Jane Henschel


Born: Los Angeles, CA
American Jane Henschel quickly rose in the 1990s to the ranks of international star dramatic mezzo-sopranos.

The Los Angeles native was educated and received musical and vocal training at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. After graduating she moved to Europe to begin her singing career. She worked her way up in a traditional way, through the system of local repertory opera houses in Germany, and had contracts as members of the companies in Aachen, Wuppertal, Dortmund, and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.

She made her first significant appearance in 1992 as a guest artist with the Netherlands Opera in the taxing major role of The Nurse in Richard Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten. She also chose this role for her debut at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, under the baton of Bernard Haitink. This was one of the most triumphant debuts there in several seasons, and almost immediately she was invited back to Covent Garden to sing Fricka in Wagner's Rheingold and Walküre in 1995.

In the intervening years she debuted at the Edinburgh Festival in 1993 in Verdi's little-known Oberto, and in 1994 she sang the role of Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the Glyndebourne Festival. In addition to the Wagnerian roles, she also played in 1995 at Covent Garden in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera as Ulrica. In the same year she first appeared at La Scala, Milan as Herodias in Strauss' Salome, with Chung conducting, and in Stockholm as Judith in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle. The same year also saw a notable concert debut, at the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts in London's Albert Hall.

Following these successes she has added the role of Cassandra in Berlioz's Les Troyens, Waltraute in Wagner's Götterdämmerung, Bizet's Carmen, Erda in Wagner's Ring operas, Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos, Ortrud in Wagner's Lohengrin, Amneris in Aïda, Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Azucena in La Forza del Destino, Klytemnestra in Strauss' Elektra, Venus in Wagner's Tannhäuser and Brangäne in the same composer's Tristan und Isolde, the Old Princess in Puccini's Soeur Angelica, The Kostelnicka in Janacek's Jenufa, Geneviève in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, and in Goldmark's The Queen of Sheba, Schoenberg's Erwartung, Henze's The Bassarids, and Janacek's Katya Kabanova as Kabanicha.

She has appeared at major festivals including, as already noted, the Edinburgh and Glyndebourne Festivals in Britain, the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan, and the Salzburg Festival in Austria. For her return to Los Angeles, where she appeared at the Los Angeles Opera and the Orange Festival, she sang Brangäne.

She also has a busy concert career, with a repertory including Mahler's Eighth Symphony and Hans Krasa's Verlobung in Traum, both of which she has recorded. She also sang in Seiji Ozawa's Philips recording of The Rake's Progress.

There are 27 Jane Henschel recordings available.

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