Festus native and alumni of St. Pius X High School and Webster University is now a star at the Metropolitan Opera and beyond.
Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano returns to St. Louis March 1-3 for an Opera Theatre of Saint Louis artist community tour in advance of her appearance in the company’s 2018 Festival Season as Orfeo in Gluck’s “Orfeo & Euridice.”
Through a series of public and private master classes, she will share the knowledge and vocal technique she has gained over her extraordinary career with the next generation of St. Louis singers. She will also participate in several special events, including a cocktail reception in Sophie’s Lounge at .ZACK that will also feature several dancers from The Big Muddy Dance Company who are also part of the upcoming OTSL production.
Cano has now made over 100 appearances at The Metropolitan Opera in roles ranging from Hansel in Hansel and Gretel to Emilia in Otello and from Meg Page in Falstaff to Wellgunde in Das Rheingold. She has also recently sung with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
The New York Times has cheered, “Dramatic intelligence and imagination suffused every note of Ms. Johnson Cano’s performance. Endowed with an attention-grabbing dark mezzo, its depths bracing like strong coffee, she seems to thrive in the role of a storyteller.” Opera News has called her “a mesmerizing actress… she allows emotion to propel her voice into glorious moments.” The Boston Globe praised “her voice is radiant and intense… the effect was devastating.”
Before her rise to international opera renown, she called St. Louis home, growing up in Festus, MO. While attending St. Pius X High School, she participated in OTSL’s Spring Training Vocal camp, part of the Monsanto Artists-in-Training program. Later, as a music student at Webster University, she spent summers as an usher OTSL before ultimately auditioning for the company’s highly selective Gerdine Young Artist (GYA) program. In 2008, after winning The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions while an OTSL GYA, Ms. Cano stepped in for
another singer to take on the role of Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffman at the last minute, which earned her rave reviews from local and national press. In June, she will make her title role debut in her hometown in Gluck’s ravishing and romantic “Orfeo & Euridice.”
Details on her public engagements and her private master classes during her March tour are as follows:
• Young Professionals Cocktail Reception
Friday, March 2, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sophie’s Lounge at .ZACK
3224 Locust Street, Second Floor
St. Louis MO 63103
Hosted by Opera Theatre’s Young Friends, this reception will give audiences a chance to hear Jennifer Johnson Cano perform a series of musical selections, as well as enjoy a performance by several dancers from The Big Muddy Dance Company. $10 cover charge includes a drink ticket for house wine or beer and complimentary appetizers. Cash bar
• Master Class with Bach Society St. Louis and Webster University
Saturday, March 3, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Webster University, Winifred Moore Auditorium
470 E. Lockwood Avenue
St. Louis MO 63119
Jennifer Johnson Cano will coach four young artists from Bach Society St. Louis and two students from Webster University’s graduate voice department in a two-hour master class. Tickets are free to OTSL, Bach Society, and Webster University donors, subscribers, and students. General admission is $10.
• Private Master Classes
Jennifer Johnson Cano will work with music students on arias and art songs at Kirkwood High School and her alma maters St. Pius X High School and Webster University in a series of three master classes, starting March 1.
After the conclusion of her St. Louis tour, she will return to sing the role of Orfeo opposite Andrianna Chuchman as Euridice in Orfeo & Euridice, which opens June 9 and will receive six performances as part of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s 2018 Festival Season. The season also includes all-new productions of La Traviata (featuring the directorial debut of star soprano Patricia Racette), Regina (starring Susan Graham, James Morris, Ron Raines, and Susannah
Philips), and the world premiere of An American Soldier by Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang. In addition, OTSL’s annual Center Stage concert provides a one-night-only opportunity to see the company’s current young artists take the spotlight.
Single tickets to the 2018 Festival Season start at only $25. For tickets or more information, call the OTSL Box Office at (314) 961-0644 or visit ExperienceOpera.org.
About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the leading American opera companies, known for a spring festival of inventive new productions sung in English, featuring the finest American singers and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony. As of its 2018 Festival Season, Opera Theatre has presented 27 world premieres and 27 American premieres — which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any US company. Described by the Times of London as “one of the few American companies worth the transatlantic fare,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis annually welcomes visitors from nearly every state and close to a dozen foreign countries. Although the size of the theater typically limits box office income to less than a quarter of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit. Opera Theatre also has a long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest operatic artists of the current generation.
Among the artists who had important early opportunities at Opera Theatre are Erie Mills, Jerry Hadley, Christine Brewer, Thomas Hampson, Sylvia McNair, Dawn Upshaw, Susan Graham, Dwayne Croft, Patricia Racette, Matthew Polenzani, Nathan Gunn, Lawrence Brownlee, Kelly Kaduce, and Jennifer Johnson Cano. Opera Theatre has always been known for distinguished leadership: founding general director Richard Gaddes was succeeded in 1985 by general director Charles MacKay, with famed British stage director Colin Graham as artistic director and Stephen Lord (1992 – 2017) as music director emeritus. Timothy O’Leary was named general director in October 2008 with acclaimed stage director James Robinson succeeding the late Colin Graham.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is funded in part by the Regional Arts Commission, Arts and Education Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Missouri Arts Council, with audience building programs supported by The Wallace Foundation. Generous leadership support for the services of the St. Louis Symphony is provided by the Taylor family and the late Jack C. Taylor.