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Jennifer (Jenny) Hill (Soprano)

Born: June 20, 1939 - London, England

The English soprano (opera and concert singer), singing teacher and vocal coach, Jennifer (Jenny) Hill, completed her studies at National School Of Opera and the London Opera Centre. During the last two years of her studies, she spent the summers at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, understudying Mirella Freni in the parts of Adina in G. Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore and Susanna in W.A. Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.

Jenny Hill made her debut in 1964 when she joined the Sadler's Wells Opera Company (now known as The English National Opera company) and appeared as The Sandman in Hansel and Gretel. She also created the role of Kristina in Janácek's The Makropoulos Case for the British premiere. She then joined Benjamin Benjamin Britten's English Opera Group and toured Russia, where she sang Lucia in The Rape Of Lucrecia, with the composer conducting. In 1967, she sang the role of Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, with them, both in London and in Canada (Montréal), at Expo 67. In August 1968, she created the role of Pretty Polly in the World Premiere of Harrison Birtwistle's Punch and Judy, performed at The Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals.

In May 1969, Jenny Hill created another new role at the Brighton Festival, in Harrison Birtwistle's Down by the Greenwood Side, with The Music Theatre ensemble which was also filmed by Thames Television and later shown on BBC Television. She also presented the British premiere of Philip Batstone's A Mother Goose Primer with The Pierrot Players at the Southbank. She performed at the English Bach Festival in London and Oxford where she sang in J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243), the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) and the Saint Matthew Passion (BWV 244). She also performed the Saint John Passion (BWV 245) under the baton of Benjamin Britten. Jenny Hill sang the first performance in Britain of Goffredo Petrassi's Magnificat with Carlo Maria Giulini in the presence of the composer at the Royal Festival Hall. In 1972 she opened the City Of London Festival, singing J.S. Bach's B minor Mass (BWV 232) with Carlo Maria Giulini at Saint Paul's Cathedral, as well as the opening of The English Bach Festival at Blenheim Palace, singing The Coffee Cantata (BWV 211) and the Peasant Cantata (BWV 212). Many of these concerts were broadcast direct by the BBC.

Jenny Hill also sang Amina in La Sonnambula by Bellini and Violetta in La Traviata with The Greek National Opera having a particular triumph in La Traviata where the critics compared her to Maria Callas. Her repertoire also includes: Despina and later Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte, Susanna and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Zerlina in Fra Diavolo, Olympia in the Tales Of Hoffman, Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti, Mimi in La Boheme, Irène in Sapho. Other roles: Gilda in Rigoletto and Olympia in Hoffmanns Erzählungen. Including a number of operas and numerous concerts for radio and television as well as numerous song recitals of classical and avant garde music.

Jenny Hill began her teaching as Director of Singing at the Skalkottas Conservatoire in Athens. Now she teaches privately from her London address. In her teaching she is inspired by her own teacher, the great coloratura soprano Elvira De Hidalgo, herself a famed Rosina, a role she often sang opposite Caruso's Almaviva. In later life De Hidalgo became a teacher of great renown and her training probably found its finest example in the incomparable Maria Callas, and this school can be traced back directly to Manuel Garcia, and his son. Through her own teaching Miss Hill aims to keep the flame alive for the old school of Bel Canto and coloratura technique.

Recordings: The Rape Of Lucrecia as Lucia; Robert Schumann's Faust; J.S. Bach's Saint John's Passion (BWV 245), under the direction of Benjamin Britten, all with Decca Records; J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232) as part of the BBC Legends recordings; Massenet's Sapho as Irène with Opera d'Oro.

Honours: Leverhulme Scholarship, 1960-63; Gulbenkian Fellowship for Most Oustanding Young Performer, 1969-1972.

Memberships: Equity; Incorporated Society of Musicians; Association of Singing Teachers.


Source: Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (April 2004); The Artist (May 2014)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2004); Jenny Hill (May 2014)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Benjamin Britten


BWV 245

John Eliot Gardiner


Member of Monteverdi Choir:
E-2 (1980):
BWV 4 [1st], BWV 131 [1st]

Carlo Maria Giulini


BWV 232

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