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Jennifer Smith (Soprano)

Born: July 13, 1945 - Lisbon, Portugal

Before arriving in London from her native Portugal to continue her studies on a Gulbenkian Scholarship, the English soprano Jennifer (Mary) Smith had already sung extensively in Europe and made records for Erato, Philips, DG Archiv and HMV. She has since performed under the batons of many of the world's leading conductors, including Pierre Boulez, Inbal, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, David Willcocks, Simon Rattle, Raymond Leppard, Richard Hickox, Gustav Leonhardt, William Christie, Trevor Pinnock, John Eliot Gardiner, Charles Mackerras, Marc Minkowski, Andrew Parrott, Philippe Herreweghe, Michel Corboz and the late Rudolf Kempe.

Jennifer's voice may be heard on over forty recordings, spanning many centuries of music, from the earliest medieval period (with Segreis de Lisboa) to 20th-century works (Geoffrey Burgon's Requiem and Revelations; Falla's El Retablo de Maese Pedro; Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella). Her main output, however, has been in the Baroque field, especially in the French repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. Most recent examples include Marin Marais' Alcyone, Mondonville's Titon et l'Aurore and Lully's Phaeton with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre.

Jennifer Smith also loves the classical repertoire. Her operatic roles include The Queen of the Night, The Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), Aminta in Il Re Pastore, Euridice in Gluck's Orpheo, Female Chorus in Francois Rochaix's new production of Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, Cybèle in Lully's Atys (at the Opéra Comique, Paris and New York). She has also sung Alphise in Rameau's Les Boréades, Diana and Phaedra in Hippolyte et Aricie (Aix-en-Provence), Iole in George Frideric Handel's Hercules in Göttingen under John Eliot Gardiner and Drusilla in Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea under Gustav Leonhardt.

Jennifer Smith is also well-known throughout Europe for her many concert and oratorio performances. Her repertoire is extensive, covering works from J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel, Purcell and W.A. Mozart, to Berlioz, Janacek, Francis Poulenc and B. Britten. Her performances of Berlioz' Les Nuits d'Été with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Philharmonia Orchestra received critical acclaim. She works regularly with orchestras such as the City of Birmingham Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, London Bach Orchestra, The English Concert, Steinitz Bach Players and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. She has undertaken a major tour of Europe giving eighteen performances of J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232) with Frans Brüggen.

As a recitalist Jennifer Smith enjoys a distinguished reputation. She has performed in Portugal, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain as well as the UK. Several of her recitals have been broadcast by the BBC and she has recorded Schubert Lieder for HMV Lisbon. In 1994 she took part in András Schiff's festival at Mondsee, devoted to W.A. Mozart and Debussy, having also given a recital with him in Cologne in 'Finale - Ein Kammermusikfestival' in 1993.

Jennifer Smith's television appearances have included Scarlatti's Salve Regina with the late George Malcolm; G.F. Handel's Judas Maccabaeus with Roger Norrington; Purcell's Come, ye sons of Art for the BBC, and Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria in the series 'Christmas in Rome' with the English Consort, shown on BBC television at Christmas 1993. She was also a featured soloist in a film about Henry Purcell, directed by Tony Palmer and shown on British television in 1995.

She sang the title role in Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride in the English Bach Festival's production at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and at the Herodas Atticus Theatre, Athens. Subsequently she sang Theone in Lully's Phaeton for the re-opening of Lyon Opera. Other opera performances included Music in David Freeman's production of Monteverdi's Orfeo for English National Opera, the world tour of Lully's Atys with Les Arts Florissants, a tour to Japan of G.F. Handel's Ottone with The King's Consort, the Théatre de Caen's production of La Fée Urgele on tour in France, and Monteverdi's Orfeo for the Opéra d'Avignon. In 1995 Jennifer gave two performances (arias from G.F. Handel's Messiah and B. Britten's Les Illuminations) with the St. Petersburg Camerata in St Petersburg's Philharmonic Hall and in the Hermitage Theatre.

Other engagements have included concerts and recordings for DG Archiv (G.F. Handel's La Resurrezione and French Cantatas) with Les Musiciens du Louvre; concerts of Georg Philipp Telemann's St John Passion with Collegium Instrumentale Brugense; recitals in Portugal and in Poland and Switzerland with Francois Le Roux. Jennifer paid her first visit to the Marlboro Festival, USA, where she performed at the invitation of András Schiff. She also sang the role of Elektra (Idomeneo) for performances at the Sao Carlos Opera House in Lisbon. Concert engagements included Paul Hindemith's Das Marienleben at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall; concert arias with The Hanover Band and Nicholas McGegan; more concerts and recordings in Portugal; a recording of the Allegri/Bai Miserere for Sony Classics with the Choir of Westminster Abbey and a recital with Michel Kiener at the Alicante Festival.

Recent engagements included performances and recording of the role of Romilda in G.F. Handel's Xerxes with The Hanover Band under Nicholas McGegan and of G.F. Handel's L'Allegro for the Handel House Trust under Sir Charles Mackerras. Jennifer visited Lisbon to sing the roles of La Folie and Thalie in Rameau's Platée under Harry Christophers. There were solo recitals in Lisbon and Frankfurt, as well as appearances at the Macao Festival as recitalist and soprano soloist in the Johannes Brahms Requiem. Later in the year she recorded the role of Diane in Offenbach's Orfée aux Enfers for EMI under Marc Minkowski. 1998 saw performances and recording of works by Arne and performances of G.F. Handel's Saul with the Philharmonia Baroque under Nicholas McGegan as well as performances in the title role in Artaserse by Terradellas at the GREC 1998 Festival in Barcelona.

Engagements in 1999 include the role of Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes for the Opéra du Rhin, as well as solo recitals in Portugal and France and UK concert and oratorio appearances.

Source: Hyperion Website (November 1998)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2001)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Frans Brüggen


BWV 232 [1st]

Michel Corboz


BWV 198, BWV 232], BWV 243

Roy Goodman


BWV 208

Blanche Moyse


BWV 79 [1995], BWV 100 [1995]

Links to other Sites

Jennifer Smith - soprano (Hyperion)

Jennifer Smith, soprano (Armacordes)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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