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© Barbara Aumüller

Paula Murrihy


Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy enjoys a busy career working at the highest level on both sides of the Atlantic. Previously a member of the ensemble at the Oper Frankfurt, Paula’s roles have included creating the title role Carmen in Barrie Kosky’s iconic production, Octavian Der Rosenkavalier, Dido Dido and Aeneas, title role Pénélope and Polissena Radamisto. Notable appearances have also included Donna Elvira Don Giovanni for the Royal Opera House, the role of Komponist in Katie Mitchell’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, Nicklausse Les Contes d'Hoffmann for the Palau de les Arts, Valencia conducted by Marc Minkowski, Stéphano Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera, title role Ariodante for the Bolshoi Theatre Moscow and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Idamante Idomeneo for the Salzburg Festival.


In the 2023-24 season, Paula makes her role and company debut as Prince Charmant Cendrillon at the Opéra de Paris, returns to Santa Fe Opera as Octavian Der Rosenkavalier and reprises the role of Dejanira in Barrie Kosky’s Hercules at the Komische Oper Berlin, following her highly praised performance in the production premiere at Oper Frankfurt last season.

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Artist Manager

Camilla Wehmeyer


Mary Donald

Anchor 1

© Peter Dazeley



Paula performs La Damnation de Faust in Utrecht

Tivoli Grote-Zaal-Light_5.jpg

On 14 June, Paula Murrihy appears at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, as Marguérite in a performance of Berlioz' La Damnation de Faust.


Karina Canellakis conducts the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and joining Paula in the cast are David Junghoon Kim (Faust), Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Méphistophélès) and Alexander Grassauer (Burner).

Paula then travels to the States to round off her 2023-24 season with performances of Octavian Der Rosenkavalier at the Santa Fe Opera.

For further details of Paula's performance at TivoliVredenburg, please see the venue website here.

© SWARD - Ward Mevis

Posted 03/06/2024.


Repertoire Includes



Mass in B Minor

Christmas Oratorio

St John Passion

St Matthew Passion

Easter Oratorio

Ascension Oratorio


Missa Solemnis

Symphony No. 9


Les nuits d'été



Alexander’s Feast




Symphony No. 6



Missa in Tempore Belli



The Destruction of Jerusalem 






Das Knaben Wunderhorn

Das Lied Von der Erde

Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen







Stabat Mater


Petite Messe Solennelle
Stabat Mater


Mass in C





Bluebeard’s Castle (Judith)


Benvenuto Cellini (Ascanio)


Carmen (Carmen)


Albert Herring (Nancy)

Gloriana (Frances Countess of Essex)


La Calisto (Diana)


Orontea (Orontea)


L’etoile (Lazuli)

Une Education Manquée (Helene)


Ghosts of Versailles (Cherubino)


El Corregidor Y La Molinara


Lucia Di Lammermoor (Alisa)


Pénélope (Pénélope)


Ezio (Fulvia)


Roméo Et Juliette (Stéphano)


Alcina (Ruggiero)

Ariodante (Ariodante)

Radamisto (Polissena)

Semele (Juno/Ino)

Xerxes (Amastre)


Hänsel Und Gretel (Hänsel)


Orfeo (Messagiera)


Cosi Fan Tutte (Dorabella)

La Clemenza Di Tito (Annio)

Die Zauberflöte (2nd Lady)

Le Nozze Di Figaro (Cherubino)


Les Contes D’hoffmann (Nicklausse)


Hotel Casablanca (Lucy Perez)


The Gambler (Blanche)


La Rondine (Suzy)


Dido & Aeneas (Dido)

The Indian Queen (Teculihuatzin)


L’enfant Et Les Sortileges (La Chatte/ L’Ecureuil)

L’heure Espagnole (Concepción)


Il Viaggio A Reims (Maddalena)


Die Fledermaus (Orlofsky)


Der Rosenkavalier (Octavian)


The Rake’s Progress (Baba the Turk)


Transformations (Good Witch)


Don Carlo (Tebaldo)

Falstaff (Meg Page)

La Traviata (Flora)



wigmore hall london

"Poise, Transformation and Rainbow Colours

Peerless among the constellation of Irish singers making waves around the world, mezzo Paula Murrihy first dazzled London as Ascanio in Terry Gilliam’s English National Opera production of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini. Since then she’s become a major star on the continent, not least as a superb Octavian in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, less so in the UK, though that should have changed with her Proms appearance last year as Didon in Les Troyens.

The Wigmore Hall hardcore don’t seem to have got the message – last night’s concert, far from being the sellout it should have been, was relatively sparsely populated – but the mixed audience made up for that with its joyous reception of an already great artist.

The pleasure was doubled in the consummate partnership of an unsurpassed pianist for singers, Malcolm Martineau, who seemed to take great delight in his mezzo’s infinite variety and even sat on the piano stool, rapt, to listen to her poised delivery of a traditional Donegal song in Irish as unaccompanied encore.:"Dónal Óg" (Murrihy's spoken introduction was music, too)..The feckless young fellow disappointing his sweetheart might well connect with Auden's and Britten's Johnny, who "frowned like thunder" and "went away" despite excessively high hopes from his beloved, and no doubt with input from Martineau's immense experience in Britten – he curated a wonderful weekend of all Britten's songs with piano at Aldeburgh – she made connections, too, between the first and second, then the third and fourth, of the late-1930s Cabaret Songs. Paula Murrihy and Malcolm MartineauIf I start near the end rather than the perfumed beginning of the recital, it's because the Britten was the biggest surprise of the evening, a masterclass in transformation – how to get the laughs with a Julie-Andrews-clear clipped diction when necessary, accompanied by expressive hand gestures, but to underline the sadness even in the usually camped-up "Tell me the Truth About Love". And Johnny's responses to a host of situations felt epic.

If we didn't catch every word of Howells's "King David" – text not reproduced in the programme for copyright reasons – the birdsong episodes proved riveting, and here was another ballad to bookend less complex songs. And Murrihy has such a gift to be simple, backed up by perfect technique, that Vaughan Williams' very familiar "Linden Lea" felt utterly fresh and free – again, the partnership with Martineau paid dividends – and the four songs selected from Irish composer Ina Boyle's Looking Back, penned shortly before her death in 1967, stilled any questions about originality with the poetic essence so finely conjured, especially in the two timeless numbers about quiet and sleep.

Murrihy's ease in moving between white-note slivers of sound and a vibrato that's full and impassioned but never over-spread, plus a top that any soprano might envy, established itself at the beginning of Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis. Far from being the merely "wispy" embodiment of French song – Anna Russell's wicked mockery has made it difficult to get that idea out of one's head – the shifting Arcadian landscape so vividly conjured by Martineau receded in the face of erotic passion – dreamlike, then real – in "La chevelure".

The high summer noon of the recital, though, had to be Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été. Here are some of the most searing, poignant refrains in the entire repertoire; Murrihy gave us their full tonal variousness in the very heart of the cycle, the lament of "Sur les lagunes" and the tearful beauty of "Absence", which may well equal Mahler's "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" as the most beautiful song in the world. As for the billows of "L'île inconnue", the concluding song of the sequence, we thought that the breeze had already transported us enough, but it was to take us to unexpected places after the interval. Perfect song programme, perfect pianist, perfect singer."

David Nice, The Arts Desk (30 May 2024)

handel HERCULES / komische oper berlin

"Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy nailed the role of Dejanira with an emotionally charged timbre that expressed this rather one-dimensional role. Is it all-consuming jealousy, is it madness? Her portrayal of this long-suffering wife was overwhelming."
Zenaida des Aubris, Bachtrack (6 March 2024)

"Ein Triumph der Sängerin. Die großartig-expressiven Reserven ahnt man nicht hinter ihrem kühl verchromten Mezzo kaum – und ist umso beeindruckter. Optisch gesehen: Glenn Close, allein zu Haus‘. Die gefährlichen Liebschaften, die sie wittert, lassen sie später ordentlich ausrasten. ... Kurzum: Apotheose der Hauptdarstellerin. Paula Murrihy Superstar."
"A triumph for the singer. You hardly suspect the magnificently expressive reserves behind her cool chrome-plated mezzo - and are all the more impressed. Visually: Glenn Close, Home Alone'. The dangerous love affairs she senses cause her to freak out later. ... In short: apotheosis of the leading actress. Paula Murrihy Superstar."
Kai Luehrs-Kaiser, RBB Kultur (4 March 2024)

"Das Zentrum der Aufführung beherrscht Paula Murrihy als von Eifersucht zerfressene Dejanira, die auch schon einmal eine Kantilene zugunsten der Wahrhaftigkeit des Ausdrucks opfert, und mit Flüstern, Schreien und irrem Lachen das Spektrum der Interpretation voll ausschöpft.""The centre of the performance is dominated by Paula Murrihy as Dejanira, consumed by jealousy, who sometimes sacrifices a cantilena in favour of the truthfulness of expression, and who fully exploits the spectrum of interpretation with whispers, screams and crazed laughter."

Peter Sommeregger, (4 March 2024)

"In Frankfurt, wo die Produktion bereits zu sehen war, hatte Kosky zur Bedingung gemacht, dass die ... Mezzosopranistin Paula Murrihy die Dejanira übernehmen würde, und nun kam auch das Berliner Publikum in den Genuss ihrer phänomenalen Leistung voller Hingabe an die Partie, die irrwitzigsten Verzierungen meisternd, textverständlich und mit so vielen Facetten die Partie ausstattend, dass es einem den Atem verschlagen konnte. Die Stimme ist ... eine alle Nuancen von Trauer, Jubel, Wut, Verzweiflung und Irrsinn vermittelnde."

"In Frankfurt, where the production had already been seen, Kosky had made it a condition that the ... mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy would take on the role of Dejanira, and now the Berlin audience was also able to enjoy her phenomenal performance, full of devotion to the role and with the most insanely masterful embellishments, precisely sung and endowed with so many dimensions it took your breath away. The voice is ... one that conveys all the nuances of sadness, joy, anger, despair and madness."

Ingrid Wanja, Der Opernfreund (March 2024)

Berlioz LES TROYENS / Monteverdi Choir & Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

BBC Proms

"Murrihy is a poised and ultra-musical singer, [...] impressive in her transition from infatuation with Énée to vindictive hatred at his betrayal."
Hugh Canning, ​Operalogue (August 2023)

"Murrihy, in contrast, was poised and regal"
TimeAshley, The Guardian (August 2023)

"Dido is in the spotlight in the later acts, and Paula Murrihy’s portrayal of the doomed queen was one of noble, elegant beauty."
Rebecca Franks, The Times, (August 2023)
"Paula Murrihy’s Dido was primarily lyrical, touching in the simplicity of her singing"
Richard Fairman, Financial Times (August 2023)
"Paula Murrihy was moving as Queen Dido"
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph (August 2023)

"From Act III onwards we were in Carthage, watching as the great love story between Paula Murrihy’s commanding, eloquent Dido and Spyres’ Aeneas played out. […] The duet in which they celebrate their “night of rapture” was particularly ravishing as they melded their voices into each other, giving the sinuous melodies full resonance. Like Coote’s Cassandra, Murrihy’s Dido was no victim, but an intelligent complex woman fighting to play her part in a rapidly disintegrating world."
Rachel Halliburton, The Arts Desk (August 2023)

Salzburg Festival

"In the love duet with the reliable, clever Dido, sung by the Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy, the voices of the two harmonized in the most beautiful lyricism - this enchanting duet "Nuit d'ivresse - Night of Drunkenness" is the absolute highlight of the "Troyens"."
Fridemann Leipold, BR Klassik (August 2023)



Handel HERCULES / Oper Frankfurt

"Paula Murrihy, a returning ex-member of the ensemble, has fair form as a singer of Baroque music. In Dejanira’s Mad Scene the exigencies of Kosky’s Personenregie cause her to distort Handel’s music for expressive effect but it worked emotionally and theatrically."
Hugh Canning, Operalogue (June 2023)

"Paula Murrihy as Dejanira is sensational. Her powerful colouraturas are an expression of her psychological instability between depression, exaltation, hysterical jealousy and love campaign. She has a thousand corresponding faces and indulges in a tour de force of changing emotions.”

Bernd Künzig, SWR 2 Kultur (May 2023)

“In Frankfurt, it is first and foremost a triumphant evening for Paula Murrihy (Dejanira) and for the opera choir.”
"In Frankfurt ist es in allererster Linie ein triumphaler Abend für Paula Murrihy (Dejanira) und für den Opernchor."

[...] Paula Murrihy, the queen of the evening (that is so particularly tragic: no one doubts her), is also a normal, modern woman. Her great voice copes with the technical virtuoso of the sprawling game as first-class as with the required multifaceted feelings. Already in Karlsruhe it was an experience to hear Dejanira almost speak, scream, sigh and groan, Murrihy also offers rich expression in this regard in Frankfurt.”
"Auch Paula Murrihy, die Königin des Abends (das ist ja so besonders tragisch: keiner zweifelt an ihr), ist zugleich eine normale, moderne Frau. Ihre große Stimme wird mit dem technisch Virtuosen der ausufernden Partie ebenso erstklassig fertig wie mit dem erforderlichen facettenreichen Gefühlen. Schon in Karlsruhe war es ein Erlebnis, Dejanira fast sprechen, schreien, seufzen und ächzen zu hören, Murrihy bietet auch in dieser Hinsicht in Frankfurt reichen Ausdruck."
Judith von Sternburg, Frankfurter Rundschau (May 2023)

"..mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy as Hercules' wife Dejanira received the greatest ovations. She managed to authenticate Dejanira's feelings from the beginning of jealousy to fits of rage, madness and deepest depression with a powerful voice, gripping chants and unconditional passion. How Kosky choreographed the 'Jealousy Choir' drooling after her as a rising wave of hatred is one of the most impressive things to be seen at the Frankfurt Opera this season.”
Crescendo Magazin (May 2023)

“The focus is not on the eponymous demigod, but on his wife Dejanira, who the viewer experiences at the beginning in anxious expectation of the hero who has gone to war, then in exuberant joy at his return and immediately afterwards in raging jealousy and snippy aggression against the husband. Paula Murrihy is the perfect cast to authenticate this emotional roller coaster ride with facial expressions and music. The way the Irish mezzo-soprano sculpts the portrait of a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown is nothing short of breathtaking. Her acting excellence comes together with a musical creative power, which on the basis of a noble-herb timbre voice expresses the text even in technically unassailable embellishments and coloratura, without making musical compromises. If you were able to experience that, then you know why Barrie Kosky cites working with Paula Murrihy as one of the motives for accepting this directing contract.”
"Im Mittelpunkt steht nicht der titelgebende Halbgott, sondern dessen Gattin Dejanira, die der Zuschauer zu Beginn in banger Erwartung des in einen Krieg gezogenen Helden, sodann in überschwänglicher Freude über dessen Rückkehr und gleich darauf in rasender Eifersucht und schnippischer Aggression gegen den Gatten erlebt. Zur mimischen und musikalischen Beglaubigung dieses Wechselbads der Gefühle ist Paula Murrihy die perfekte Besetzung. Wie die irische Mezzosopranistin das Porträt einer Frau am Rande des Nervenzusammenbruchs formt, ist geradezu atemberaubend. Ihre darstellerische Exzellenz kommt mit einer musikalischen Gestaltungskraft zusammen, welche auf der Basis einer edel-herb timbrierten Stimme selbst in technisch unangreifbar ausgeführten Auszierungen und Koloraturen den Text expressiv umsetzt, ohne musikalische Kompromisse einzugehen. Wenn man das erleben durfte, dann weiß man, warum Barrie Kosky als eines der Motive für die Annahme dieses Regieauftrags die Zusammenarbeit mit Paula Murrihy angibt."
Michael Demel, Der Opernfreund (May 2023)

“Paula Murrihy has shown excessive longing and ebullient reunion happiness, but the way she taunts Hercules is sensational. The Irish soprano punches coloratura chains into the air, which hit her husband like whiplash, and embraces him with false tenderness, which already burns his skin like the Nessus shirt later on.

[...] The Frankfurt production is brilliantly cast in every role, and exclusively from the ensemble. The former long-standing ensemble member Paula Murrihy stands out once again. Her dejanira is the event of the evening. Not only because of her expressive singing, but also because of Barrie Kosky's sophisticated and excessive leadership.”
"Die Frankfurter Produktion ist in jeder Partie glänzend besetzt, und das ausschließlich aus dem Ensemble. Daraus ragt das frühere langjährige Ensemblemitglied Paula Murrihy noch einmal heraus. Ihre Dejanira ist das Ereignis des Abends. Nicht nur durch ihren ausdrucksvollen Gesang, sondern auch durch Barrie Koskys ausgefeilte und bis ins Exzessive gehende Personenführung."

Bernd Feuchtner, (May 2023)

Bartók BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE / Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra

“The Irish mezzo-soprano creates the essence of Judith with wonderful luminosity and intensity”
Katharina von Glasenapp, ​Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung (January 2023)


“the Irish mezzo-soprano gives a vocally assured and self-confident Judith”

A. Mika,  Kronen Zeitung (January 2023)

Bizet CARMEN / Irish National Opera

"Paula Murrihy’s Carmen does a fine brazen version of the Habanera in Act 1, infusing that aria with an uncommon strength."
Katy Hayes, The
Independant (March 2022)

"Elsewhere there is much to savour, above all in how mezzo Paula Murrihy inhabits the title role. She and soprano Celine Byrne – as love-rival Micaëla – are captivating in their solos."

Michael Dungan, The Irish Times (March 2022)