A naturally gifted singer noted for her commanding stage presence and profound artistry, Jennifer Johnson Cano has garnered critical acclaim for committed performances of both new and standard repertoire. In response to her performance as Virgina Woolf in The Hours with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera News noted her “impressive tone and dead-on pitch throughout a wide range, and a fierce command of words,” calling her “a matchless interpreter of contemporary opera.” The New York Times noted her “mellow sobriety — and, in Woolf’s darkest moments, stricken intensity.” As Offred in Poul Ruders’s The Handmaid’s Tale she was lauded by the Times as “towering…restless, powerful, profound, she is as formidable as this astonishingly demanding role deserves. With more than 100 performances on the stage at The Metropolitan Opera, her most recent roles have included Nicklausse, Emilia, Hansel and Meg Page.
Cano continues to perform a balance of orchestral, opera and chamber music performances each season. She continues to appear with major orchestras and conductors and has undertaken numerous projects with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst and the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel in both the US and Europe. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic in both New York and Vail as well as the Pittsburgh Symphony with Manfred Honeck.
Jennifer’s breakthrough season in 2021-22 was full of premieres and debuts. Highlights include performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Ségun in a world premiere of Kevin Puts's The Hours, a debut with the Chicago Symphony and Ricardo Muti and Beethoen's Ninth with the San Francisco Symphony. She starred in 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 rolls included 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 and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle (Judith) with the Roanoke Opera.
This season includes performances at the Metropolitan Opera in Falstaff (Meg Page) and the Atlanta Opera in Don Giovanni (Elvira); the New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony and Atlanta Symphony; at the Chamber Music Society of New York, where she performs Mahler's Ruckert-Lieder; and at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in an All-Bach Program with the Gamut Bach Ensemble.
Ms. Cano has appeared regularly at the Met in a variety of roles. Her other opera roles have included Donna Elvira, Carmen and Offred with the Boston Lyric Opera; the role of the Fox In Cunning Little Vixen with the Cleveland Orchestra and Welser-Most; the Mother the Dragonfly, and the Squirrel in L'enfant et les sortileges with the San Francisco Symphony; performances of El Nino with John Adams and the LSO; Carmen with the New Orleans Opera and the title role in Orphee with the Des Moines Opera.
A native of St. Louis, she earned degrees from Rice University and from Webster University, where she was honored as a distinguished alumna and commencement speaker in May 2017. Her debut recital recording with pianist Christopher Cano, “Unaffected: Live from the Savannah Voice Festival,” was recorded live and unedited. Recent recordings include a live performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony as well as Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 and Jeremiah with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She also recorded Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble.
Ms. Cano joined the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition; she made her Met debut during the 2009-10 season. Among her honors are a First Prize WInner of the Young Concert Artist International Auditions, a Sara Tucker Study Grant, a Richard Tucker Career Grant and a George London Award.
“Her voice is radiant and intense, rich in the lower part of her range, bright and precise at the top, with astonishing evenness throughout. For such a commanding singer she also cuts a remarkably approachable persona on stage, and has an uncanny ability to discern and embody the character of each song.”
— Boston Globe
“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.”
— The New York Times
JULY 2022–AT THE REQUEST OF THE ARTIST, PLEASE DO NOT ALTER WITHOUT APPROVAL