Susan Gritton is an English soprano who made her breakthrough to singing principal roles in 1999.
After studying botany at Oxford and London Universities she moved her avocational voice training up to a professional level, then took up singing as a career. She first came to prominence when she won the coveted Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Award in 1994.
This resulted in her solo recital debut at London's Wigmore Hall, with Eugene Asti as accompanist. She joined Graham Johnson in the International Songmakers' series, and made extensive appearances in recital throughout England, especially in summer festivals, appearing at the Lichfield, Arundel, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Harrowgate, and City of London Festivals, as well as in the Salzburg Mozartwoche. In 1996 she was invited to appear three times in the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts. One of her early festival appearances was at the Istanbul Festival where she sang the part of Blondchen in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail in the city where the story is set.
The first few years in her operatic career were in smaller and character parts, such as the First Niece in Britten's Peter Grimes, Frasquita in Bizet's Carmen, Clarine and Thalie in Rameau's Platée, Xenia in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Sister Constance in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites, the Mermaid in Weber's Oberon, and Tiny in Britten's Paul Bunyan. She sang Belinda in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas at the Berlin Staatsoper, Fulvia in Handel's Ezio with the King's Consort in the Théâtre des Champs Elysée of Paris, Atalanta in Handel's Xerxes at the English National Opera, the Governess in Britten's The Turn of the Screw and Lucia in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia in the Aldeburgh Festival under Steuart Bedford's direction, Susanna in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Zerlina in Don Giovanni for the Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Operas.
Gritton became known as a reliable recording artist early in her career. On the Tring label she sang the soprano part in Górecki's Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), the part of Miss Wordsworth in the Collins Classics recording under Steuart Bedford of Britten's Albert Herring, a set of Holst songs for the same label, Vivaldi's Ottone in Villa on Chandos with Hickox conducting, several Purcell discs, sacred music of Handel and Handel's Deborah and Occasional Oratorio with the King's Consort on Hyperion, and, on Deutsche Grammophon, Handel's Solomon (as the Queen of Sheba) and Messiah as well as Beethoven's little-known Vesta's Feuer. Her first solo recital disc was a collection of songs by Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel on Hyperion, and her first operatic lead was as Handel's Theodora with Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & Players for Deutsche Grammophon's Archiv label. She also recorded the Purcell/Britten realizations on Hyperion with Graham Johnson.
For the 1999 - 2000 season she received a contract as a principal singer at the English National Opera. Her debuts in lead roles in that capacity were as Pamina in The Magic Flute and the title role in Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, as well as appearances as Drusilla in Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea and Hero in Berlioz's Beatrice et Benedict.