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Jennifer Johnston is an English operatic mezzo-soprano. Born in Liverpool, she studied law at the University of Cambridge and worked in London chambers as a barrister before studying opera at the Royal College of Music (RCM).
A former BBC New Generation Artist, she made her professional debut as Humperdinck's Hänsel for Scottish Opera, followed by her international debuts at the Aix-en-Provence Festival as Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and at the Salzburg Festival as Carmi in Mozart's La Betulia Liberata; a performance which was recorded and released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon. She is particularly associated with the Bayerische Staatsoper and its distinguished musical director Kirill Petrenko, where her roles have included Second Norn, Roßweise, Floßhilde, Hedwige and La Ciesca. She has appeared in opera at the Teatro alla Scala as Mrs Grose/The Turn of the Screw (Britten) and Gaia/CO2 (Batistelli), and at the Salzburg Festival as Carmi/La Betulia Liberata (Mozart), Lady de Hautdesert/Gawain (Birtwistle), and Leda/Die Liebe Der Danae (Strauss).
A prolific concert performer, she has performed with many of the world's greatest orchestras and conductors, including Jocaste in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex (Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Berlin Philharmonic & London Symphony Orchestras, released as an LSO Live disc), Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique at the BBC Proms and on disc), Mahler’s Second Symphony (De la Parra/London Philharmonic Orchestra), Mahler's Third Symphony (Welser-Möst/Cleveland Orchestra, Zinman/Orchestre National de Lyon), Elgar's Sea Pictures (Tate/Hamburg Symphony Orchestra), Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius (Brabbins/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra), Verdi's Requiem (Gardner/Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Slatkin/Orchestra National de Lyon), Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri (Gatti/Accademia Di Santa Cecilia), Adès's Totentanz (Adès/Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Harding/Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra), and Pasqualita in Adams' Doctor Atomic (Adams/BBC Symphony Orchestra, recorded for Nonesuch).