A naturally gifted singer noted for her commanding stage presence and profound artistry, Jennifer Johnson Cano has garnered critical acclaim for committed performances of new and standard repertoire.
For her performance as Offred in Poul Ruders’ The Handmaid’s Tale, she was lauded as a “consummate actress” by the Wall Street Journal; a “tour de force” by rhe Boston Globe,and “towering, restless, powerful, profound, she is as formidable as this astonishingly demanding role deserves,” by the New York Times. Bachtrack called her recital with Anna Netrebko at Carnegie Hall “self-effacing and full of musicality.”
With more than 100 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, her most recent roles have included Nicklausse, Emilia, Hansel and Meg Page. Cano continues to perform many concert engagements with major orchestras and conductors each season. She has undertaken numerous projects with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst in the United States and Europe. She has toured with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, and performed with the New York Philharmonic in New York and Vail.
Recent highlights include performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin in a premiere of Kevin Puts’ The Hours, performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti and the San Francisco Symphony. After summer festival premieres, Cano also will perform the New York premiere of a new chamber opera by Marc Neikrug, A Song by Mahler, at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Opera roles have included regular appearances at the Met; Donna Elvira, Carmen and Offred with Boston Lyric Opera; the role of the Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen with the Cleveland Orchestra and Welser-Möst; the Mother, the Dragonfly and the Squirrel of L'enfant et les sortilèges with the San Francisco Symphony and Martyn Brabbins; performances of El Niño with John Adams and the London Symphony Orchestra; Carmen with the New Orleans Opera, and the title role in Orphée with the Des Moines Opera.
This season, she will perform Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites (Mother Marie) with the Houston Grand Opera, the world premiere of Gregory Spear’s Castor and Patience (Celeste) with the Cincinnati Opera, Bartok’s Bluebeard's Castle (Judith) with the Roanoke Opera and workshops of Gregg Kallor’s new opera, Frankenstein, with the Arizona Opera.
A native of St. Louis, Cano earned degrees from Webster University and Rice University and was honored as a distinguished alumna and commencement speaker at her alma mater in May 2017. Her debut recital recording with pianist Christopher Cano, “Unaffected: Live from the Savannah Voice Festival,” was recorded completely live and unedited. Recent recordings include a live performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony, Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 (Jeremiah) with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and a live recording of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with conductor George Manahan, tenor Paul Groves and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble.
Cano joined the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and made her Met debut during the 2009-2010 season. Among her honors are first prize at the Young Concert Artist International Auditions, a Sara Tucker Study Grant, Richard Tucker Career Grant and George London Award.
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