Ann Murray is one of the leading mezzo-sopranos on the international scene. (She is not related to the famous Canadian popular music singer with a similar name.) The Irish-born singer was educated at the Royal Manchester College of Music, where she studied with Frederic Cox. She bases her career in London, where she sings regularly at the English National Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. With the former she has sung Charlotte, Rosina, Beatrice, Xerxes, and Ariodante. At the Royal Opera House she has sung Cherubino, Dorabella, Rosina, Oktavian, and Donna Elvira and has been given roles in the openings of new productions of Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortiléges; Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos; Mozart's Idomeneo, Mitridate Rè de Ponto, and Così fan tutte; Rossini's Moses in Egypt; Wagner's Götterdämmerung; and Handel's Alcina and Giulio Cesare.
Other opera houses where she has appeared are the major houses of Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin, Zurich, and Cologne, La Monnaie of Brussels, the Opéra de Paris, the Metropolitan Opera of New York, and the Chicago Lyric Opera. At La Scala in Milan, she has sung Donna Elvira, Sextus, Dorabella, and Cherubino under the baton of Riccardo Muti.
At the end of the century, she was invited to make frequent appearances at the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, and the Salzburg Festival. In one or more of these houses, in addition to several of the roles already mentioned, she was to sing Oktavian (Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier), Nicklaus in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and the title role of La Cenerentola under such conductors as Maazel, Muti, Levine, Chailly, and Cambreling. She also planned to sing Maria Stuarda for the English National Opera and Alceste for the Netherlands Opera.
She is also an esteemed solo recitalist. She is a founding member of Graham Johnson's organization The Songmakers' Almanac. She has sung at the Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, and Munich Festivals, as well as giving recitals in Paris, Brussels, Geneva, Dresden, Zürich, Frankfurt, Madrid, London, Dublin, and Vienna (both the Konzerthaus and the Musikverein).
She has recorded for Hyperion and other labels in a wide variety of music from her concert and recital repertoire as well as several operas. These include Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas under Harnoncourt, Dorabella under Levine, Cherubino under Muti, Despina under Rattle, Hansel under Colin Davis, Sextus under Harnoncourt, and Donna Elvira under Solti. Her recital recordings include songs of Bizet and Gounod, as well as entries in Graham Johnson's complete Schubert series.