Ginger Costa-Jackson

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Ginger Costa-Jackson
Ginger Costa-Jackson, mezzo-soprano, 2012 Concert
Ginger Costa-Jackson at a 2012 benefit concert appearance in St. George, Utah
Background information
Birth name Ginger Emilia Jackson
Born (1986-09-10) September 10, 1986 (age 30)
Palermo, Italy
Genres Opera
Occupation(s) musician, operatic mezzo-soprano
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007–present

Ginger Costa-Jackson (born 10 September 1986, and named Ginger Emilia Jackson) is an Italian-American operatic mezzo-soprano and perennial artist with the Metropolitan Opera since entering its Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in 2007.[1][2] The Met: Live in HD global broadcasts feature her frequently,[3] as do other major theaters and concert venues worldwide.[4] Costa-Jackson has performed in her native Italian, English, French, and Spanish, and speaks these languages fluently, along with limited German. While her signature role is Carmen,[5][6] Costa-Jackson[7] is also a comedian, as in her Marchesa di Poggio (Glimmerglass Festival's 2013 adaptation of Verdi's King for a Day /Un giorno di regno),[8][9][10] and also her 2009 Celia in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe with the San Francisco Symphony.[11][12]

Early life and education[edit]

Ginger Costa-Jackson was born in Palermo, Italy, to an American father, Walt Jackson, and an Italian mother, Emilia Costa.[13] Relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, the couple had two more daughters (also opera singers): Marina and Miriam. Italian was the children's mother tongue.[14] The family then moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Music was a consistent part of Costa-Jackson's early family life. Her maternal grandmother, Lucia Frontini Costa, taught the children Italian lullabies and folk tunes.[14] Emilia, like her mother before her, had a strong singing voice, although neither sang professionally.[15][16] When a youth, Emilia had piano training at Palermo's Conservatorio Vincenzo Bellini (it), and some private voice lessons. Walt sang in high school and college groups, including Brigham Young University's barbershop quartet. Each of the children took up orchestral instruments as part of their public school education. Costa-Jackson chose the violin, and eventually became first violinist in her school orchestra.[12]

Miriam was the first of the Jackson children to study voice.[4] Her interest sprang from listening to the family's opera CDs, especially The Three Tenors. Costa-Jackson's interests were more academic.[14] She had a perfect record of top grades in school, and thought to become a professor of English Literature.[12][14] When Costa-Jackson heard her sister was singing after beginning lessons, Costa-Jackson determined to study voice as well. However, Costa-Jackson found her voice cracked during lessons. This did not deter her from the decision to study voice.[12]

In 2003, the family took all three daughters to Palermo, where Costa-Jackson and her youngest sister studied privately with Maria Argento Rancatore. The teacher insisted Costa-Jackson see a doctor to ensure her vocal problem was not a medical condition. She received a clear bill of health, and lessons began in earnest.[4] Costa-Jackson then auditioned for a place with the Conservatorio Vincenzo Bellini, and gained entrance there. When the family returned to Utah after five months, Costa-Jackson and Miriam were invited to audition for the Utah Festival Opera. General Director Michael Ballam contracted them to sing for the 2004 season, and they became the youngest opera singers to be hired by the company (ages 17 and 15 respectively).[13]

At 17, Costa-Jackson left public school and went to Italy to live with her aunt and continue private vocal studies. Costa-Jackson completed her high school education via correspondence courses. At 18 she attended one semester at Brigham Young University, but found it suited her better to focus on music, rather than pursue a liberal arts education. Therefore, she returned to Italy. At 19 she began a tour of Italian singing competitions. She won first place in her first competition—the 2006 Leoncavallo Festival International Competition in Montalto Uffugo. Later, as a finalist in the Ottavio Ziino International Lyric Competition (Concorso Lirico Internazionale "Ottavio Ziino"), Costa-Jackson met Lenore Rosenberg, who was a judge on that occasion, and the Director of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. Rosenberg invited Costa-Jackson to audition for James Levine, which resulted in Costa-Jackson's becoming a Met Young Artist in 2007.[2][4][12]


The 2007 jump from private student to the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program was the pivotal point in Costa-Jackson's career.[12] The young singer had no degree, nor had she participated in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.[17] Being a young artist gave her access to the Met's considerable resources, world-class teachers and coaches, and on-stage experiences.[18][19]

Ginger Costa-Jackson in her 2008 Metropolitan Opera debut as Myrtale in Thaïs

Costa-Jackson made her first appearance with the Metropolitan Opera in its 2008 Opening Night Gala as Rosette in Massenet's Manon.[20] Her singing debut came that same year in a new production of Massenet's Thaïs, which starred Renée Fleming and Thomas Hampson. Costa-Jackson was Myrtale.[21] From 2008 to 2013 Costa-Jackson had 15 contracts with the Metropolitan opera (see Repertory below). General Manager Peter Gelb explained how the Met's young artists are typically assigned small roles with the company.[19] The company develops young artists, often giving them cover assignments before launching them into main roles.[22] This pattern is evident in Costa-Jackson's placement in increasingly demanding cover roles since she graduated from the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in 2010. Her 2012 and 2013 cover roles included Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Meg Page (Falstaff), and Dorabella (Così fan tutte). The Met also released her from a contract to sing Bersi in Andrea Chénier, so Costa-Jackson could sing the title role of Carmen with Virginia Opera in 2014.[23] Her debut as Carmen came in 2011 with Glimmerglass Opera, when Francesca Zambello cast Costa-Jackson as the gypsy temptress.[24] Scheduling conflicts required Costa-Jackson to turn down offers to sing Carmen with Opera Hong Kong and Opera Hamilton in Canada.[25] She is slated to sing the role twice during the 2013–2014 season with the Tri-Cities Opera Company and Virginia Opera.

2012 saw Costa-Jackson's debut with San Francisco Opera in the role of Nancy T'ang (Nixon in China), a role she had previously sung under the baton of the composer, John Adams, at the Met.[26] Costa-Jackson's first professional role in Europe was Lola (Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana) with the Gran Teatre del Liceu in 2011. She was "Puss" in the 2010 U.S. premiere of Montsalvage's El gato con botas produced by the Gotham Chamber Opera.[27] Costa-Jackson sang Wowkle in the historic 2010 Metropolitan Opera centennial production of Puccini's La fanciulla del West.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Costa-Jackson married Spencer Burk M.D. on August 31, 2013. The couple currently resides in Rochester, New York, U.S.A.[29]


Year Role Composer Opera Location
2005 Idamante Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Idomeneo Brigham Young University
2006 Dame Quickly Giuseppe Verdi Falstaff International Institute of Vocal Arts
2006 Sesto Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart La clemenza di Tito International Institute of Vocal Arts
2006 Nerone Claudio Monteverdi L'incoronazione di Poppea International Institute of Vocal Arts
2007 The Secretary Gian Carlo Menotti The Consul Metropolitan Opera: LYADP
2007 La Voix Jacques Offenbach Les contes d'Hoffmann Metropolitan Opera: LYADP
2008 Dorabella Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Così fan tutte Verbier Festival Academy
2008 Rosette Jules Massenet Manon Opening Night Gala, HD Metropolitan Opera
2008 Annio Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 'La clemenza di Tito Metropolitan Opera
2008 Cherubino Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Metropolitan Opera: LYADP
2008 Myrtale Jules Massenet Thaïs HD Metropolitan Opera
2009 Lola Pietro Mascagni Cavalleria rusticana Metropolitan Opera
2009 Celia & Iolanthe (cover) Gilbert and Sullivan 'Iolanthe San Francisco Symphony
2009 Cherubino (cover) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Metropolitan Opera
2010 Maddalena Giuseppe Verdi Rigoletto Metropolitan Opera: LYADP
2010 Eine Theatergarderobiere / Der Gymnasiast / Ein Groom Alban Berg Lulu Metropolitan Opera
2010 El Gato ("Puss") Xavier Montsalvatge El gato con botas U.S. Premiere Gotham Chamber Opera
2010 Wowkle Giacomo Puccini La fanciulla del West Centennial, HD Metropolitan Opera
2011 Nancy T'sang, First Secretary John Adams Nixon in China Met debut, HD Metropolitan Opera
2011 Lola Pietro Mascagni Cavalleria rusticana Gran Teatre del Liceu (European debut)
2011 Marie Gioachino Rossini Moïse et Pharaon Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall
2011 Carmen Georges Bizet Carmen Glimmerglass Festival
2012 Smeton (cover) Gaetano Donizetti Anna Bolena Metropolitan Opera
2012 Rosette Jules Massenet Manon HD Metropolitan Opera
2012 Nancy T'ang, First Secretary John Adams Nixon in China San Francisco Opera
2012 Cherubino (cover) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Metropolitan Opera
2012 Ascagne (cover) Hector Berlioz Les Troyens Metropolitan Opera
2012 Mercédès Georges Bizet Carmen Metropolitan Opera
2013 Smaragdi Riccardo Zandonai Francesca da Rimini HD Metropolitan Opera
2013 La Marchesa di Poggio Giuseppe Verdi King for a Day / Un giorno di regno Glimmerglass Festival
2013 Dorabella (cover) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Così fan tutte Metropolitan Opera
2013 Carmen Georges Bizet Carmen Tri-Cities Opera Company
2013 Meg Page (cover) Giuseppe Verdi Falstaff Metropolitan Opera
2014 Carmen Georges Bizet Carmen Virginia Opera

LYADP – Lindeman Young Artist Development Program; HD – The Met: Live in HD series



  • Lotte Lenya Competition,[30][31] Kurt Weill Foundation, New York, 2009, 2013
  • Loren L. Zachary Society National Vocal Competition for Young Opera Singers,[32] Los Angeles, 2009
  • Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition,[33] New York, 2009
  • Opera Index Vocal Competition,[34] New York, 2008
  • Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition,[35] New York, 2008
  • Verbier Festival Academy Scholarship,[36] Switzerland, 2008
  • Italian Cultural Society of Washington, D.C.,[37] Ruggiero Morigi Artist Award, 2004, 2005, 2008
  • Festival d'Aix-en-Provence Scholarship,[33] France, 2007
  • International Competition Voci Nuove della Lirica G. B. Velluti,[33] Mira-Venice, Italy, 2006
  • Leoncavallo Festival,[13] Montalto Uffugo, Italy, 2006


  1. ^ "Metropolitan Opera Archives". BiblioTech PRO V3.2a. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Howard, Rebecca C. (4 February 2007). "Young singer skips steps to study with N.Y.'s Met". Deseret News. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Ginger Costa-Jackson". IMDb. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Robinson, Doug (30 July 2012). "Deseret News: "Doug Robinson: Her rise in opera world started with lackluster music lesson". Deseret News. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Sohre, James (19 August 2011). "Glimmer, Glamour Back in Cooperstown". Opera Today. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Lesavoy, Brittany (8 March 2011). "Quick Q&A: Ginger Costa-Jackson". Glimmerglass Opera. 
  7. ^ Yohalem, John (5 June 2010). "Lulu, New York". Opera Today. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Smith, Steve (22 July 2013). "Bold Strokes in the Country". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Sohre, James (13 August 2013). "Glimmerglass: Major League Move". Opera Today. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Galbraith, Susan (31 July 2013). "Kelley Rourke produces surprisingly funny adaptation for Verdi's King for a Day at Glimmerglass". DC Theatre Scene. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Martinfield, Seán (22 May 2009). "IOLANTHE – SF Symphony Presents Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta, June 18th – 21st". San Francisco Sentinel. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Gazzola, Luiz (26 August 2013). "The Exclusive Opera Lively Interview with Ginger Costa-Jackson". Opera Lively. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Howard, Rebecca C. (30 September 2006). "Utah singer a winner in Italy". Deseret News. Deseret News Publishing Company. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c d "Miriam Costa Jackson and Family" (PDF). The Italian Cultural Society of Washington, D.C. November 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Costa-Jackson, Emilia (1995). Buonrissimo! Delicious Italian Recipes. Sandy, Utah: Costa Enterprises. p. 7. 
  16. ^ Reichel, Ed (11 April 2003). "Gifted 13-year-old singer pursues excellence". Deseret News. Deseret News Publishing. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "National Council Auditions". The Metropolitan Opera. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Hixson, Sommer (27 February 2008). "The Metropolitan Opera Forms Partnership with The Juilliard School to Expand its Young Artist Program". Juilliard Newsroom. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Kozinn, Allan (28 February 2008). "Juilliard and Met Meld Opera Training". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "Opening Night Gala.". BiblioTech PRO V3.2b. Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Square, New York: Metropolitan Opera Archives. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  21. ^ "Thaïs". BiblioTech PRO V3.2b. Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Square, New York: Metropolitan Opera Archive. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  22. ^ Midgette, Anne (4 December 2005). "Waiting in the Wings, Singing to Themselves". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "Carmen Cast & Creative Team". Virginia Opera. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  24. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (2 August 2011). "A Summer Blizzard at Glimmerglass". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  25. ^ "Artist Bios". San Francisco Opera. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  26. ^ "San Francisco Opera, Nixon in China". The Opera Critic. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  27. ^ Schweitzer, Vivian (3 October 2010). "From Wily House Cat to Lord of the Manor". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  28. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (7 December 2010). "Puccini's Western, in Search of Lyrical Gold". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  29. ^ Burk, Spencer. "Spencer & Ginger for Time and Eternity". Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  30. ^ Chisholm, Kate (15 April 2013). "Extraordinary Talents Win Top Prizes in 2013 Lotte Lenya Competition". Kurt Weill Foundation. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  31. ^ "Previous Winners' Bios". The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  32. ^ Stern, Sherry (2 June 2009). "Zachary vocal competition honors—and rewards—singers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  33. ^ a b c Thompson, Jason. "Ginger Costa-Jackson, Masterclass 2010". Samling. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  34. ^ "Opera Index Previous Winners 1984–2011". Opera Index, Inc. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  35. ^ "2008 International Vocal Competition Winners Biography". The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  36. ^ "Success Stories". Verbier Festival Academy. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  37. ^ "Italian Cultural Society Award Winners in 2008" (PDF). The Italian Cultural Society of Washington D.C. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 


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