Eirian James was born in Wales and studied at the Royal College of Music. She has appeared at the major opera houses of Europe and America. At Covent Garden she has sung Annina (Rosenkavalier ), Javotte (Manon), Smeaton (Anna Bolena), Tisbe (Cenerentola), Nancy (Albert Herring) and Olga (Eugene Onegin). At ENO her many roles have included Cupid (Orpheus in the Underworld), Hermia (Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Rosina. Her favourite role is Cherubino, which she first sang for Kent Opera and has since performed at Geneva, Bordeaux, Paris (Bastille), Munich, Dresden, Madrid and Houston Grand Opera. Other roles include Ascanio (Benvenuto Cellini) at Netherlands Opera, Fatima (Oberon) and Isolier (Comte Ory) for Opera de Lyon, Hansel (Hansel und Gretel) and Fyodor (Boris Godunov) in Geneva.
With John Eliot Gardiner she has sung and recorded Despina, Zerlina and Meg Page. She has also recorded Handel’s Teseo (Marc Minkowski), Sextus/Giulio Cesare (Malgoire), an award-winning Hippolyte et Aricie (William Christie) and most recently Jerry Goldsmith’s cantata Christus Apollo . In concert, she has appeared at the Proms and at all the main concert halls in Britain, and has worked with leading conductors including Jeffrey Tate, Roger Norrington, Neville Mariner and Sir Colin Davis. She has hosted many music series on Channel Four Wales (S4C).