Susan Bullock
Soprano

"Bullock, always profoundly musical, brings tears to one's eyes with a tenderness of phrasing that seems second nature to her." (Opera Magazine)

Contacts

Ian Stones +44 (0)20 3725 9104
Georgina Wheatley +44 (0)20 3725 9185

Biography

Susan Bullock’s unique position as the world’s most sought-after British dramatic soprano was recognised by the award of a CBE in June 2014.

Of her most distinctive roles, that of Wagner’s Brünnhilde has garnered outstanding praise and she became the first ever soprano to sing four consecutive cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden under Sir Antonio Pappano. Appearances as Richard Strauss’ Elektra have brought Susan Bullock equal international acclaim and collaborations with some of the world’s leading conductors including Fabio Luisi, Semyon Bychkov, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Mark Elder and Edo de Waart.

Current season highlights include her first Minnie (The Girl of the Golden West) in a new production for English National Opera and her first foray into musical theatre as Mrs Lovett (Sweeney Todd) for Houston Grand Opera.

Her concert work has included the Prelude & Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and also with Zubin Mehta and the Orchestra of the Bayerische Staatsoper.

Susan Bullock’s unique position as the world’s most sought-after British dramatic soprano was recognised by the award of a CBE in June 2014.

Of her most distinctive roles, that of Wagner’s Brünnhilde has garnered outstanding praise and she became the first ever soprano to sing four consecutive cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden under Sir Antonio Pappano. Appearances as Richard Strauss’ Elektra have brought Susan Bullock equal international acclaim and collaborations with some of the world’s leading conductors including Fabio Luisi, Semyon Bychkov, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Mark Elder and Edo de Waart.

Current season highlights include her first Minnie (The Girl of the Golden West) in a new production for English National Opera and her first foray into musical theatre as Mrs Lovett (Sweeney Todd) for Houston Grand Opera.

Her concert work has included the Prelude & Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and also with Zubin Mehta and the Orchestra of the Bayerische Staatsoper.

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Contacts

Ian Stones +44 (0)20 3725 9104
Georgina Wheatley +44 (0)20 3725 9185

Reviews

“[Sweeney Todd] has a stunning counterpart in Susan Bullock’s Mrs. Lovett, who does the best of any performer so far in making her character likable. Sure, she’s always devilishly funny, but Bullock’s tender glances at Sweeney and complete control over vocal nuance bring new perspectives to this odd couple.” (ConcertoNet, May 2015)

“As Mrs. Lovett, Bullock triumphs with the show’s trickiest role, which beyond its vocal and dramatic demands, also requires a streak of raucous music-hall comedy and mischief. Bullock imbues her textured characterization with some of the exuberant qualities, the earthiness and sass amid the genuine emotional need. Bullock sings with force and flexibility, dispatching

...

“[Sweeney Todd] has a stunning counterpart in Susan Bullock’s Mrs. Lovett, who does the best of any performer so far in making her character likable. Sure, she’s always devilishly funny, but Bullock’s tender glances at Sweeney and complete control over vocal nuance bring new perspectives to this odd couple.” (ConcertoNet, May 2015)

“As Mrs. Lovett, Bullock triumphs with the show’s trickiest role, which beyond its vocal and dramatic demands, also requires a streak of raucous music-hall comedy and mischief. Bullock imbues her textured characterization with some of the exuberant qualities, the earthiness and sass amid the genuine emotional need. Bullock sings with force and flexibility, dispatching devilishly complex lyrics in “The Worst Pies in London” and the delightful “By the Sea,” envisioning domestic bliss with Sweeney.” (Houston Chronicle, April 2015)

“A gripping performance of the Waltraute scene is clinched often by the listener, Brünnhilde. Here Susan Bullock takes us on a little masterclass of attention and support that sums up all that’s best about this show: childish hope-against-hope, anger, tears, defiance and incredulity when sister doesn’t buy into her new love.” (Gramophone, March 2015)

“She acts up a storm…with the voice solidly produced, a real trill, her enunciation perfect. When she sings ‘Siegfried, see my anguish’, right before her final monologue, Siegfried listens, transformed…she inhabits the role and the high notes ring out as well.” (International Record Review, January 2015) 

“Up at Valhalla, we encounter Susan Bullock’s diminutive, punk-haired Brunnhilde, who exhibits exactly the right passionate energy.” (International Record Review, January 2015)

“Susan Bullock, the much-loved and versatile soprano, was an ideal Minnie: raw, physical, intelligent, driven not by head but heart. She sang the role in concert in 2010 but this is her first staging, and not a minute too soon. This experienced performer knows how to use her voice to maximum effect, exciting in high drama, lyrical when needed, turning any weaknesses into strengths. Above all, she radiates naturalness and humanity.” (The Guardian, October 2014) 

“At the heart of it all is Minnie, beautifully characterised by Susan Bullock as a primly efficient middle-aged lady taking late hesitant steps towards losing her virginity, but determined to maintain her self-respect in the process…the sensitivity of her phrasing and delivery of the text are exemplary. She understands this music, and she understands where Minnie is coming from too.” (The Telegraph, October 2014)

“At the centre of the performance is Susan Bullock, a Minnie whose maturity is an advantage in a sophisticated, tender performance. Wait forty years for your first kiss and you too might break the law to save your bandit lover from a lynch-mob…Bullock’s colouring of Kelley Rourke’s translation makes the surtitles superfluous. Only a fool could imagine that Minnie will be happy for ever after. Only a cynic would begrudge her this one moment of romance.” (The Times, October 2014)

“a distinguished cast was further bolstered by the unimpeachable singing of Susan Bullock as Owen’s furious aunt” (What's On Stage, August 2014)

“Bullock’s vocal stamina and force in the upper register is pretty staggering, but how beautifully she shapes her melodic material and what a fine sense of line she has. Clearly one of the great Brunnhildes of recent times.” (Alan John, Limelight, November 2013)

"This was the night Susan Bullock claimed her place as Britain’s leading dramatic soprano. As Brünnhilde in Covent Garden’s revived Ring she blazed her way to the cataclysmic climax with an Immolation Scene that was as moving as it was commanding." (Evening Standard, October 2012)

"Susan Bullock, in her first complete cycle for the ROH and not a minute too soon, has extraordinary power, her voice ringing out from upstage even when her back is turned to us. She radiates tender emotion in every gesture, essential but by no means a given for this archetypal Wagner heroine." (The Observer, September 2012)

"With a fine cast led by that pearl among current Brünnhildes, Susan Bullock, and conducted by Mark Elder... this live 2011 concert recording of Die Walküre is a knockout." (The Observer, May 2012)

"The Brünnhilde was Susan Bullock, as always profoundly musical and bringing tears to one's eyes with the tenderness of phrasing that seems second nature to her. She is not a belt-it-out Wagnerian of the old school (thank goodness) but can soar above the orchestra when necessary. Her virtue is total absorption in the role and her diction is immaculate." (Die Walküre - Hallé, Sir Mark Elder - Opera Magazine, October 2011)

"Stunning in Brünnhilde's Immolation Scene from Wagner's Götterdämmerung, her voice soaringly, movingly direct. This is the kind of singer the Last Night should be celebrating." (The Guardian, September 2011)

“Bullock meets the role's massive vocal demands with a rippling dramatic soprano, displaying real mastery of dynamic and expressive extremes.” (The Opera Critic, March 2009)

“Susan Bullock’s Elektra is astonishing – her acting glint-eyed and obsessive, her singing turbo-charged, her stamina immense and her performance as intense as anything I’ve seen at Covent Garden this year.” (The Times, November 2008)