Iain Paton was born in Scotland and studied at the RSAMD. He won the first Erich Verteer award at Glyndebourne, and subsequently appeared in Australia, new Zealand and Norway singing the Lloyd-Webber Requiem; with the Scottish Early Music Consort in Ireland, Germany and Poland; Zaide with the City of Birmingham Opera Company. For Scottish Opera he has sung Pedrillo Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Janek Věc Makropulos, the Novice Billy Budd, Vanya Katya Kabanova, Tamino Die Zauberflöte, Shepherd Tristan und Isolde and Ferrando Cosi fan Tutte. He has recorded the role of Eurimachos in Dallapiccola’s Ulisse for the BBC, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. In 1995/96 he sang and recorded Purcell’s King Arthur in London (ROH) Paris, and New York with les Arts Florrisants, also appearing with them as Pedrillo in Die Entführung .
In the 1996/97 season, he made his debut with the Vlaamse Opera in Venus and Adonis, Dido and Aeneas, and returned there to sing his first Ferrando in a new production of Cosi fan Tutte. In the autumn of that year, Iain returned to Strasbourg for Die Entfurung which was then recorded for Erato and conducted again by William Christie. From there he went back to Scottish Opera to sing another Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte, and Opera North for his first Almaviva in Il Barbieri di Siviglia.
In 1998/99, Iain’s engagements included Mozart’s Cminor Mass with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the role of Vasek Prodaná nevěsta (The Bartered Bride) for Opera North and the title role in the The Rake's Progress for Opera Theatre Company in Dublin; Haydn’s The Seasons with the Philharmona Baroque orchestra conducted by Nicholas McGeegan in San Francisco; Pedrillo at Garsington; he made his debut at the Paris Opera in performances of Les Indes Gallentes with Les Arts Florrisants, and took part in a USA tour with the same orchestra conducted again by William Christie. He also sang performances of The Messiah with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment under Nicholas McGeegan in a Spanish tour.
The 2000/01 year included Haydn’s Creation with the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Thierry Fischer, the title role in the The Rake's Progress in Berlin; Lensky Eugene Onegin for Opera North, Acis and Galatea with the Philharmonia Baroque in San Francisco and Gloriana with Opera North in Barcelona. In 2002, he had a highly successful role debut as Albert in Albert Herring for Opera North, sang Oronte Alcina at the Gottingen Festival, Brittens War Requiem in Istanbul, Beppe I Pagliacci at the Royal Albert Hall and Ferrando for the Vlaamse Opera. In 2003 he sang concerts in Istanbul a concert tour of the far east with Les Arts Florrisants, his first Orfeo Monteverdi in Bilbao under Peter Neumann, Tamino in a new production of Die Zauberflöte for Scottish Opera, Belfiore La Finta Giardiniera at Garsington, Handel’s L’Allegro with the PBO and his first Dream of Gerontius in Scotland. 2004 began with Vasek at Opera North and Les Illuminations Britten in concert at the Liceu in Barcelona, followed by a season at Opera North singing Beppe, Conte Alberto L’Ocassione fa il Ladro and the Die Sieben Todsünden. Thereafter he sang Ferrando for Opera North and The Messiah at the Chatelet theatre in Paris. 2005 saw him singing Don Ottavio in a new production of Don Giovanni at Opera North, Almaviva at the Vlaamse Opera and L’Allegro for the Mostly Mozart festival in New York. Albert Herring in Tokyo and Flute in Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Opera de Lyon. In 2006 he sang Almaviva in Djon , Belfiore La Finta Giardiniera at the Zurich Opera. Publio Il Sogno di Scipione in Klagenfurt, Beethoven 9 with the PBO at Symphony Hall San Francisco, Astromonte Der Stein der Weisen for Garsington, and in 2007 made his Salzburg debut reprising his role as Publio in Il Sogno di Scipione later released on DVD.
Engagements in 2008/09 included Il Re Pastore at Garsington and San Francisco, Powder Her Face by Thomas Ades for The Royal Opera and Filippo in L’Infedelta Delusa Haydn for the Academy of Aix -en-Provence. Messiah with the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston conducted by Lawrence Cummings. Lloyd-Webber Requiem in Krakow with the Krakow Symphony Orchestra and a ‘Burn’s night’ with the Halle at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. More recently roles have included Borsa Rigoletto and Poisson Adriana Lecouvreur at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden (also available on DVD), Monostatos for Garsington, High Priest Idomineo for Grange Park Opera and Spalanzani Le Contes D'Hoffmann for English National Opera.
In 2013 engagements include Gaston La Traviata for the Netherlands Opera and Reverend Adams Peter Grimes for Opera North.