Praised for her “lush” voice by The Wall Street Journal, mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank 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. Following early studies in voice, she attended The Peabody Conservatory and participated in prestigious Young Artist programs at Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera New Jersey, and the world-renowned Filene Young Artist Program at Wolf Trap Opera. Ms. Bank recently returned to Seattle Opera to make her main-stage debut performing Third Lady in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and covering the role at Chicago Lyric Opera. Last season she sang La Zia Principessa in Puccini's Suor Angelica in Columbus, returned to both The Florentine Opera to perform Third Lady in The Magic Flute and Baltimore Concert Opera to reprise Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, performed her third Katisha in The Mikado, and debuted with Hawaii Opera Theatre as the Marquise in La fille du regiment. D.C. metro arts has called her “a revelation…very funny…unfailingly dignified…[and] astonishingly sexy.” Ms. Bank was thrilled to make her Carnegie Hall debut this past season with Mid-America Productions.
Known for her prowess in contemporary opera, Ms. Bank made her Lincoln Center and New York City Opera debut performing Mrs. Twist in the American Premier of Brokeback Mountain at Jazz at Lincoln Center, for which the New York Classical Review praised her “earthy mezzo and soulful singing.” She gave “the comic performance of a lifetime” (Ion Arts) as Samira in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and is the leading interpreter of the role of The Duchess in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland. “Jenni Bank was a standout as the Duchess, showing a luscious, dramatic voice and plenty of stage humor.” (Opera News) She has performed the role in the American Premier at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and with The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, The Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester in Bergen and at 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 she is featured on the recently released Original Cast Recording.
Ms. Bank’s recent performances include Emilia in Rossini's Otello with the Bard Summer Music Festival, 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, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance with Knoxville Opera, and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof with Ash Lawn Opera. Lauded as “a singer of true Verdian force” (The Baltimore Sun), Ms. Bank was recently the mezzo soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with Bach in Baltimore and The Morgan State University Choir. Of her performance as Azucena in Il Trovatore, The Houston Chronicle proclaimed “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.” Other repertoire includes Dame Quickly in Falstaff, The Witch in Hänsel und Gretel, 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, Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin, Argento’s orchestrated Casa Guidi song cycle, the Mozart Requiem, Bruckner Te Deum, Szymanowski Stabat Mater, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Schubert’s Mass in C, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
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. Ms. Bank is managed by Piper Anselmi Artist Management.