Jennifer Johnson Cano
About this Artist
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. For her performance as Offred in Poul Ruders’s The Handmaid’s Tale she was lauded as a “consummate actress,” by The Wall Street Journal; a “tour de force” by The Boston Globe; and “towering…restless, powerful, profound, she is as formidable as this astonishingly demanding role deserves” by The New York Times. In recital with Anna Netrebko at Carnegie Hall, Bachtrack called her performance “self-effacing and full of musicality.” With more than 100 performances on the stage at The Metropolitan Opera, her most recent roles have included Nicklausse, Emilia, Hansel, and Meg Page.
Following engagements at Bravo! Vail with the New York Philharmonic, Ravinia Festival with Matthew Polenzani, and Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Music Festival, Ms. Cano ends her summer with the LA Phil for performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Hollywood Bowl. She begins her 2019/20 season with Michael Tilson Thomas at San Francisco Symphony’s Opening Night Gala. Additional orchestral highlights include Berg’s Lulu, singing the role of Countess Geschwitz with the Cleveland Orchestra, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony. In recital, she appears at Da Camera of Houston for a performance of Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf and joins pianist Benjamin Hochman and friends for Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared at New York’s 92nd Street Y. After widespread acclaim last season for her portrayal of Offred in Ruders’s The Handmaid’s Tale with the Boston Lyric Opera, Ms. Cano bows this season as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma with Pittsburgh Opera, the Composer in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos with Arizona Opera, and as the title role of Bizet’s Carmen with New Orleans Opera.
Cano is a native of St. Louis and earned degrees from Webster University and Rice University, and she was honored as a distinguished alumna and commencement speaker at Webster University 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 featuring conductor George Manahan, tenor Paul Groves, and 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 and 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 Richart Tucker Career Grant, and 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