British mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley made her Royal Opera debut in 1991 as Fyodor (Boris Godunov) and has since sung Aksinya (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), Lyudmila (The Bartered Bride), Mrs Peacham (The Beggar’s Opera), Babulenka (The Gambler) and Virgie (Anna Nicole, world premiere), as well as in George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill in the Linbury Studio Theatre. In the 2014/15 Season she returns to sing Virgie and Messenger (Orfeo).
Bickley studied at City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has a long association with English National Opera, where she has sung roles including Eduige (Rodelinda), Jocasta (Thebans), Cassandra (The Trojans), Kabanicha (Kát’a Kabanová), Sidonie von Grasenabb (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant), Mescalina (Le Grande Macabre) and D.I. Anne Strawson (Two Boys). Other notable appearances include Kostelnicka (Jenůfa) for Welsh National Opera and Glyndebourne, Cassandra for Opera North, Baba the Turk (The Rake’s Progress) and Mrs Grose (The Turn of the Screw) for Glyndebourne, Ghost (The Last Supper) for Berlin State Opera, Ortrud (Lohengrin) and Brangäne (Tristan und Isolde) for WNO, Herodias (Salome) in San Francisco and Dallas and Countess Geschwitz (Lulu) for Vlaamse Opera. Her role creations include a role in Andriessen’s Writing to Vermeer (Netherlands Opera).
Bickley’s concert repertory ranges from Baroque works to contemporary music. From 2011 to 2013 she sang in the Hallé’s concert performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen, as Fricka (Das Rheingold and Die Walküre) and Waltraute (Götterdämmerung). She has recorded for several leading labels.
Susan Bickley © Julie Kim
Eva-Maria Westbroek as Anna Nicole and Susan Bickley as Virgie in Anna Nicole, The Royal Opera, © ROH / Bill Cooper 2011
Susan Bickley as Virgie, Eva-Maria Westbroek as Anna Nicole, Rebecca De Pont Davies as Aunt Kay and Lore Lixenberg as Shelley in Anna Nicole, The Royal Opera, © ROH / Bill Cooper 2011
Susan Bickley as Virgie in Anna Nicole, The Royal Opera, © ROH / Bill Cooper 2011
Susan Bickley in The Gambler, The Royal Opera © ROH/Clive Barda, 2010