Jennifer Johnston

Introduction

The dramatic mezzo-soprano was named by both BBC Music Magazine and the Observer as "a rising star", and the Financial Times as the "Face to Watch in Opera". A former BBC New Generation Artist, she is a graduate of Cambridge University and the Royal College of Music, and is the recipient of numerous awards.

Jennifer's engagements in season 2016-17 include Mrs Grose in Britten's Turn of the Screw in a new production at La Scala (Eschenbach/Holten), Hedwige in Rossini's Guillaume Tell at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Wellgunde in Wagner's Das Rheingold with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé (to be released on disc), Ghost in Birtwistle's The Last Supper with Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Pasqualita in John Adams' Dr Atomic with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer, Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri with Daniele Gatti and the Accademia Santa Cecilia, Verdi's Requiem and Mahler's Third Symphony with Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre National de Lyon, Schumann's Faustszenen with the Michael Schønwandt and Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Elgar's Sea Pictures with Jeffrey Tate and the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra and with Jun Märkl and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Mahler's Rückert Lieder with Thomas Søndergård and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius with Paul McCreesh and the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Dvorak Requiem with Jiří Bělohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Elgar's Music Makers with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bach's B Minor Mass with the BBC Singers, Tippett's Child of our Time with Ryan Wigglesworth and the Hallé Orchestra, Beethoven Mass in C with Nicholas McGegan and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and she will appear in recital with Joseph Middleton at Leeds Lieder. 

She has appeared in opera at the Teatro alla Scala, Salzburg Festival, Bayerische Staatsoper, Festival d'Aix en Provence, Opera de Lille, Beijing Festival, Baltic Sea Festival, Scottish Opera and Opera North. Her roles include Fricka, Waltraute, Second Norn, Wellgunde, Mrs Grose, Leda, Gaia, Lady de Hautdesert, Jocasta, Hedwige, Lucretia, Margret, Dido, Hänsel, Mrs Noye, Third Lady, Mrs Herring, Mrs Sedley, Giovanna Seymour and Agrippina.

She has performed with many of the world's greatest orchestras in repertoire spanning the centuries, from Bach's St Matthew Passion with the Dallas Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras, both under Jaap Van Zweden, Mahler's Third Symphony under Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra, Schumann's Faustszenen with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and Wiener Symphoniker Orchestras under Daniel Harding, as Jocaste in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex under Sir John Eliot Gardiner with the Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestras (released as an LSO Live disc), and Adès's Totentanz under Thomas Adès with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Maestros she has performed under include Kirill Petrenko, Sir Andrew Davis, Donald Runnicles, Kent Nagano, Ingo Metzmacher, Alondra de la Parra, Vasily Petrenko, Bernard Labadie, Osmo Vänskä, Kiril Karabits, Juanjo Mena, Dan Ettinger, Vasily Sinaisky, Thomas Søndergård, Thomas Dausgaard, Leonard Slatkin and Harry Bicket. She made her solo recital debut at the Wigmore Hall broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Her extensive discography includes Anthony Payne's arrangement of Vaughan Williams' Four Last Songs with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins for Albion Records, which she premiered at the BBC Proms.


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News & Features

Repertoire

REPERTOIRE

 

OPERA 


ADAMS

Pasqualita (Doctor Atomic)


BARTOK

Judith (Bluebeard's Castle)


BATTISTELLI

Gaia (CO2)


BELLINI

Adalgisa (Norma)


BERG

Margret (Wozzeck)


BERLIOZ

Didon/Cassandre (Les Troyens),

Marguerite (La Damnation de Faust) 


BIRTWISTLE

Lady de Hautdesert (Gawain and the Green Knight) Ghost (The Last Supper)


BRITTEN

Mrs Herring (Albert Herring)

Lucretia (The Rape of Lucretia)

Mrs Sedley (Peter Grimes)

Mrs Grose (The Turn of the Screw)


DVORAK

Jezibaba (Rusalka)


HANDEL

Title Role (Agrippina)


HUMPERDINCK

Witch / Mother (Hansel und Gretel)


JANACEK

Kostelnicka (Jenufa)

Kabanicha (Katya Kabanova)


KORNGOLD

Brigitta (Die Tote Stadt) 


MASSENET

Herodiade (Title Role) 


NICOLAI

Meg Page (Merry Wives of Windsor)


POULENC

Mother Marie of the Incarnation (Dialogues des carmélites ) 


PUCCINI

Suzuki (Madama Butterfly),

La Principessa / Mother of the Novices  (Suor Angelica) Zita (Gianni Schicchi)


PURCELL

Dido/Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas)


ROSSINI

Hedwige (William Tell)


SAINT-SAENS

Dalila (Samson et Dalila)


STRAUSS

Herodias (Salome)

Klytemnestra (Elektra)

Leda (Die Liebe Der Danae)


STRAVINSKY

Jocasta (Oedipus Rex),

Baba the Turk (The Rake's Progress)


WAGNER

Fricka (Das Rheingold, Die Walkure),

Wellgunde, Flosshilde (Das Rheingold, Gotterdammerung), Siegrune (Die Walkure) Waltraute (Die Walkure, Gotterdammerung), Second Norn (Gotterdammerung), Brangaene (Tristan und Isolde), Magdalena (Die Meistersinger)


VERDI

Mistress Quickly (Falstaff)


CONCERT


Ades

Totentanz


Bach

St Matthew Passion, St John Passion,

B Minor Mass, Christmas Oratorio


Berg

Seven Early Songs


Berio

Folksongs


Beethoven

Symphony No 9, Missa Solemnis, Mass in C


Berlioz

L'Enfance du Christ, Le Mort de Cleopatre, Les Nuits d'ete


Brahms

Alto Rhapsody


Britten

Phaedra, Spring Symphony,

A Charm of Lullabies


Bruckner

Mass no.1 in D Minor, Mass no.3 in F Minor


Canteloube

Songs from the Auvergne


Durufle

Requiem


Dvorak

Stabat Mater, Requiem


Elgar

The Dream of Gerontius, Sea Pictures, The Kingdom, The Apostles, Coronation Ode, The Music Makers


Handel

Messiah


Haydn

Arianna a Naxos, Nelson Mass, Paukenmesse


Mahler

Symphonies 2, 3 and 8, Das Lied von der Erde, Ruckert Lieder, Das Klagende Lied, Kindertotenlieder 


Mendelssohn

Elijah


Mozart

Requiem, Solemn Vespers,

Coronation Mass


Respighi

Il Tramonto


Rossini

Petite Messe Sollenelle, Stabat Mater


Schumann

Faustszenen, Das Paradies und die Peri


Schoenberg

Pierrot Lunaire


Shostakovich

Jewish songs


Stravinsky

Pulcinella, Oedipus Rex


Tippett

Child of our Time


Vaughan Williams

Four Last Songs


Verdi

Messa di Requiem


Wagner

Wesendonck Lieder 


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Video

  • MAHLER
    Jennifer Johnston on Mahler's Symphony No. 2

Audio

Schedule

Teatro alla Scala Milan, MILAN

BENJAMIN BRITTEN: The Turn of the Screw

Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
Staging: Kasper Holten
The Prologue/Peter Quint: IAN BOSTRIDGE; TENOR
The Governess: MIAH PERSSON: SOPRANO
Mrs. Grose: JENNIFER JOHNSTON: MEZZO-SOPRANO
Miss Jessel: Allison Cook

Teatro alla Scala Milan, MILAN

BENJAMIN BRITTEN: The Turn of the Screw

Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
Staging: Kasper Holten
The Prologue/Peter Quint: IAN BOSTRIDGE; TENOR
The Governess: MIAH PERSSON: SOPRANO
Mrs. Grose: JENNIFER JOHNSTON: MEZZO-SOPRANO
Miss Jessel: Allison Cook

Teatro alla Scala Milan, MILAN

BENJAMIN BRITTEN: The Turn of the Screw

Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
Staging: Kasper Holten
The Prologue/Peter Quint: IAN BOSTRIDGE; TENOR
The Governess: MIAH PERSSON: SOPRANO
Mrs. Grose: JENNIFER JOHNSTON: MEZZO-SOPRANO
Miss Jessel: Allison Cook

Teatro alla Scala Milan, MILAN

BENJAMIN BRITTEN: The Turn of the Screw

Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
Staging: Kasper Holten
The Prologue/Peter Quint: IAN BOSTRIDGE; TENOR
The Governess: MIAH PERSSON: SOPRANO
Mrs. Grose: JENNIFER JOHNSTON: MEZZO-SOPRANO
Miss Jessel: Allison Cook

Teatro alla Scala Milan, MILAN

BENJAMIN BRITTEN: The Turn of the Screw

Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
Staging: Kasper Holten
The Prologue/Peter Quint: IAN BOSTRIDGE; TENOR
The Governess: MIAH PERSSON: SOPRANO
Mrs. Grose: JENNIFER JOHNSTON: MEZZO-SOPRANO
Miss Jessel: Allison Cook

Teatro alla Scala Milan, MILAN

BENJAMIN BRITTEN: The Turn of the Screw

Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
Staging: Kasper Holten
The Prologue/Peter Quint: IAN BOSTRIDGE; TENOR
The Governess: MIAH PERSSON: SOPRANO
Mrs. Grose: JENNIFER JOHNSTON: MEZZO-SOPRANO
Miss Jessel: Allison Cook

Teatro alla Scala Milan, MILAN

BENJAMIN BRITTEN: The Turn of the Screw

Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
Staging: Kasper Holten
The Prologue/Peter Quint: IAN BOSTRIDGE; TENOR
The Governess: MIAH PERSSON: SOPRANO
Mrs. Grose: JENNIFER JOHNSTON: MEZZO-SOPRANO
Miss Jessel: Allison Cook

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Press

Richard Strauss

Die Liebe der Danae

Salzburg Festival

'...parmi les quatre reines, la très belle performance de Jennifer Johnston en Leda.' Claude Jottrand, Forumopera
'Mária Celeng, Olga Bezemertna, Michaela Selinger, and Jennifer Johnston worked so well together, both individual of voice and indeed of character, and yet also cohesive as a vocal quartet, that I longed to hear more from them: a spin-off, please.' Mark Berry, Seen and Heard International

Mozart

Mozart Requiem, Royal Northern Sinfonia

The Sage, Gateshead

'...the richness of Jennifer Johnston was, as always, a joy to listen to.' Jane Shuttleworth, Bachtrack

Stravinksy

Oedipus Rex

Berlin Philharmonie

'Dopo i corretti, sobri ed efficaci interventi del basso-baritono Ashley Riches, umbratile Creonte, e del basso Gianluca Buratto, severo Tiresia, è la volta di Jennifer Johnston, Giocasta. La cantante, molto attiva anche nel repertorio wagneriano, controlla la potenza del suo mezzo vocale e lo sfrutta per costruire una figura indimenticabile; padrone di un ottimo registro centrale, questo mezzosoprano sa esprimere tutta l’ostinazione di chi si rifiuta d’accettare la realtà, fin quando comprende d’esserne complice e scompare per sempre; sia durante l’aria di sortita, sia nel duetto con Èdipo ci è sembrato ben difficile desiderare di meglio.' Vittorio Mascherpa, Operaclick
'Ausdrucksstark, mit voluminöser aber nie wagnerianisch heillos überkochender Kraft ihres in Höhe und Tiefe ausgewogen reichen Mezzos gestaltete Jennifer Johnston ihre Auftritte als Oedipus' ungläubige Mutter und Frau Iokaste, sowohl im Solo mit folgendem Orff'schem Oracula-Sprech als auch im Duett.' Jens Klier, Bachtrack

Bach

St Matthew Passion 20 March 2016

Royal Festival Hall

'...the pick of the soloists was mezzo Jennifer Johnston, ideally expressive, especially in “Have mercy, Lord, on me” (as “Erbarme dich” is here rendered), and technically faultless, with ideal projection and tonal control. Gavin Dixon, The Arts Desk

Mozart

Mozart Requiem 22 January 2016

BBC National Orchestra of Wales, St David's Hall

'Last but not least came Mozart’s Requiem in the completion by Süssmayr, boasting a quartet of soloists – Rebecca Evans, Jennifer Johnston, Timothy Robinson and Alastair Miles – who could hardly have been bettered, and the BBCNOW’s fine chorus.' Rian Evans, The Guardian

Bach

Christmas Oratorio

BBC SSO, Glasgow City Hall

'A team of soloists frankly to die for...the great Jennifer Johnston’s ultra-creamy, dark-chocolate alto melting hearts to the right and left...' Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland
'the burnished silkiness of mezzo Jennifer Johnston.' David Kettle, The Scotsman

Mahler

Symphony No. 3, Cleveland Orchestra

Philharmonie de Paris

'Ajoutons les couleurs chaudes et le timbre éloquent de Jennifer Johnston dans « O Mensch ! », la conduite de la voix épousant harmonieusement, et tout aussi posément, celle de l'orchestre.' Rémy Louis, Diapason
'Jennifer Johnston prête son phrasé et la beauté intrinsèque d’un timbre soyeux et opulent au texte de Nietzsche. Les premiers « O mensch » résonnent tristes dans l’acoustique réverbérée de la grande salle de la Philharmonie. Un lamento, plus qu’une méditation dans ce quatrième mouvement, qui, grâce à la britannique, atteint enfin la profondeur que l’on cherchait en vain jusqu’à cet instant. D’autant que l’attention portée aux mots et la langue allemande est remarquable.' Yannick Boussaert, Forum Opera
'Cependant, le moment le plus magique et bouleversant de la soirée, on le doit bien à la mezzo britannique Jennifer Johnston qui offre au public le plus beau « O Mensch ! » que l’on ait pu entendre : la tenue de la voix, la couleur du timbre, l’intelligence du phrasé, la pureté du grave, et surtout l’ineffable émotion qu’elle parvient à distiller par son chant, le public présent s’en souviendra longtemps comme un pur moment d’éternité…' Emmanuel Andrieu, Classique News

Berio

RLPO: Songs from Distant Lands

RLPO, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Equally accomplished was Luciano Berio’s collection of Folk Songs, drawn together originally for his mezzo wife Cathy Berberian, but sung here with and vocal dexterity by Liverpool-born Jennifer Johnston...The variety within the 11 songs, drawn from the US, Europe and the Caucuses, stretched her to the extremities of her range, from a lovely chocolatey contralto, through mellow mezzo to muscular, soaring soprano.
Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo

BBC Proms 1 August 2015

Royal Albert Hall

'....the sizeable forces of the Orfeón Pamplonés provided a solid choral underpinning to the well-matched quartet of soloists – soprano Luba Orgonášová, mezzo Jennifer Johnston, tenor Robert Dean Smith and bass-baritone Derek Welton – to rise above, in an interpretation whose stature increased as it proceeded.' George Hall, The Guardian
'...Jennifer Johnston shone in her brief contribution.' Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source
'The soloists included.....the powerful, magnificently resonant mezzo of Jennifer Johnston.' Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard

Beethoven

Missa Solemnis

Three Choirs Festival, Hereford Cathedral

'Equally impressive was mezzo Jennifer Johnston. I was looking forward to hearing her because she’d been one of the excellent solo team in the live 2012 recording by Sir John Eliot Gardiner (review). I was not disappointed. Miss Johnston has a full, rich tone that falls very pleasingly on the ear. Tonight she showed that she has all the necessary vocal heft for this role but never once did she compromise the quality of her tone when singing out. She proved particularly expressive in the Agnus Dei – where all the quartet made fine contributions – offering deeply felt singing and lustrous tone.' John Quinn. Seen and Heard International

Batistelli

CO2

Teatro alla Scala

'Der Auftritt der personifizierten Erde als Gaia, ein großer Monolog für Mezzosopranistin Jennifer Johnston, ist ein etwas moralinsaurer Apell. ' Sabine Weber, BR Klassik
'Jennifer Johnston è una convincente Gaia, dal timbro pastoso ed omogeneo in tutti i registri.' Ugo Malasoma, Operaclick
'E non a caso il momento clou dell’opera è l’entrata in scena di lei, Gaia, l’impersonificazione del nostro amato pianeta (interpretata dalla sicura Jennifer Johnston). “Io do e gli uomini prendono, e bruciano e avvelenano e distruggono” urla contro l’uomo ormai in prossimità dell’epilogo. L’apocalisse non riguarderà, però, lei ma l’uomo: seguendo l’ipotesi “Gaia” di James Lovelock datata 1979, Gaia è viva e sa autoregolarsi. Il surriscaldamento globale ammazzerà noi, non lei.' Francesco Di Marco, Cultweek
'E vi sono pagine assai belle, che vanno da certe scene corali come la Creazione a una sorta di Cantata solistica nel grande stile che vede a protagonista Gea, la Terra (Jennifer Johnston, molto brava)' Paola Isotta, Cinquantamilla
'La Gaia de Jennifer Johnston remporte les suffrages à l’applaudimètre, la mezzo-soprano usant avec délice de la rondeur de son timbre pour donner l’idée de la terre nourricière' Yannick Boussaert, Forum Opera
'Jennifer Johnston, parvient à remettre un peu d’onirisme avant l’apocalypse'
Vincent Guillemin, Alta Musica
'la Gaia di Jennifer Johnston è energica e autorevole' Pietro Gandetto, L'ape Musicale
'Brava, anche se dalle maggiori potenzialità, Jennifer Johnston, nel ruolo di Gaia.' Marco Nebuloni, Il Becco
'Our heads were sent spinning through the sheer disconnected breadth and volume of the drama's material, but Gaia's descent from the gods focussed our perception to a pinpoint precision. Here, she is simultaneously the Greek personification of Earth and an exponent of physicist James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis - that our planet supports life only because it works as a self-regulating organism (in a complex process that we are in the process of unbalancing). "They have burnt my forests, flooded my plains," shrieked Jennifer Johnston in what was the most striking performance of the evening' James Imam, Bachtrack
'E vi sono pagine assai belle, che vanno da certe scene corali come la Creazione a una sorta di Cantata solistica nel grande stile che vede a protagonista Gaia, la Terra (Jennifer Johnston, molto brava).' Paola Isotta, Corriere Della Sera
'di rara intensità Jennifer Johnston nel dispiegare il lamento della Madre Terra' Elvio Giudici, Il Giorno Milano
'Wenn die aus der Versenkung auffahrende Göttin Gaia ihr großes, vom Trauerrand her sich eindunkelndes Mezzosopran-Lamento anstimmt (musikalisch in direkter Linie verwandt mit Erda und ausdrucksstark gesungen von Jennifer Johnston)' Eleonore Bruening, Frankfurter Allgemeine
Gaia è affidata alla voce brunita e alla forte presenza di Jennifer Johnston, figura complementare al metereologo. Ilaria Bellini, Teatro

Thuille

Ludwig Thuille Songs

Champs Hill Recordings

'Johnston proves the more persuasive interpreter, offering a rich, powerful mezzo and a natural responsiveness to the text in her performances of what, by and large, seem the better songs – her solo ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ is a highlight.' Harriet Smith, Gramophone

Michael Tippett

A Child of Our Time

Barbican Centre, London

"The singing was magnificent, with four soloists of great sophistication and gravitas, Erica Eloff, Jennifer Johnston, Andrew Staples and Ashley Riches, but how shaming that Tippett’s laments of poverty and oppression still burn so brightly." The Times

Berg

Wozzeck

City Halls, Glasgow

"Rumour has it that Runnicles was delighted to secure his replacement Wozzeck – together with Marie he led a stellar cast that also included Tom Randle, Michael Pflumm, and Jennifer Johnston. " Christopher Lambton for the Arts Desk

Beethoven

Missa Solemnis

Royal Albert Hall

"four excellent soloists (Lucy Crowe, Jennifer Johnston, Michael Spyres, Matthew Rose) also tackled Beethoven’s stupendous demands with spine-tingling assurance." Richard Morrison for the Times
"the rich tones of mezzo Jennifer Johnston impressed" David Fay for Bachtrack
"It certainly helped that the soloists – Lucy Crowe, Jennifer Johnston, Michael Spyres, and Matthew Rose – constituted a dream team" Michael Church for the Independant
"He is as unfair to the chorus as he is generous to the soloists, giving them his most passionately creative vocal writing, wonderfully realised by soprano Lucy Crowe, mezzo Jennifer Johnston, tenor Michael Spyres and bass Matthew Rose. Throughout, the band amazed in all its raw-edged immediacy" Stephen Pritchard for The Guardian

Three Choirs Festival

Mahler – Symphony No 2 in C minor, ‘Resurection’

Worcester Cathedral

"The two soloists were seated in the front row of the choir meaning that Jennifer Johnston had to project ‘Urlicht’ right over the orchestra and down the nave. This proved no problem at all and her voice carried clearly and truly even when she was singing particularly softly. Miss Johnston sang from memory and delivered the music with sensitivity and expression, her tone lustrous and the words clear. This was a very fine performance." John Quinn for Seen and Heard International
"The fourth movement – “Urlicht” (Primeval Light) – signalled a change of mood, Jennifer Johnston instantly transforming the intense drama to a subdued melancholy with the most hauntingly beautiful voice. Johnston’s performance was refined and graceful, employing a controlled use of vibrato that wasn’t at all overpowering. Her beautiful tone was equally matched by the oboe that echoed her controlled expression." Holly Harrison for Bachtrack.com

Rossini

Guillaume Tell

Bayerische Staatsoper

"Auch alle kleineren Partien sind festspielwürdig besetzt: Allen voran die Hedwige, Gattin Tells mit Mezzosopran Jennifer Johnston."  Die Deutsche Buehne
"Eine Wucht: Jennifer Johnston"
Monika Beer for InFranken.de
"en Jennifer Johnston greep haar korte optreden als Guillaume Tells vrouw Hedwige aan om een blijvende indruk achter te laten."
Mordechai Aranowicz for Opera Magazine Nl
"– die schönstimmige Jennifer Johnston – "
Werner Häußner for Der Neue Merker
"Jennifer Johnston gefällt als Hedwige mit warmem Mezzo " Thomas Molke for Omm.de

Harrison Birtwistle

Gawain

Barbican

"Laura Aikin (Morgan Le Fay), and Jennifer Johnston (Lady de Hautdesert) were impressively undaunted by the difficult score"  Kimon Daltas for the Arts Desk
"Laura Aikin was a superb Morgan Le Fay, beguiling and effortlessly lyrical, matched by the shadowy voluptuousness of Jennifer Johnston as Lady de Hautdesert." Nick Breckenfield for Classicalsource
"From Jennifer Johnston’s enigmatic, elegant Lady de Hautdesert...the women were outstanding." Anna Picard for The Times

Bach

St Matthew's Passion

Hong Kong Philharmonic

"Alto aria Erbarme Dich ("have mercy") was the highlight of the night for me. Jennifer Johnston, alto, sang eloquently..." South China Morning Post

Stravinsky

Oedipus Rex

LSO Live label

"Jennifer Johnston's lush-toned Jocasta and the men of Gardiner's Monteverdians excel" Hugh Canning for the Sunday Times
"Dank der eindringlichen Figurenzeichnung der Mezzosopranistin Jennifer Johnston als Jocaste und des Tenors Stuart Skelton als Oedipus geht die rhythmisch prägnante, dissonanzenreiche Musik auch diesmal unter die Haut des gebannten Hörers: nicht nur dort, wo sie rituell anmutet." Volkmar Fischer for BR Klassik
“Johnston's superb interpretation lifts the whole performance up a couple of notches...But John Eliot Gardiner's conducting somehow misses the work's elusive power.” BBC Music Magazine-June 2014
"English mezzo Jennifer Johnston shows the same virtuosity. In Jocasta's plea to the argumentative menfolk, she emerges from lavish sweeps of harp and piano to work through a brilliant catalogue, with winks at composers from Verdi to Offenbach." NZ Herald
"Johnston takes Jocasta's elaborate coloratura full tilt, bringing her aria off with great aplomb, but also responds gently to her unexpected marking tranquillo at 'Ne probentur'." John Warrack for Gramophone
"Among the excellent soloists are the tenor Stuart Skelton as Oedipus and the mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston as Jocasta."

Anthony Tommasini for The New York Times

Ludwig Thuille:

Songs

Champs Hill

"Impeccably sung, with great warmth of tone, by Jennifer Johnston" Tim Ashley for The Guardian

Vaughan Williams

Four Last Songs

Royal Albert Hall

"Jennifer Johnston, the mezzo soloist in Anthony Payne’s delicate Vaughan Williams orchestration, also sang from the heart – but had taken the trouble to learn the words, projecting them with a quiet radiance that commanded attention. With a noble timbre reminiscent of Janet Baker, she found an unexpected kinship between these modest songs and Elgar’s Sea Pictures." The Financial Times
"Between all these sorrowful songs, some autumnal ones. Anthony Payne has newly orchestrated Four Last Songs by Vaughan Williams, beautifully evoking RVW’s own mellow colours. The songs, to poems by Vaughan Williams’s wife Ursula, aren’t vintage, but appealing enough as delivered by the plangent young mezzo Jennifer Johnston." The Times
"Jennifer Johnston, another fine New Generation Artist, let the songs soar with a radiance associated with another set of Four Last Songs. Her voice combines ecstatic range with an affecting contralto weight, and her stage presence, like Ruby Hughes’s, was compelling." Classical Source
"Between the two symphonies, Jennifer Johnston gave a powerful reading of Vaughan Williams’s Four Last Songs." London Evening Standard
"The mezzo Jennifer Johnston sang them with an authentic sense of potent wonder that was even more striking when revisited on the iPlayer afterwards." The Guardian
"I do hope that this arrangement is recorded in the future with Jennifer Johnston at the forefront: she sang the set both beautifully and with refinement." Bachtrack

Beethoven

Prom 38: Ninth Symphony

Royal Albert Hall

"and a fine solo quartet (Ailish Tynan, Jennifer Johnston, Toby Spence and Gerald Finley). The result was thrilling."

Hugo Shirley for The Telegraph
"The massed choirs more than matched the world-class quartet of soloists"


Nick Kimberley for the Evening Standard
"The soloists, ranked behind the orchestra, were excellent, with Jennifer Johnston and Ailish Tynan in fine voice, and Gerald Finley and Toby Spence both clear and light-toned but still able to penetrate. "

Guy Dammann for the Guardian

Birtwistle

Gawain

Salzburger Festspiele

"Jennifer Johnston beeindruckte als Lady de Hautdesert." OÖN Nachrichten
"no praise for the cast can be too high. Christopher Maltman is a powerfully questing Gawain, and John Tomlinson's Green Knight is hardly less vivid than when he created the role. Laura Aikin's Morgan Le Fay, Jennifer Johnston's Lady de Hautdesert, Andrew Watts's Bishop Baldwin and Jeffrey Lloyd-Robert's wheelchair-bound Arthur are all outstanding." John Allison for the Telegraph
"Erstklassig auch die Sänger, an der Spitze Christopher Maltman (Gawain), Laura Aikin, John Tomlinson, Jennifer Johnston, ..." Ursula Strohal for Tiroler Tageszeitung
"Jennifer Johnston als Lady Hautedesert beeindruckte ebenso wie das Sängerensemble um König Arthur" Gerald Heidegger for ORF
"The brilliant cast, convened at short notice when Gawain replaced an unfinished opera by György Kurtág, was led by Christopher Maltman in the title role, with John Tomlinson reprising the part of the mythical Green Knight. Both baritone and bass, each on peak form, are masters in the art of acting as well as singing. In the event this was more of a godsend than usual. The same was true for Lady de Hautdesert, sung with vivid lyricism by the rising-star British mezzo Jennifer Johnston." Fiona Maddocks for The Guardian
"Ihm sekundieren die Mezzosopranistin Jennifer Johnston als kundryhafte Verführerin Lady de Hautdesert" Christian Wildhagen for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"Auf der Sängerseite besonders hervorzuheben: Christopher Maltman als Gawain, Laura Aikin als Morgan und Jennifer Johnston als Lady de Hautdesert." Robert Jungwirth for BR Klassik
"Lady Hautdesert, eine Art Kundry (Jennifer Johnston)" Elisabeth Schwind for Osnabrücker Zeitung
"mit klarem, schlichten Mezzo: Jennifer Johnston" Badische Zeitung
"Absolut ebenbürtig ist ihr in Letzterem Jennifer Johnston als dunkel lodernde Lady de Hautdesert, deren Verführungsversuche beim standhaften Gawain dennoch nicht fruchten." OVB Online
"Laura Aikin and Jennifer Johnston were excellent Morgan le Fay and Lady Hautdesert. The eroticism of the former’s performance grew as she and Johnston’s character grew apart, indeed transformed themselves from commentators into participants." Mark Berry for Seen and Heard International
"This is the best line-up of the Salzburg Festival so far [...] Jennifer Johnston, Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts and Andrew Watts are luxury choices for the parts of Lady de Hautdesert, King Arthur and Bishop Baldwin; vocally, the evening leaves nothing to be desired." Shirley Apthorp for Financial Times
"Gawain emerges as a modern Parsifal, the Green Knight (John Tomlinson, as potent as ever in the role he created 22 years ago) his Gurnemanz, and Morgan Le Fay (the dazzling Laura Aikin) and Lady de Hautdesert (the lush-voiced Jennifer Johnston) seem more than ever like Birtwistle's schizophrenic Kundry, literally split into two characters" Hugh Canning for The Sunday Times
"Lady de Hautdesert wird von Jennifer Johnston mit gefühlvollem Mezzo gesungen"
Friedeon Rosén for Der Neue Merker

Stravinsky

Oedipus Rex

Barbican Centre, LSO, Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Mezzo Jennifer Johnston was a powerful, graceful Jocasta with gorgeous tone and marvelous diction. Paul Kilbey for Bachtrack
...and Jennifer Johnston (Jocasta) made superb, larger-than-life protagonists Michael Church for The Independent
At its best the result was electrifying, though of the  soloists only Jennifer Johnston as Jocasta sounded convincing. Barry Millington for London Evening Standard
Jennifer Johnston was a formidable Jocasta, venomously spitting out her dismissal of the oracles while Gardiner thrillingly energised the cascading wind instruments beneath her Andrew Clements for The Guardian
Jennifer Johnston was a formidable Jocasta Hilary Finch for The Times

Beethoven

Missa Solemnis

ORR/Sir John Eliot Gardiner

"Some of the most moving solo singing came from Jennifer Johnston, whose mezzo glows with unforced feeling and whose pure style fits well into the period-instrument world." New York Times
"Mezzo soprano Jennifer Johnston has a uniquely rich, low voice that was warm and pliant" Bachtrack
"Johnston's mezzo contributed both warmth and sombre darkness to the ensemble" The Times

Bach

St. Matthew Passion

Dallas Symphony Orchestra / Jaap Van Zweden

"Alto Jennifer Johnston's serene majestic sound and fine taste were in evidence all evening" Bachtrack
"The standout soloist was alto Jennifer Johnston, with a hot-coals tone and elegantly expressive manner" Dallas Morning News

Mahler

Second Symphony

OSESP / Alondra de la Parra

"The English contralto Jennifer Johnston gave an excellent vocal performance of the song 'Urlicht', unforgettable and beautiful from an interpretive point of view" Movimento
"Jennifer Johnston was flawless and demonstrated admirable vocal power"  Estadao

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Recordings

ELGAR: Sea Pictures

Jennifer Johnston (mezzo soprano)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Francesco Angelico (conductor)
Recorded live at the Prichard-Jones Hall, Bangor, North Wales on 29 November 2014
BBC Music

You promised me everything

Vocal & choral works by Cheryl Frances Hoad

One Life Stand (for mezzo soprano and piano)
There is no Rose
Don’t (for soprano,piccolo and bass clarinet)
Psalm 1 (for choir and organ)
You promised me everything last night (for soprano, piano 4 hands and cello)
Nunc Dimitis
Beowolf (for mezzo soprano and piano)

Piano: Joseph Middleton and Alisdair Hogarth
Champs Hill Records

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123
Recorded live at the Barbican Hall, London, October 2012

Lucy Crowe (soprano), Jennifer Johnston (mezzo), James Gilchrist (tenor), Matthew Rose (bass)

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique & Monteverdi Choir, Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Presto Classical

Britten Songs - Vol.2

Malcolm Martineau accompanies Allan Clayton, Jennifer Johnston, Nicky Spence, Benjamin Hulett, Benedict Nelson, Elizabeth Atherton and Robin Tritschler
Onyx records

La Betulia liberata

Music by WA Mozart

Jeremy Ovenden, Marijana Mijanovic, Julia Kleiter, Franz-Josef Selig, Irena Bespalovaite & Jennifer Johnston

Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor & Münchener Kammerorchester, Christoph Poppen

Deutsche Grammophon

Everyman

Music by Sir Henry Walford Davies

Elena Ferrari, Jennifer Johnston, Andrew Staples, Pauls Putnins

London Oriana Choir; Kensington Symphony Orchestra
David Drummond (conductor)

Dutton Digital