Isobel Buchanan

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Isobel Buchanan (born 15 March 1954) is a Scottish operatic soprano.

Early life and career[edit]

Isobel Buchanan was born in 1954 in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1971, she received a scholarship to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where in 1974, she was awarded with Student of the Year prize. She also won the Governor's Recital Prize that same year.[1]

She signed a three-year contract with The Australian Opera in 1975 to pursue her career in singing and in 1976 made her professional opera debut as Pamina in the company's production of The Magic Flute. She was the youngest Principal Artist in the company's history. She made her British debut in 1978 at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, again as Pamina in a new production by John Cox. (She returned to Glyndebourne in 1981 as Countess Almaviva in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and reprised the role at the 1984 has grown lot Festival.)[2]

In 1978, she sang Micaela in Carmen at the Vienna State Opera, conducted by Carlos Kleiber with Plácido Domingo as Don José and Elena Obraztsova as Carmen, in a production by Franco Zeffirelli. She continued adding to her repertoire with Sophie in Massenet's Werther and a Flower Maiden in Wagner's Parsifal at the Royal Opera House in 1979. Since then, she has appeared at many other major opera houses and companies including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Scottish Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Hamburg State Opera, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and the Cologne Opera. She has collaborated with many renowned conductors, including Georg Solti, Bernard Haitink, Andrew Davis, Colin Davis, Sergiu Celibidache, John Pritchard, Neville Marriner, Carlos Kleiber and Yehudi Menuhin.

The BBC made a documentary of her career in 1981. She featured in three-part series called Isobel which was recorded in August 1983 and aired on BBC the following April.[3] In 1983 she played Diana in the BBC television production of Orpheus in the Underworld.[4] and also appeared in TV programmes such as Face the Music and Parkinson.[1]

In 1990 she sang at HM The Queen Mother's 90th Birthday celebration at the London Palladium in a section dedicated to Scotland where she sang My Ain Folk appearing with Her Majesty's PM John Spoore and actress Geraldine McEwan with a reading of recollections of childhood in Glamis.


She is married to the Australian-born English stage actor Jonathan Hyde. They have two daughters; one of them is a British actress, Georgia King.[5]


Her repertory includes:

Year Composer Opera Role(s)
1973 Puccini Suor Angelica Sister Genovieffa
1976 Delibes Lakmé Ellen
Mozart The Magic Flute Pamina
Puccini La bohème Mimi
Mozart Così fan tutte Dorabella
1978 Bizet Carmen Micaëla
1979 Verdi Simon Boccanegra Maria Boccanegra
Massenet Werther Sophie
Wagner Parsifal Flower Maiden
1980 Bellini La sonnambula Lisa
1981 Mozart The Marriage of Figaro Countess Almaviva
1982 Mozart Don Giovanni Donna Elvira
1984 Poulenc Dialogues of the Carmelites Blanche de la Force


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Isobel Buchanan biography, Samling Foundation. Accessed 18 November 2008.
  2. ^ Biography, Liner notes for Isobel Buchanan: Songs of Scotland, Lismor Recordings, LCOM6038. Accessed 18 November 2008.
  3. ^ Young, Andrew (3 April 1984). "Isobel's back on song". The Glasgow Herald. p. 4. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Orpheus in the Underworld", British Film Institute, retrieved 10 April 2013.
  5. ^ Gordon, Amanda - Out & About: RSC Goes Brooklyn Even Bigger Than BAM, The New York Sun, 10 October 2007. Accessed 18 November 2008.

External links[edit]