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American soprano Jill Gardner sits among today’s leading operatic heroines. Gardner is consistently praised for her portrayals of the leading ladies of the verismo repertoire and Puccini heroines alike. She is considered one of the great interpreters of the title role of Tosca, which she has recently performed with Opera Carolina, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Arizona Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Toledo Opera, Piedmont Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera, where she débuted the role. Opera News calls Ms. Gardner’s interpretation of Tosca “fresh and focused” and states that “in Gardner’s hands, her Act II aria, ‘Vissi d’arte,’ was not merely a famous showstopper but an opportunity to reveal layers of Tosca’s character…”

Most recently, Ms. Gardner sang Lady Macbeth in Macbeth with the Maryland Lyric Opera, and she joined Toledo Opera to sing the title role in Suor Angelica and Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana. Other recent engagements include Giorgetta in Il tabarro and Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana with Maryland Lyric Opera, the title role of Tosca with Tri-Cities Opera, Anna Maurrant in Street Scene with Virginia Opera, Minnie in La fanciulla del West with Maryland Lyric Opera, and Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly with Greensboro Opera. She also performed as a soloist in Greensboro Opera’s gala and Binghamton Philharmonic’s Wagner’s Ring Cyclein One Night concert, Minnie in La fanciulla del West with Virginia Opera, the Marquise of Berkenfield in La fille du régiment with Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth with Opera Tampa. [read more...]


" of the aces in this production...” – Winston-Salem Journal

La Fanciulla del West – “Midway through the first act, Minnie, played by Jill Gardner, is the pistol-packing saloon owner who makes a dramatic entrance, taking command of an all-out barroom brawl, skillfully choreographed by Erik Gaden. Gardner takes command of the production as well, and never lets go. Her singing has great emotional range, impressive clarity and flawless dynamic control. Her acting, however, is what stands out the most. In a nuanced performance, Gardner evokes both hesitancy and assuredness, vulnerability and strength, as well as worldly innocence, maternal protectiveness and fierce resolve. In addition to the music of Puccini, she is one of the aces in this production.”


“…she alone is a reason to see this production…” – Paul Kuritz Theater and Film Blog

Street Scene – “But Street Scene rests on the performance of four big voices. Number one is Mrs. Maurrant. Virginia Opera is blessed by the return of Jill Gardner to essay this very difficult role. She won the day last season as Minnie in The Girl of the Golden West. This time she has a more difficult challenge: to make an adulterous wife sympathetic. And she does. “Somehow I Never Could Believe” is a bear of an aria, but Ms. Gardner creates such a strong bond with her audience that it allows her to lead them along to wherever she chooses. She alone is a reason to see this production.”


"...undertook the title role as if it were newly written..." – Opera News

Tosca – “Soprano Jill Gardner, whose voice was fresh and focused, undertook the title role as if it were newly written. There was little of the conventional grand diva in her approach, and her character was all the more human for it. In Gardner’s hands, her Act II aria, “Vissi d’arte,” was not merely a famous showstopper but an opportunity to reveal layers of Tosca’s character…their grand showdown in Act II made one suspect they could revive the original source play, Victorien Sardou’s La Tosca, and make a success of it.”


“...among the singers, the pride of place goes to Jill Gardner..." – Charlotte Observer

Suor Angelica/Il tabarro – "Among the singers, the pride of place goes to Jill Gardner. She was an impressive Tosca in Opera Carolina’s production in 2012, but here she has surpassed herself. There doesn’t seem to be anything standing between her and Puccini’s heroines – her identification with both parts seemed complete. Her voice also has become fresher, almost seamless, as if to float an extended high note is as natural as daylight. Furthermore, she moves like an actress, not an opera singer.”


"...gave a commanding performance that was breathtakingly eerie throughout..." – Sybaritic Singer

Macbeth – “Jill Gardner as Lady Macbeth gave a commanding performance that was breathtakingly eerie throughout. Her performance was so convincing that it inspires one to loathe her character for corrupting Macbeth in such evil and manipulative ways. Gardner demonstrated incredible vocal control even when lying down prone on the stage. Her portrayal of Lady Macbeth’s descent into madness was equally as terrifying as her manipulation of Macbeth. Her performance was such a pleasure to watch and Opera Tampa’s audience would heartily welcome her back for future performances.”



Vanessa Uzan


Adrienne Boris

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