"Jenni Bank produces a deep, dark penetrating tone, one that can extract verdian richness." Baltimore Sun
Praised as “lush” and “notable” 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 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. 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 debuted with Hawaii Opera Theatre as the Marquise in La fille du régiment, sang La Zia Principessa in Puccini's Suor Angelica in Columbus, and returns to both The Florentine Opera to perform Third Lady in The Magic Flute and Baltimore Concert Opera to reprise Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. She will be making her Carnegie Hall debut with Mid-America Productions singing mezzo solos in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Schubert’s Mass in C.
Known for her prowess in contemporary opera, Ms. Bank will be making her Lincoln Center and New York City Opera debut American Premier of Brokeback Mountain at Jazz at Lincoln Center. 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 performed the role of Samira in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and 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. She will be featured on the much-anticipated release of the original 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 was recently the mezzo soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with Bach in Baltimore and The Morgan State University Choir and 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.
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. Active on social media, you can find her at @jbmezzo