent, September 2005

“Susan Bickley is strong as Petra’s friend, Sidonie.”
John Allison, Sunday Telegraph, September 2005

Recital in the ‘Finzi Friends’ Series in Ludlow
“Mezzo Susan Bickley entered right beneath the skin of Philips' vocal lines and the mixed loneliness, rapture and celebration of these universal texts, just as, with Burnside in keen-eared attendance, she brought life to Adrian Jack's 'Chinese Bossanova' and prised delights next day from two Scots poems, Soutar's The Plum Tree (set by Ronald Stevenson) and Hugh MacDiarmid's Milk-Wort and Bog-Cotton (set by Francis George Scott). And in Holst's Vac (hymn to the Vedic Juno or Queen of All), her declamation brought to mind Janet Baker: a Maria Stuarda or (conversely) a Gloriana in the making.”
Roderic Dunnett, Music and Vision, July 2005

Dejanira in Handel Hercules
The Sixteen / cond. Harry Christophers
“The tragedy is not so much Hercules’ as his wife Deianeira’s: from her first teeterings between foreboding and optimism, Bickley showed us a woman as mentally racked as Medea: her final, guiltridden outburst was scorching. Terrific power, matched by terrific pathos.”
Roderic Dunnett, Independent, June 2005

Storgé in Handel Jephtha
English National Opera / cond. Nicholas Kramer / dir. Katie Mitchell
“His anxious wife Storgé is Susan Bickley, rich and moving beyond stylishness.”
David Murray, Financial Times, May 2005

“Susan Bickley, whose mother’s rage is largely conveyed in silence, breaks your heart.”
Edward Seckerson, Independent, May 2005

“Susan Bickley is also back as Jephtha’ wife; she was terrific in the histrionics of her nightmare scene, and her aria “In gentle murmurs will I mourn” to her preoccupied husband subtly evoked the poignancy of marital habit and regret.”
Peter Reed, Sunday Telegraph, May 2005

Jezibaba in Dvorak Rusalka / Opera North
“Susan Bickley wickedly relishes her potions as Jezibaba.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, October 2003

Berlioz Romeo and Juliet / BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
“Mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley, tenor Jean-Paul Fouchecourt and baritone Alastair Miles gave excellent performances.”
James Allen, Daily Telegraph, September 2003

“The soloists, happily, were splendid: Susan Bickley was heartfelt in her opening strophes.”
Conrad Wilson, The Herald, September 2003

“Mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley and baritone Alastair Miles gave hugely impressive performances.”
Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman , September 2003

Andromache in Tippett King Priam / BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC Proms)
“Susan Bickley was particularly fine as Andromache.”
Bayan Northcott, Independent , July 2003

“Susan Bickley was a dignified and passionate Andromache.”
Ivan Hewitt, Daily Telegraph, July 2003

Storgé in Handel Jephtha
Welsh National Opera / cond. Paul McCreesh / dir. Katie Mitchell
“The aria where Jephtha's wife Storge sings of her desperate forebodings was a vivid example of the interpretative insight brought to the da capo arias: in its first appearance, Susan Bickley's eloquent evoking of the horror was carefully understated - a bad dream articulated in order to break its spell - but with the repeat came a hallucinatory quality.”
Rian Evans, Opera, July 2003

“The roster of principals is all trumps too – the mezzo Susan Bickley quite heart-seizing as Iphis’ mother.”
David Murray, Financial Times , May 2003

“What makes it work, besides emotional truth, are performances of scarifying immediacy. Susan Bickley, as Jephtha’s wife, is a magnificent picture of outraged motherhood, full of flayed horror as
she tells Jephtha “First perish thou! And perish all the world!”
Robert Thicknesse, Times , May 2003

“Padmore, Bickley, Taylor and Tynan are heartbreaking.”
Anna Picard, Independent , May 2003

“Susan Bickley as the distraught mother with terrifying dreams moves superbly and pierces the soul; fresh from her ENO Cassandra, her Storgé is up to the gills in tragic desolation. When she hurtles up Mortimer’s amazing cantilever staircase, Bickley encapsulates this whole sorry Old Testament mess.”
Roderic Dunnett, Independent , May 2003

“Its success is thanks primarily to the most delectable Handel singing from the principles…Mark Padmore brings both compassion and dramatic force to the title role, with Susan Bickley’s Storgé and Christopher Purves’s Zebul equally expressive. Not a single da capo aria repeat grates.”
Rian Evans, Guardian , May 2003

Cassandra in Berlioz The Trojans / English National Opera 
“Bickley’s Cassandra is vocally superb, rich and powerful enough to put the men around her in the shade.”
Anthony Holden, Observer , February 2003

“A brave, glorious performance by Susan Bickley, who shapes Berlioz’s arching vocal lines with astonishing beauty and power.”
Tim Ashley, Guardian , January 2003

“This is her show – she holds the stage for the whole of Act I, a hugely committed portrayal of desperation, singing her heart out, clawing vainly at Priam’s shoulder, and getting a knockout jab from besuited FBI goons for her unpatriotic outbursts.”
Robert Thicknesse, Times , January 2003

“She gives this great role everything she has got and presents a sterling and thoughtfully sung performance.”
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph , January 2003

Romeo in Bellini I Capuletti e I Montecchi / Grange Park Opera 
“At The Grange the sun shone, and Susan Bickley’s Romeo matched its radiance with a display of superb bel canto singing that few would have expected of this outstanding baroque and contemporary music ‘specialist’. Her close-to-immaculate Bellini demonstrated that she is the most versatile British mezzo before the public today.”
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, June 2001

Irene in Handel Theodora
Scottish Chamber Orchestra / cond. Nicholas Kraemer
“The molten mezzo of Susan Bickley was not simply inspirational, but exquisite.”
Kenneth Walton, Scotsman, February 2001

Irene in Handel Theodora (DG Archiv recording)
Gabrieli Consort and Players / cond. Paul McCreesh
“Susan Bickley proves herself one of the finest mezzo-sopranos of her generation.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, November 2000

“The star of the set is undoubtedly the mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley as Irene. Her performance – heartstoppingly direct, seamlessly expressive, and perfectly even in tone – is a marvel in every respect.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, October 2000

“This beautiful new version of Theodora easily displaces all previous recordings…the best singing of all comes from Susan Bickley’s wondrously limpid Irene, who almost steals the show with her ravishing singing of “As With Rosy Steps the Morn”, “Defend Her, Heav’n”, and “New Scenes of Joy”. This is Handel singing in the Janet Baker class. Glorious.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, October 2000

Ghost in Birtwistle The Last Supper / Glyndebourne Touring Opera 
“Susan Bickley sang with incisive fire-power.”
Malcolm Hayes, Sunday Telegraph, October 2000

“The part of Ghost (radiantly sung by Susan Bickley) is the kind of tour-de-force role that mezzos will fight over.”
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday, October 2000

“Susan Bickley took the part brilliantly.”
Paul Driver, Sunday Times, October 2000

“A superlative cast. Susan Bickley is twice as intense as she was in Berlin, grasping the audience’s attention from her very first note and keeping it even when standing silently to one side.”
Rodney Milnes, Guardian, October 2000

“Susan Bickley is outstanding as Ghost.”
Tim Ashley, Guardian, October 2000

“Ghost, the only female voice (the formidable mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley), offered a radiant contrast.”
Fiona Maddocks, Observer, October 2000

Kostelnica in Jan
ácek Jenufa / Glyndebourne Festival Opera 
“Stepping into the role for the last three performances of the run, Susan Bickley made the part emphatically her own. From her first entry, Bickley cast a chill with her beady presence yet made it plain that there were many layers to this character: this was a woman whose own tragic history made the prospect of further disgrace unbearable, and her sometimes gentle facial expression made it impossible not to feel sympathy for her. She showed that there is absolutely no reason for a Kostelnica not to sing beautifully and with depth of feeling.”
John Allison, Opera, October 2000

Ghost in Birtwistle The Last Supper / Staatsoper Berlin
“It’s impossible to fault the musical performance. Susan Bickley (in the single female role of the Ghost, who represents us, the audience) sang Birtwistle’s recitative-arioso quite beautifully.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, April 2000

“Susan Bickley as Ghost and Thomas Randle as Judas are outstanding. She is the pivot around which the whole work revolves, its conscience and its emotional heart.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, April 2000

Andromache in Tippett King Priam / BBC National Orchestra of Wales
“Susan Bickley was a passionate Andromache.”
Michael Kennedy, Sunday Times, May 1999

Inanna/Mirror/Computer in Birtwistle Love Cries
BBC Symphony Orchestra
“Susan Bickley was splendid in the roles that tie everything together, Ianna, the Mirror and Computer, switching her mezzo from lyrical to clarion modes and into a disembodied voice for the sci-fi computer music.”
John Allison, Times, May 1999

“Susan Bickley handled the patchwork of Inanna/Mirror/Computer with great poise and beautiful characterisation.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, May 1999

Juno in Handel Semele / English National Opera
“Susan Bickley’s Juno was another sterling performance.” Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph, April 1999

“Susan Bickley has a whale of a time impersonating the Queen and revelling in her vampish disguise as Semele’s sister as she plots her love rival’s downfall. Her singing is stylish and pointed, no more so than in her gleeful revenge aria, “Above Measure is the Pleasure”.
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, April 1999

“Susan Bickley’s excellent Juno has a wicked touch of the Queen Mum.”
David Murray, Financial Times, April 1999

Protagonist in Turnage Twice Through the Heart / English National Opera
“The female Protagonist, a woman imprisoned for killing her violently abusive husband, is sung by Susan Bickley with such directness and command of Turnage’s achingly expressive melodies that the work takes on an extra dimension. It is a troubling and thought-provoking evening.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, October 1997

Title role in Handel Serse / Gabrieli Consort
“Susan Bickley in the title role had one wondering why we hear so little of her outside of the British Isles, and her voice projected evenly over a two-octave range in one of Handel’s more wide-ranging castrato roles.”
Joel Kasow, Opera, June 1997

Carolina
in Henze Elegy for Young Lovers
London Sinfonietta
“The marvellous Susan Bickley, one of the most complete and rounded artists currently before the British concert- and opera-going public, conjured up in voice, stance, and facial expression alike a startlingly fully-fleshed portrait of the ill-treated Carolina.”
Max Loppert, Opera, June 1997

“Susan Bickley’s Carolina – Mittenhofer’s aristocratic patron and unpaid secretary – sang gloriously.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, March 1997

“The writing for Carolina, the poet’s long-suffering patron, is suffused with a Straussian warmth beautifully caught by Susan Bickley.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, March 1997

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Opera Magazine Feature
Bickley sings Kabanicha in ENO’s new Katya Kabanova this month Hilary Finch, Opera, March 2010 When Marfa Ignatevna in English National Opera’s new production of Katya Kabanova strides out of the church of Kalinovo, relentlessly nagging her son Tichon, Susan Bickley will be retracing steps that she has not taken for seven years. And that was at Glyndebourne, in a role she made very much her own. All of 20 years ago, Bickley made her first...

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