Jenni Bank

mezzo-soprano

Reviews & Acclaim

 Jenni Bank, mezzo-soprano Photo by Diana Mino

Jenni Bank, mezzo-soprano Photo by Diana Mino

“Mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank was a standout as the Duchess, showing a luscious, dramatic voice and plenty of stage humor.”

– Opera News review of the American Premiere of Alice in Wonderland at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“Jenni Bank shows great compassion as his grieving mother in the penultimate scenes.”

– Theatre Scene review of Brokeback Mountain at New York City Opera

“The Twists, Jack’s parents, were especially impressive …Jenni Bank with her earthy mezzo and soulful singing.”

– The New York Classical Review of Brokeback Mountain at New York City Opera

“As his wife Firdaus Noman, mezzo Jenni Bank brought a solid vocal presence to her impersonation of the chiding, nattering mother.”

– Opera Today review of Shalimar the Clown at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank brought the house down in the extended send-up of Turkish music sung by her character, Samira.”

– Classical Voice America review of The Ghosts of Versailles at Wolf Trap Opera

“As Samira, Jenni Bank swiveled mightily and provided the vocal panache to match.”

– Opera News review of The Ghosts of Versailles at Wolf Trap Opera

“Jenni Bank thrilled the audience as Samira, a Turkish singer who put on a scandalous show.”

– DC Metro Arts review of The Ghosts of Versailles at Wolf Trap Opera

“…the section at the ambassador’s residence with Turkish singer Samira—mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank in the comic performance of a lifetime—one scene after another was hilariously funny. Ms. Bank has a wonderfully supple voice and she is first-class comedienne.”

– Ion Arts review of The Ghosts of Versailles at Wolf Trap Opera

“The imperious, tetchy Duchess...[is] deliciously portrayed by Jenni Bank.”

– The Dallas Morning News review of the American Premiere of Alice in Wonderland at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“The cast was superb…Jenni Bank played the Duchess with élan (breaking into a rap number at one point).”

– The Cleveland Classical review of the American Premiere of Alice in Wonderland at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“Of course, Lewis Carroll’s phantasmagorical journey is very dark…[with] the baby-bashing Duchess (again, a fabulous cameo from mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank, swinging her baby round like a pound of sausages to a Sondheim-esque dance of death).”

– Classical Music UK review of The London Premiere of Alice in Wonderland at The Barbican with the BBC Philharmonic

“The large and consistently fine cast included…Jenni Bank, whose lush mezzo made for an arresting Duchess.”

– The Wall Street Journal review of the American Premiere of Alice in Wonderland at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“And speaking of rapping, Jenni Bank as the Duchess also made the switch from opera to hip hop as she had the crowd screaming with applause herself. The sheer eccentricity would make Lewis Carroll quite proud indeed!”

– Destination Diaries Blog review of the American Premiere of Alice in Wonderland at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“Jenni Bank’s sturdy, characterful mezzo was well suited to the cheeky Duchess.”

–Opera Today review of the American Premiere of Alice in Wonderland at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“Mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank was a dead ringer for the Duchess in John Tenniel’s original illustrations, and her scene…was a hoot.”

– The St. Louis Post Dispatch review of the American Premiere of Alice in Wonderland at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“Chin uses the set-pieces in Carroll’s creation resourcefully. There’s…a hint of Gerald Barry-like disruptive mirth in ‘Speak roughly to your little boy’ as Jenni Bank’s psychotic Duchess swings the swaddled pig-baby over her head.”

– The Spectator UK review of the London Premier of Alice in Wonderland at The Barbican with the BBC Philharmonic

“The rest of the cast were outstanding…Jenni Bank sang the detestable Duchess with ferocity.”

– Bachtrack review of the West Coast Premiere of Alice in Wonderland with the Los Angeles Philharmonic

“Most spectacularly, mezzo Jenni Bank is a revelation as Katisha, a role too often played as a humorless harridan. Bank is sufficiently scary when required, but she’s also very funny, frequently in admirably subtle and unexpected ways; unfailingly dignified, even when placed in the most demeaning situations; and astonishingly sexy, thereby cluing us that the other characters’ revulsion at the sight of her may be merely sexist projection. Better yet, Bank brings genuine pathos to the moments when Katisha reveals the loneliness that lurks behind her forbidding façade. It’s surely no coincidence that one of those moments, “The Hour of Gladness”… makes Katisha’s inner beauty visible.”

– The D.C. Metro Arts review of The Mikado

“In the smaller roles, Jenni Bank as the avid Marcellina…[is] stylishly excellent.”

– The Washington Post review of The Marriage of Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera

“Three performers nearly walk away with the show…the role of Katisha, the Mikado's ‘daughter-in-law-elect,’ has to be the juiciest of G&S mezzo roles, certainly in musical terms. The assignment gets a terrific workout from Jenni Bank. She produces quite a deep, dark, penetrating tone, one that can extract the Verdian richness of the Act 2 recitative and aria, for example, and she gamely throws herself into the histrionic side of the character.”

– The Baltimore Sun review of The Mikado

"Jenni Bank, sporting Turandot-worthy finger-claws, had a good romp as Katisha and used her ripe mezzo tellingly in the eloquent "Hearts Do Not Break."

– The Baltimore Sun review of The Mikado

“A vocal and comedic standout was Jenni Bank as Ruth, Frederic’s nursemaid, who makes a miraculous and sudden adjustment to pirate life.”

– The Knoxville Mercury review of Pirates of Penzance at Knoxville Opera

“…powerhouse mezzo Jenni Bank as Buttercup, the bumboat vendor with a dark secret. (It's extra fun hearing Bank, a singer of true Verdian force, in this role, since Buttercup is Gilbert's parody of the baby-swapping gypsy in Verdi's “Il Trovatore.”)

– The Baltimore Sun review of H.M.S. Pinafore

“As the Old Lady, Jenni Bank took a star turn, complete with her overdone accent and blistering mezzo soprano voice. Her résumé lists Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, a foghorn mezzo role that requires a combination of acting and vocal fireworks. She brought all that, and more, to this role in Candide. In costumer McGourty’s over-the-top dress, which looks like a drag queen’s closet exploded, she moved like the Chrysler Building in spite of her missing (and much mourned) left buttocks.”

– Theatre Jones review of Candide at Amarillo Opera

“Jenni Bank commands the stage and chews up the scenery as the indomitable Mrs. Peachum, unleashing her immense mezzo voice as a weapon. She was equally awesome as the Old Lady in the Amarillo production of Candide last season.”

– Theater Jones review of The Threepenny Opera at Amarillo Opera

“In my mind, the star of the show was Jenni Bank, as Mrs. Lovett. Her voice is lush and warm. The vocal characterizations matched her personality, whether she was being the savvy businesswoman, motherly with Toby, seductive with Sweeney, calculating with everyone else. Her comedic timing was excellent.”

– Broome Arts review of Sweeney Todd with Tri-Cities Opera

"Mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank possesses a lovely voice of striking range and enough power to project over the orchestra. Her dramatic voice indicates a limitless future for the [young] singer."

– The Baltimore Sun review of The Verdi Requiem

“The gypsy camp is swarming with excitement (the famous "Anvil Chorus"), but earth mother Azucena (mezzo Jenni Bank) sits apart from the swaggering merriment. She is deep in thought and stares intensely into the void. A streak of white parts her hair like Elsa Lancaster in Bride of Frankenstein. She is elemental and not one to be messed with. The lights go all spooky, lighting her from below, and she's off into one of opera's most famous arias, "Stride la vampa" ("The flames are crackling!") as she remembers her mother burned at the stake. Full of horror yet profoundly moving, her aria plumbs the agility and lungs of any mezzo, as Azucena's frightening vision turns to implacable vengeance, imploring her son Manrico, the "troubadour" of the title to avenge the tortured death of her mother years earlier. Bank soared through the exciting powerhouse aria, which calls for a Verdian technique of the highest caliber since he asks for drama with a capital D and the agility to cover the scale with strength and, yes, subtlety. Bank is her own force of nature and achingly conveyed her obsessed gypsy heart through masterful command of her stupendous voice. Thrilling to behold, it's like hearing the waves of the sea...Bank is...a superlative Verdi interpreter”

– The Houston Press review of Il Trovatore at Opera in the Heights

“A highlight among all these marvelous supporting performers is Jenni Bank as the nurse. With her rich, confident mezzo-soprano she goes for laughs but still provides a soft place to fall for Tatiana.”

– The Addison Independent review of Eugene Onegin at Middlebury Opera Company

“As Marie’s long-lost mother, the Marquise of Birkenfeld, Jenni Bank displayed a plummy alto and a firm grasp of sitcom.”

– Opera News review of Daughter of the Regiment at Hawaii Opera Theatre

“Perhaps most memorable was Jenni Bank, the hunch-backed villain Knusperhexe who felw in on a broom in the third act and made this opera her own. She might have been baked into gingerbread cookies, but her voice is what I’m still marveling over. With a complex mezzo-soprano timbre, flush with color but technically exact it was a surprise that Bank could also cackle and crackle her evil spells “Hocus pocus!”

– Houstonia Magazine review of Hansel and Gretel

“Jenni Bank had fun with the role of the Witch. Her lusty singing and slinky gait exuded the Witch's delight as she anticipated her next meal. Her comeuppance was all the more entertaining for it.”

– The Houston Chronicle review of Hansel and Gretel at Opera in the Heights

"...as impressive was the Queen Jezebel of mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank. She represented the one character who was not totally overmatched by [the] powerful Elijah. Her brief appearance, characterized by a dark, lustrous voice and an imperious delivery of her accusations against the prophet, had me wishing that hers was a much larger role."

– The Annapolis Capital review of Elijah