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Janet Perry (Soprano)

Born: December 27, 1947 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

The American soiprano, Janet Perry, was born to musical parents, and had early opportunity to receive lessons on piano and violin, and later, ballet. She was active in young-people's theater productions, and soon discovered an unusual vocal talent which led her to her debut as child star in The Wizard of Oz at St.Paul Civic Opera at age 11. On completing high school she continued her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of Eufemia Giannini Gregory.

Having earned her Bachelor of Music degree, Janet Perry immediately left for Europe, where she debuted at the Linz Opera, as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, in 1969. She was engaged forthwith at the Kammeroper of Vienna, and then in the opera of Linz, Austria for two seasons. After further engagements in the Gärtnerplatz Theater of Munich, Germany, and the Cologne opera, she returned to Munich to the Bavarian State Opera. By then her career was firmly established in the lighter Mozart, Strauss, and Italian opera roles. She subsequently appeared as guest in most of the major European opera houses, and in numerous festivals, notably Salzburg, Wiener Festwochen, Glyndbourne, Aix-en-Provence, Bregenz, Granada, Martina Franca and Montpellier. A particular favorite of the late conductor Herbert von Karajan, she has also worked with such conductors asCarlos Kleiber, Karl Böhm, Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mstislav Rostropovich, Rafael Kubelík and Wolfgang Sawallisch. Acclaimed stage directors she has collaborated with include Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and Giorgio Strehler.

Janet Perry played principal roles in many opera and operetta productions for television and film: Zürich opera's production of Monteverdi's Poppea and Il Ritorno di Ulisse under Ponnelle/Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Salzburg Festival's Rosenkavalier and Falstaff under Herbert von Karajan, the Ponnelle/Karl Böhm Nozze di Figaro, in Germany there were Zigeunerliebe, Zigeunerbaron, Schwarzwaldmädel television films. In France there were productions of Elisir d'amore, and Die Fledermaus, and Ponnelle/Daniel Barenboim's Così fan tutte. She sang the role of Adele in the famous Munich production of Die Fledermaus for television and videodisc, under Carlos Kleiber, directed by Otto Schenk.

In concert, Janet Perry has an extended repertoire from early music: J.S. Bach, Monteverdi, Antonio Vivaldi, Alessandro Scarlatti, to Mozart, Johannes Brahms, L.v. Beethoven, Gustav Mahler, Bruckner, Francis Poulenc, Faurè. She has sung all the major Masses in her repertoire, and has recorded with Herbert von Karajan Mozart's C-minor Mass, L.v. Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Bruckner's Te Deum, with Rafael Kubelík Mozart's C-minor Mass for television, and J.S. Bach's Kaffeekantate (BWV 232) and Monteverdi's 8th Madrigal Book with Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

She has sung recitals in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and in the USA. She has produced a recital of her own creation "A Salon in Paris, 1840" based on the music of composers living in Paris at the time, using costumes of the period, and amusing conversations with the pianist. Robert Fortune helped make the mise-en scene, and she performed this humorous and delightful evening for audiences in France and Switzerland with the pianist Helge Antoni.

Most recently, Janet Perry has been effectuating a change of repertoire, adding roles of more lyric and dramatic quality: in Germany and USA she sang Donna Anna (Giovanni), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare) Countess (Figaro) and Rosalinde (Fledermaus), and revived her Despina for Giorgio Strehler's production in Milano's Piccolo Teatro of Cosi fan tutte for the winter of 1998, and on tour for the following 10 years worldwide, in Italy, France, Spain Japan, China, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, etc. In the summer of 2001, she sang Micaela in the Carmen production of the Italian amphitheaters Taormina and Fiesole.

In the last years, she is dedicating more time to teaching, sharing her experience and technical knowledge with professionals as well as beginners. She has led master-classes in Italy, Canada, Switzerland and the USA, and is presently professor of voice at the Hochschule für Musik in Bern, Switzerland as well as visiting professor in Savona, Italy at the Accademia Cilea of Savona. She is married to Nistal Prem de Boer, sculptor and architect.

Source: Janet Perry Website; Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2009)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Nikolaus Harnoncourt


BWV 211 [DVD]

Links to other Sites

Janet Perry: The Quest for the Unfathomable (Official Website)
Janet Perry (New Opera Festival di Roma)

Janet Perry (Wikipedia)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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