Praised as “lush” by The Wall Street Journal, mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank’s voice has a “deep, dark, penetrating tone…that can extract Verdian richness” (The Baltimore Sun). Ms. Bank was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and grew up in Binghamton, New York knowing from a young age that she wanted to be a singer. Following early studies in voice, she attended The Peabody Conservatory and participated in the prestigious Young Artist programs at Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Opera New Jersey. Additionally, she was a member of the world-renowned Filene Young Artist Program at Wolf Trap Opera where she performed the roles of Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Samira in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles to rave reviews. In 2017 Ms. Bank returned to Seattle Opera to make her main stage debut performing Third Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Last season also included her debut with Knoxville Opera as Ruth in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, a return to the Young Victorian Theatre Company of Baltimore as Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, Emilia in Rossini’s Otello with the Bard Summer Music Festival, and a Third Lady cover with The Chicago Lyric Opera. This season Ms. Bank will debut with Hawaii Opera Theatre as the Marquise in La fille du régiment, maker her New York City Opera debut in Brokeback Mountain as Mrs. Twist, sing La Zia Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica in Columbus, and return to both The Florentine Opera to perform Third Lady in The Magic Flute and Baltimore Concert Opera as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd.
Also known for her prowess in contemporary opera, Ms. Bank performed the role of The Duchess in The American Premier of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for which Opera News called her performance “a standout”, proclaiming she possessed a “luscious, dramatic voice and plenty of stage humor.” She made her European Debut singing Chin’s Scenes From Alice in Wonderland with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and has performed this work many times, including with the Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester in Bergen, The Oslo Opera House in Norway, The Seoul Philharmonic at Lotte Concert Hall in South Korea, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall, and at the Barbican Centre in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Bank also created the role of Firdhaus Noman in the World Premiere adaptation of Salmon Rushdie’s novel Shalimar the Clown, composed by Jack Perla with a libretto by Rajiv Joseph, at Opera Theatre Saint Louis and will be featured in the much-anticipated release of the cast recording.
Ms. Bank’s recent performances include Mary in Die Fliegende Holländer and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Florentine Opera Company, The Old Lady in Candide and Mrs. Peachum in Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera with Amarillo Opera, and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof with Ash Lawn Opera. Lauded for her interpretation of Verdi’s music, Ms. Bank has also performed Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with Opera in the Heights for which the Houston Chronicle said, “Bank is her own force of nature and achingly conveyed her obsessed gypsy heart through masterful command of her stupendous voice, praised her for her performance. Thrilling to behold, it’s like hearing the waves of the sea”. She returned to the company to sing The Witch in Hänsel und Gretel to further rave reviews. Other performance repertoire includes Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos, Frugola in Il Tabarro, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Martha in Faust, Giulietta and La voix de la mere in Les Contess d’Hoffmann, Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, Petra in A Little Night Music, Fairy Queen in Iolanthe, Katisha in The Mikado, Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin, Argento’s orchestrated Casa Guidi song cycle, and mezzo solos in the Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Bruckner Te Deum, Szymanowski Stabat Mater, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
Additionally, Ms. Bank has been featured numerous times on public television and radio as an up-and-coming artist. She recently returned to both her hometown to sing the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with Tri-Cities Opera and to her country of birth to sing a recital in Cape Town. Ms. Bank is the winner of a prestigious Sullivan Foundation Award, a finalist in the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Competition, winner of The Harold Haugh Competition, 2nd place winner in the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition, a semi-finalist in the Competizione dell’Opera in Germany, and was semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.