Winner of the 2018 Emerging Talent (Singer) Award from the Critics Circle, and with a growing reputation as an outstanding performer of contemporary music, as adept dramatically and physically as she is vocally, Jennifer France, “This living jewel in opera’s crown” (WhatsOnStage) received outstanding critical acclaim for her performances as Ophelia in Brett Dean’s Hamlet for Glyndebourne On Tour, which led to an invitation to give the première performance of his And once I played Ophelia with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Similarly, her work with George Benjamin on the première performances of his Lessons in Love and Violence at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (and then at the Dutch National Opera) has led to an invitation to perform his Into the Little Hill at the 2020 Festival Présences Radio France.
During 2018 / 2019, she also sang Her in the UK première of Pascal Dusapin’s Passion with Music Theatre Wales, made her debut at the Salzburg Festival singing Dusapin’s Medeamaterial, created Ice in Stuart MacRae’s Anthropocene for Scottish Opera, and sang Princess Elsbeth Fantasio for Garsington Opera at Wormsley, Gerald Barry’s The Eternal Recurrence and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Britten Sinfonia, Mozart’s Women with the London Mozart Players and Viennese Concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Engagements during 2019 / 2020 include Alice in Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Under Ground for the Royal Opera, London, Tytania A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Scottish Opera, her debut with English National Opera as The Princess in Philip Glass’ Orphée, Ismene Mitridate, Rè di Ponto for Garsington Opera at Wormsley, Beethoven Christ on the Mount of Olives and Christmas Cracker with the Hallé, Messiah with the City of London Sinfonia and Handel’s Heroines on tour with the Academy of Ancient Music.
Nominated in the Young Artist Category at the 2017 International Opera Awards, for The Outstanding Achievement in an Operatic Role for the 2017 WhatsOnStage Opera Poll, or The Times Breakthrough Award in Opera at the 2016 South Bank Sky Arts Awards, Winner of the Song Prize at the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Awards and of a 2014 Leonard Ingrams Award from Garsington Opera, Jennifer France graduated from the Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music, where she won many prizes, including the prestigious Patron’s Award and the Principal’s Prize at graduation for exceptional all-round studentship.
During 2015 / 2016, she was an Emerging Artist at Scottish Opera where she sang Dalinda Ariodante and Despina Così fan tutte, returning as The Controller Flight,Giulia La scala di setaand Zerbinetta Ariadne auf Naxos.Her engagements elsewhere have included Marzelline Fidelio for Garsington Opera at Wormsley and at the Winterthur Festival, First Niece Peter Grimes, Lauretta Gianni Schicchi and Esmeralda The Bartered Bride for Opera North, First Niece Peter Grimes at the Staatstheater Wiesbaden, The Controller Flight,Adele Die Fledermaus and Zerbinetta Ariadne auf Naxos for Opera Holland Park, Florinda Rodrigo for La Nuova Musica in Florence, the title role in Semele at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Susanna Le nozze di Figaro for Garsington Opera at Wormsley,La Comtesse Adele Le Comte Ory at the Dorset Opera Festival and Zerbinetta Ariadne auf Naxos for the Nederlandse Reisopera, for which she was nominated for a 2016 Schaunard Award by Place de l’Opera.
Concert engagements have includedMarzelline Fidelio and Susanna Le nozze di Figaro with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Flavio Il Vologeso with Classical Opera, Le Feu / Le Rossignol L’enfant et les sortilèges with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Elgar Une voix dans le désert and New Year Celebration Concerts with the Hallé, Dixit Dominus at the International Handel Festival in Karlsruhe,Messiah with Huddersfield Choral Society, A Concert for the Eve of St Cecilia’s Day with the London Handel Orchestra, Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Three Choirs Festival, Carmina Burana with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Lieder and Other Arts Songs (Music by Fauré and Schumann) on tour with the Israel Camerata, a Viennese New Year’s Eve Gala at the Barbican Hall, London, Viennese Concerts with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Viennese Whirl with the Orchestra of Opera North. She made her BBC Proms debut in 2017.
Her recordings include Lessons in Love and Violence on Opus Arte Blu Ray / DVD and Nimbus CD, DebussySongs – Vol. 3 andVol. 4with Malcolm Martineau on Hyperion CD and Elgar Une voix dans le déserton the Hallé label. Conductors with whom she has worked include Sian Edwards, Jane Glover, Thomas Adès, Douglas Boyd, George Benjamin, Martyn Brabbins, Brad Cohen, Laurence Cummings, Brett Dean, Stéphane Denève, Oliver von Dohnányi, Justin Doyle, Sir Mark Elder, José Miguel Esandi, Antonino Fogliani, Ben Gernon, John Georgiadis, Nicholas Kraemer, Christopher Moulds, Franck Ollu, Ian Page, David Parry, Adrian Partington, Toby Purser, Daniel Raiskin, John Rigby, Jac van Steen, Stuart Stratford and Duncan Ward.
Please note that this biography is not to be used for programmes. Current information is available on request.
Kathleen Ferrier Awards 2014 / Wigmore Hall, London
"For me the evening’s outstanding singer was lyric soprano Jennifer France, 27, who tugged at the heartstrings in Tiny’s song from Britten’s Paul Bunyan and tossed off the coloratura nonsense of Strauss’ “Amor” with enchanting insouciance. She went away with the Song Prize, but was robbed of the crown."
“This year it was easy. Of the six finalists, there were two very obvious candidates for the first prize at the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Awards. Sarah Jane-Lewis (and) her polar opposite: the petite, sparkling coloratura soprano, Jennifer France. Also aged 27, she has already held audiences spellbound as Tytania, Blonde and Zerbinetta. Her programme of Donizetti, Strauss (a stellar Amor) and two welcome rarities, Julius Harrison’s Philomel and Britten’s Tiny’s Song, incarnated her diamantine soprano and her fine sense of style and idiom. Neither of these singers won…”
Marzelline: Fidelio / Garsington Opera at Wormsley
“Jennifer France (Marzelline) and Sam Furness (Jaquino) open the opera with spirited acting and singing. France’s bright, ringing soprano and indomitable personality make a particular impression.”
“…sung delightfully by Jennifer France.”
“…with Jennifer France’s exquisitely-sung Marzelline dominating the first act.”
“In the quartet, the singing of Jennifer France’s Marzelline led the ensemble unerringly to its climax.”
“…Jennifer France, whose tone, phrasing and vocal nuance were outstanding: surely a star in the making.”
Seen and Heard International
“Jennifer France’s Marzelline, however, is a treat. She sings her big aria with sweetness and expressivity, and her portrayal of the moment when the poor girl realises who Fidelio really is has a touching poignancy.”
“…Jennifer France was utterly enchanting: her bright, penetrating soprano is consistently appealing and packs enough punch to give Leonore a run for her money in the Act One ensembles.”
What’s On Stage
Héro: Béatrice et Bénédict / Royal Academy Opera
"...the stars of Jennifer France's Héro and Ross Ramgobin's Claudio shone brightly indeed, their lines both ardent yet elegantly shaped in fine Gallic fashion".
Seen and Heard
Ophelia: Hamlet / Glyndebourne On Tour
“…Jennifer France sounding stunning…France commanded the stage in Ophelia’s Mad Scene…”
“France, with her silvery tone and accurate coloratura, chills your marrow as she descends in to madness.”
“Soprano Jennifer France made an outstanding Glyndebourne debut as Ophelia, holding back on hysteria until the music called for it.”
“…Jennifer France’s Ophelia, whose virtuosic mad scene was as riveting as it was unsettling.”
“Jennifer France, portraying the wonderful Ophelia role, has an amazing voice which can reach heights one does not expect, and she really comes in to her own in the second act as the maddened and betrayed young woman who meets her maker in the murky waters.”
The Reviews Hub
“…Jennifer France’s Ophelia, as virtuosic as Barbara Hannigan’s, but more touching…”
The Sunday Times
“Ophelia, with high soprano France giving the performance of her career, all but walks away with the show.”
What’s On Stage
Princess Elsbeth: Fortunio / Garsington Opera at Wormsley
“Jennifer France, who was a dazzling Zerbinetta in last year’s Opera Holland Park Ariadne, seemed to channel that character’s stratospheric agility on to the coloratura of Princess Elsbeth; her attractive, open sound and crystal-clear diction provided an object lesson in communication.”
“Jennifer France is outstanding as Elsbeth, with her glistening soprano not only conquering all of the technical challenges of the role but also helping to mark out her character. In this way, she makes Elsbeth appear sweet and innocent on the surface, while also helping us to appreciate that there is a great mind at work in the Princess.”
“Jennifer France was outstanding as Princess Elsbeth. Her sparkling coloratura arias were a reminder of how versatile this rising-star soprano is…”
“It feels invidious to single out particular principals when the line-up is as strong as this, but Jennifer France’s delightfully liquid and agile Princess Elsbeth has to be given first-among-equals status.”
“France wonderfully combined the Princess’ pin-sharp coloratura with a vein of melancholy at her impending marriage.”
“…Jennifer France in glittering form as the Princess whose inner conflict between personal feelings and patriotic duty is mostly expressed in cascades of glinting coloratura.”
“…a fine assembly of singers in principal roles made every word count, none more so than coloratura soprano Jennifer France, her bouffant wig rising to greet a voice that was borne aloft on fine-spun lines.
Debussy: Songs – Volume 3 / Hyperion CD
"Jennifer France negotiates the upper-altitude territory both with accuracy and with sensitivity to the songs' moods, with smoothness of line matching her subtlety of vocal inflection."
The Controller: Flight / Opera Holland Park
“France too is glossily secure, filling this tricky tented space with a pealing tone that matches the gilded brilliance of Dove’s writing for tuned percussion and brass.”
The Arts Desk
“Jennifer France made the Controller’s stratospheric coloratura sound easy, floating notes effortlessly to every corner of the Holland Park canopy. “
“Jennifer France as the Controller, with her stratospheric soprano, and counter-tenor James Laing as the otherworldly Refugee are both excellent.”
The Financial Times
“…a bright shining star, soaring to the stratosphere with effortless ease and silvery, Sophie-like tones."
“Jennifer France sang with a crystalline beauty, able to float phrases despite the stratospheric tessitura. “
“…she brought a wonderful glitter and a superb evenness of tone to all the higher register in a role which has lots of long high lying lyrical phrases. But she also brought real sense of character too, especially in the Controller's Act 2 breakdown, and we left the opera at the end with a real sense of possibility of something between her and the Refugee.”
“The cast is so unwaveringly brilliant it’s almost unfair to single out Jennifer France’s Controller, who cruises effortlessly at superhuman altitudes, and James Laing’s Refugee, sung with vibrancy and resilience.”
“Jennifer France moves cleanly and thrillingly above the stave as a celestial Air Traffic Controller…”
"Funny and terribly sad, Flight closes as it begins, with our hearts held by the sheer, sweet, vertiginous sounds of (James) Laing and (Jennifer) France in companionable chastity."
“…a role in gold for the fabulous young soprano Jennifer France.”
What’s On Stage
The Controller: Flight / Scottish Opera
“Jennifer France, as the God-like controller, alone in her tower, sings with a stunning clarity, giving the role a balanced fusion of dominance with serenity, as James Laing’s Refugee stares up at her in awe.”
The Arts Desk
“Commenting on and overseeing is the action of the icily celestial Controller, whose stratospheric vocal writing is deftly negotiated by soprano Jennifer France.”
“…it is quite superbly cast across the board, with countertenor James Laing as the Refugee and stratospheric soprano Jennifer France as The Controller…”
“…with soprano Jennifer France hitting the vocal heights as the stratospherically inclined Controller.”
“…Jennifer France’s Controller, who manages to sing words at the top of her Queen of Night range of spellbinding accuracy and beauty.”
The Sunday Times
“All members of an expert cast seize every opportunity that Dove offers them – and if I single out James Laing as the Refugee and Jennifer France as the air traffic Controller, that is only because that are presented with the biggest vocal challenges, met with gusto in both cases.”
“…Jennifer France’s quasi-supernatural airport controller is first amongst equals. I’ve rarely heard such ravishingly pure phrasing of notes so high above the stave…”
Medeamaterial / Salzburg Festival 2019
“The secret weapon in this thrilling evening was Jennifer France. In addition to her aptitude for contemporary music, the soprano is also known for her acting qualities, skilfully deployed during the short of hour of this performance, sometimes in monologue (spoken as well as sung), sometimes in dialogue with the chorus and speakers.”
Austria Presse Agentur
“Jennifer France meets the demands of this extremely difficult role with dedication, a seemingly effortless coloratura soprano and also suitably expressive facial expressions. As far as possible, within a concert environment, she presents, rather than a fury, a deeply wounded woman drifting in to madness.”
“Dusapin pushes his protagonist again and again up to the high E in her painful arabesques, which is far from child’s play, but the famous soprano Jennifer France masters this brilliantly. She stammers, cries and whines, or even, taken aback, speaks, her slight accent appropriate for a character who is a stranger: hurrah for a short but intense evening.”
“Whether pushing her brightly projecting voice to stratospheric heights, or engaging in darkly whispered speaking passages, Jennifer France delineates the stages of her journey from thought to action, from indictment to insanity, from anger to despair, depending on her state of mind, even sometimes retreating in to silence. Even in a concert performance, one always felt that one was in a theatre.”
Her: Passion / Music Theatre Wales
“France sings superbly. Her voice soars rapturously upwards as she contemplates the sunlight she has left behind.”
“Jennifer France negotiated the sometimes stratospherically high lines with seeming ease…Vocal lines could be extremely long-breathed and lyrical, often at the very top end of the soprano range, and in France’s performance these took on the highest beauty.
Seen and Heard International
“France soared to the upper reaches of her range with searing intensity.”
“The soprano Jennifer France is especially remarkable. Her singing has a piercing clarity, but her physical flexibility is just as notable.”
“…with stunning assurance – Jennifer France demonstrably at ease with Dusapin’s soaring lines and, whether half way up the ladder or held aloft by the dancers, able to pluck notes out of the ether, unfazed by a part originally written for Barbara Hannigan.”
Wales Arts Online
Elgar Une voix dans le desert / Hallé
“Jennifer France sang the role of the girl with the purity and strength tone heard before in her Royal Northern College and Opera North appearances.”
Manchester Evening News
Handel Messiah / Chichester Singers
"Soprano Jennifer France's beautiful lyric voice made every word clearly audible, bringing deep conviction to every word. Outstanding and breathtaking was her solo, 'I know that my redeemer liveth'."
Dalinda: Ariodante / Scottish Opera
“Jennifer France is show-stealing as a limpid and graceful Dalinda.”
“…a glowing, intelligent Jennifer France (Dalinda), a star in the making.”
"Jennifer France, a Scottish Opera ' emerging artist,' emerged with huge credit, presenting a Dalinda of fibre, natural conference and musical spirit."
“Jennifer France’s Dalinda is lustrous and delicately thrilling.”
"The stand out performance, however, comes from Jennifer France, who sings Se tanto piace al cor exquisitely while shivering in sexual thrall to Polinesso."
Semele / Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe
“Jennifer France is a wonderful Handel singer, a soprano whose voice is as delicate as her appearance, acutely sensitive to expression, and with sending up brilliant rockets of coloratura.”
“The heroine (Jennifer France), aspiring to godliness, sings like a goddess in Karlrsuhe. When, in the last act, she compels Jupiter to meet her in his divine form, she masters a seemingly endless coloratura bravura that is surely unsurpassable.”
Die deutsche Bühne
“Jennifer France embodies the titular heroine with her gleaming soprano, secure on high, and with breathtaking coloratura.”
“The young British soprano gave a breathtaking performance as Semele. Worldclass.”
Der neue Merker
Flavio: Il Vologeso / Classical Opera
“Fourth in a superbly contrasted line up of women's voices was Jennifer France, a lighter soprano than Summerfield but brilliant in her flights all the same; the orchestral support for her one number is one of the major delights of the score.“
The Arts Desk
“Jennifer France is a diamond of a soprano! She sang Flavio, the Roman ambassador who arrives with Lucilla and leads the revolt that ultimately forces Lucio to cede Berenice to Vologeso. She only gets one aria, “Crede sol che a nuovi ardori”, but grabbed the opportunity with both hands! A bright, alert presence, she surveyed the hall confidently during the orchestral introduction, then pinned us to our seats with gleaming tone, fabulous hairpin dynamics and a controlled trill – a showstopper!”
“Jennifer France was mesmerising as Flavio, excelling in the complex aria ‘Crede sol che a nuovi ardori’…”
“The soprano Jennifer France sparkled in Flavio’s single aria.”
“…Jennifer France’s bright soprano shone as Roman Ambassador Flavio, who brings the Emperor to book.”
Ice: Anthropocene / Scottish Opera
“Jennifer France has the standout role. Her ethereal, luminous high soprano is used to great effect to portray the other-worldly creature rescued from the ice. Vocally it is reminiscent of the Controller in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, a role that France has very much made her own.”
“Jennifer France cast her own spell on the fairy-tale figure of Ice.”
“Jennifer France, as the ‘resurrected’ Ice meets the sustained high-set vocal challenge with mesmerising assurance…”
“…sung with unworldly coloratura crispness and cool precision by Jennifer France.”
“…Jennifer France, sublime in the high soprano reaches that evoke the ephemeral presence of Ice…”
“…virtuosic singing and touching acting from that dazzling young soprano Jennifer France as the mysterious creature whose story precipitates the denouncement.”
“As the resurrected ice woman, Jennifer France naturally dominates, dramatically (and with some extraordinary soft-edged singing above the stave), musically as well.”
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 / 2016 Three Choirs Festival
“Arguably most compelling of all, despite its brevity, Jennifer France’s exquisite manifestation of the Mater Gloriosa, high in the organ loft, momentarily brought the entire world to an astounded halt at the hypnotic purity and beauty of her voice.”
"The remaining soloist, Jennifer France has the smallest role to sing but, my goodness it’s a crucial one – and horribly exposed. There was no better place to position her for Mater Gloriosa’s solo than atop the organ screen. From here she floated her phrases quite beautifully."
Seen and Heard International
Despina: Cosi Fan Tutte / Scottish Opera
"Jennifer France's Despina had bags of personality and projection..."
"Jennifer France as a gleeful, mischievous Despina is a joy, with a bright, clearly articulated soprano and some nicely persuasive acting too."
“Jennifer France is a sassy Despina, rightly earning the most laughs.”
“All of the cast embrace the fun of the thing with verve and style but it is Jennifer France’s mischievous Despina that has the nod-and-wink approach to the melodrama down pat.”
Susanna: Le nozze di Figaro / Garsington Opera at Wormsley
‘In a strong, committed cast, first among equals is Jennifer France’s immaculately-sung and beautifully nuanced Susanna, always alert and engaged but never playing to the gallery. Her lilting Act Four serenade (ostensibly addressed to the Count, but really for the benefit of the eavesdropping Figaro himself) was the musical highlight of the evening, sung on a thread of silvery tone with such hushed introspection that one could’ve heard Barbarina’s much-lamented pin drop.”
“(Jennifer France's) comic timing is spot-on and her final big aria is ravishing..."
“Jennifer France has everything a Susanna needs, from charming presence to musical phrasing and silvery tone.”
"(Jennifer) France's Susanna was pin-bright in tone and as sharp as a needle in her enunciation of rhythm and text."
"This Susanna is a feisty lass - verbally and physically - not beholden or subordinate to husband, mistress or master; but, her fierce will and self-belief never once temper the sweetness of her vocal utterances. France’s soprano is lithe, clean and her stamina unflagging; she was as bright and brisk in the final Act as in the first. She is also a consummate actress, adaptable, relaxed and vivacious. A star in the making."
“Douglas Boyd shows off the prowess of the fine Garsington Opera Orchestra by exploring lowest levels of pianissimo and daring the singers to match, a challenge particularly met by Jennifer France.”
“Jennifer France is perfect casting as Susanna, bright-eyed, with a lovely pure-toned soprano.”
“Jennifer France made a sparkling role debut as a quick-witted, modest Susanna…”
Lauretta: Gianni Schicchi / Opera North
“France's showstopping “O mio babbino caro” is gorgeous…”
The Arts Desk
“It is the aria most of the audience has been waiting for – “O mio babbino caro” – the one every lyric soprano worth her salt records sooner or later. Jennifer France delivers it exquisitely, her sweet voice moving some in the audience to tears.”
“Jennifer France’s nicely judged performance of Lauretta’s famous aria is a predictable high point…”
“Her O mio babbino caro, which quite literally floored her father, Schicchi, hit the spot.”
“Jennifer France who, left alone centre stage, delivers “O mio babbino caro” with a sweetness, sincerity and beguiling charm that made the eyes prick with tears…”
“Jennifer France sings “O mio babbino Caro” ravishingly…”
“…beautifully sung by Jennifer France…”
Le Feu / Le Rossignol: L’enfant et les sortileges / BBC Symphony Orchestra
"…the metaphorical spotlight […] fell on […] Jennifer France, a fizzing Fire with a proper trill."
La Comtesse Adèle: Le Comte Ory / Dorset Opera Festival
“It’s always a pleasure to see a cast that’s solid across the cast; my find at this production was soprano Jennifer France, singing Adèle. She made it plain very quickly that she has a talent for bel canto; the higher register was assured and the top notes clean. Tone was warm and her ability to skim the voice down to pale thread was a treat. It was a generous vocal performance, nicely supplemented by a strong stage presence and credible acting.”
“It was no surprise that Ory was ensnared by Jennifer France’s Adèle in a performance that saw this artists’ star well and truly risen. Her coloratura was agile and exciting, her stage presence ingratiating and downright sexy, and she proved herself an accomplished comedienne.”
Esmeralda: The Bartered Bride / British Youth Opera
"…Jennifer France as Esmeralda combined pulchritude with a sly twinkle in her eye and a neat voice".
Adele: Die Fledermaus / Opera Holland Park
“There’s a superstar performance by young soprano Jennifer France as a naughty chambermaid. When this flighty chambermaid (in disguise) wants to punish her master for insulting her, she uses her knee to deliver a blow to a particularly soft part of his anatomy, while delivering perfect spit-spot coloratura. It’s a beguiling mixture of charm and brutality, and utterly hilarious.”
“Jennifer France’s mischievous, adventurous Adele…sang with impeccable style and brilliance.”
“Jennifer France is a delightful Adele – her ‘Laughing Song’ rightly brought the house down the night I went.”
"Jennifer France makes a terrifically uppity Adele with her blazing high notes and pin-prick staccatos"
“The excellent cast prove equally strong at singing and acting, and none more so than Jennifer France as Adele. In ‘Mein Herr Marquis’ she displays an exquisite sound as she literally runs rings around von Eisenstein…”
“Which brings me to a full measure of praise for the virtuosic assumption of Adele by Jennifer France. She was incredibly funny in the domestic scenes in the first act; a nice bit of direction has her in an adjoining bathroom to the Eisenstein’s bedroom during the trio ‘O Gott, wie rührt mich dies’, enjoying a cheeky cigarette before joining her employers next door. Her soprano simply dazzled in its agile upper register, her coloratura in the Laughing Song (‘Mein Herr Marquis’) nimble and bright. I would have been happy to have attended the performance purely to have heard her Adele."
"Rising almost unobtrusively over this fine ensemble was Jennifer France's Adele, an obvious star turn ill-suited to life as a chambermaid - and singing both her Laughing Song and Audition piece with an easy, show-stopping bravura. I haven't seen an Adele to match her since Watson at Covent Garden back in 1989."
"...as Jennifer France perched in Eisenstein’s bathroom excitedly poring over the invitation from her sister, Ida, to attend the Prince’s ball, it was clear that this was a chambermaid who knew her own mind and was going places. France negotiated the bravura coloratura with ease and the Act 2 ‘Mein Herr Marquis’ was a dramatic and musical delight..."
“Jennifer France managed the difficult task of really nailing the coloratura in her solos, notably in the Laughing Song, whilst keeping the music in character; for once the music felt all of a piece with the drama.”
“Jennifer France sings Adele with flair.”
“…coloratura soprano Jennifer France is superb in her comic timing as a winning Adele.”
“…in a stand out performance, Jennifer France's dispatch of her two soubrette showpiece arias was spot-on and dazzling."
“…it’s Jennifer France’s pearly high notes as Adele that bring the most star power.”
"This is a sugar-sweet dragée with a dream at its heart. She's called Jennifer France. "When you see me play," sings cheeky Adele, " You will surely say ‘now there's a girl who will go far'". Well, I did, and I do. France is a coloratura soprano whose performance as Johann Strauss's go-getting chambermaid made this grown man cry. Moved by her vocal radiance, elated by her comic gifts and outraged at her neglect by major houses (yes, that old chestnut), I wanted to frogmarch her onto the world's stages and force them to take notice."
What’s On Stage
Zerbinetta: Ariadne auf Naxos / Nederlandse Reisopera
“Even more impressive was Jennifer France’s unforgettable Zerbinetta. From the moment the young British soprano stepped onto the stage, her assured singing and admirable acting skills drew the audience’s attention. She sang the fiendish coloratura of "Großmächtige Prinzessin" with starry aplomb, top notes ringing to the rafters, the voice never thinning or discolouring, while executing a perfect classic burlesque feather fan routine of which a seasoned Moulin Rouge dancer wouldn’t disapprove. Let us bet we’ll hear more of her! “
“It was quite a coup for the Nederlandse Reisopera to cast Jennifer France in the role of Zerbinetta. Although not the title role, the correct casting of this role is essential to the success of the opera act of Ariadne auf Naxos. And what an aria! One that rivals in difficulty that of the Queen of Night’s ‘Der Hölle Rache.’ And it was fantastic to hear how France encompassed the notes seemingly effortlessly. Even before France had completed her aria, the audience had erupted into delirious applause.”
“The Nederlandse Reisopera presents the Zerbinetta of Jennifer France as an ostrich-feathered showgirl of dazzling, sparkling appearance, an exuberant contrast to the raven dark Ariadne. France mastered the role vocally.”
"...the greatest achievement came from soprano Jennifer France (Zerbinetta), remaining a seductive actress even when singing the most difficult notes. A must hear, and also a must see."
"There is a brilliant performance from Jennifer France, who deserves a medal, as a Zerbinetta who flies high vocally and dramatically. Her physicality is ideal for this unrepentant lover so susceptible to temptation and she has ability, musicality and the necessary wide range. The theatrical skill she demonstrates in her great aria is worthy of the highest praise.'
"Jennifer France's coloratura "Großmächtige Prinzessin" proved an absolute showstopper. France could withstand comparison with Gruberova in her best years."
Place de l’Opera
Zerbinetta: Ariadne auf Naxos / Opera Holland Park
“There hasn’t mean a more meaningful Zerbinetta than young Jennifer France’s...”
The Arts Desk
“…surely the Zerbinetta of our dreams: nimble in her acting as she is agile in her singing; she exudes charisma and guile in equal measure.”
“Jennifer France’s Zerbinetta brings the Composer down to East the with a lovely blend of pragmatism and tenderness, then in the Opera opens out into a sensational account of the long coloratura aria ‘Großmächtige Prinzessin...”
“Jennifer France’s sparky Zerbinetta rises to the virtuoso challenge of her showpiece aria with aplomb.”
The Financial Times
“Jennifer France, whose sparkly, girlish Zerbinetta wins the evening.”
“Jennifer France is a revelation as Zerbinetta, carrying off ‘So war es mit Pagliazzo’ with a glistening sound, excellent coloratura and real panache.”
“France was a life-enhancing Zerbinetta in the Opera, slipping out of Dietrich-like top hat and tails to reveal her true red and gold colours as she effortlessly spun the coloratura challenges of ‘Großmähctige Prinzessin.’”
“Jennifer France was the true Sirius in a stellar show, delivering her vocal acrobatics with astonishing athleticism, precision and expressive nuance, all the while performing a teasing strip-show. Languor and assertiveness were wonderfully melded in sensual sublimity. It was hard to tell who enjoyed it most; France or the mesmerised audience.”
“Jennifer France’s fickle, sexy Zerbinetta…on terrific form…”
“Her command of the music means that she can negotiate the felicitates of the staging with ease; but it was the vocal fireworks that were most memorable. She commands the stage with her mesmerising presence; her sound enchants the ear.”
Seen and Heard International
“Jennifer France embodies the role of the life-loving Zerbinetta, sparkling in the coloratura showpiece ‘Großmächtige Prinzessin’.”
“…Jennifer France’s star-turn as Zerbinetta.”
The Sunday Times
“(Jennifer) France delivers coloratura thrills whilst swinging across the stage in the skimpiest of costumes.”
“When it comes to Zerbinetta, a role of a gold for a coloratura soprano, we’re in star-turn territory. Jennifer France has been championed by OHP for several years now and she returns the company’s faith in her by delivering one of the performances of the year. Decked out like Marlene Dietrich, France performs an elaborate striptease during her 12-minute showstopping aria and, I swear, makes eye contact with every hot-blooded male and female in the audience. More importantly, this living jewel in opera’s crown sings the heck out of her Music - helium notes and all.”
Zerbinetta: Ariadne auf Naxos / Scottish Opera
“Nevertheless, it was France who stole the show, with the grand coloratura aria "Großmächtige Prinzessin" ("High and mighty princess") which she delivered with impeccable vocal support and an impressive level of detail, filling the entire theatre.”
The Arts Desk
“Jennifer France as Zerbinetta gave a literally show-stopping performance, her high, bright coloratura aria pinpoint-accurate, sung as she transformed herself from black top hat and trousers to an outrageous red and gold basque costume complete with a plume of matching tail feathers.”
“Jennifer France, recently the Controller in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, is stunning as a Dita von Teese Zerbinetta…”
“Jennifer France is an impressive Zerbinetta: stripping burlesque style while singing coloratura in towering high heels is no mean feat.”
“…with a silvery high soprano that can slip like oiled silk over even the most sequin-encrusted coloratura…”
“Jennifer France’s coloratura aria as Zerbinetta in the opera is near perfect in itself, but it is elevated by the not-quite striptease costume change she performs while she is singing it.”
Viennese Whirl / Orchestra of Opera North
“…soprano soloist Jennifer France who, seemingly, can do it all. Beguiling soubrette in Adele’s Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus, dramatic and muscular in Zeller’s Schenkt man sich Rosen, wonderfully controlled and meditative in Léhar’s Vilja, a Hollywood-style star in arias from Léhar’s Giuditta and Kálmán’s Kaiserin Josephine. In Richard Strauss’s fiendishly difficult song Amor her technique and dramatic delivery were stunningly unsurpassable.”
Huddersfield Daily Examiner
“The purity and agility of France’s voice was spectacularly displayed in the stratospheric runs and trills of Richard Strauss’ Amor (Cupid), a virtuosic showpiece for soprano.”
Benjamin Lessons in Love and Violence (roles of Woman 1 / Witness 1 / Singer 1)
Barbara Hannigan, Samuel Boden, Peter Hoare, Stephane Degout, Gyula Orendt
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden / George Benjamin
Opus Arte DVD OA 1221 D / Blu Ray OABD 7199 D
Debussy Songs – Volume 3
Jonathan McGovern, Malcolm Martineau
Hyperion CD CDA 68016
Elgar Une voix dans le desert Joshua Ellicott
Hallé Orchestra / Sir Mark Elder
Hallé CD CDHLL 7544