Phyllis Cannan was born in Scotland and trained at the Royal Scottish Acadamy of Music and the London Opera Centre. The mezzo-soprano made her début in 1974 in Verdis Rigoletto. From 1980 to 1983 she sang a variety of rôles at Covent Garden in London. She has been invited to appear at all the major British opera houses and also at the Glyndebourne Festival. In 1983 she switched to the soprano repertoire playing rôles such as Santuzza, Tosca and Senta to great acclaim. Alongside her stage career, she has also been a successful recitalist, particularly in the field of oratorio, both in Britain and abroad.