Jessica Pratt (soprano)

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Jessica Pratt
Rosmonda d'Inghilterra.jpg
Pratt as Donizetti's Rosmonda d'Inghilterra, 2016
Born(1979-06-20)June 20, 1979
OccupationOperatic soprano

Jessica Pratt (born 20 June 1979) is an English-born Australian operatic soprano. She studied further in Europe: at the Rome Opera, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and in Milan. Pratt is most recognised for her portrayal of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, which she has performed over 100 times worldwide.

Life and career[edit]

Pratt was born in Bristol on 20 June 1979.[1][2] She has lived in Australia since 1991.[3] Pratt's father Philip was a tenor and also her singing teacher whe she grew up. He has worked as director of music at Trinity Grammar school in Sydney.[4] She began studying the trumpet for ten years before concentrating her studies on singing.[5] In 2003, she won the Australian Singing Competition,[3] which brought her to Europe, and she was subsequently invited by Gianluigi Gelmetti to continue her studies at the Rome Opera. While in Rome, she also studied under Renata Scotto at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, finally moving to Milan in 2006 to complete her studies with Lella Cuberli. Since that time, she has begun to make a career for herself in many of the world's great opera houses.

She made it to final 40 out of 2000 selected for a place in the 2000 finals of Placido Domingo’s competition Operalia at Paris. Pratt received numerous scholarships to study internationally and has attended course at the Bel Canto School at Florence.[6]

Early career[edit]

During the early years of her career, she performed in many smaller venues, examples being her Lucia in several Italian houses, including those in Pavia and Cremona (October 2007), then Zürich Opera House in late 2008, Florence in early 2009, and in Geneva in March 2010.[7] Other roles taken up during these years included Desdemona in Verdi's Otello in July 2008, and Gilda in Rigoletto in Como one year later. She appeared as Amina in Bellini's La sonnambula in Como, St. Gallen, Pavia, and Cremona in October/November 2010, followed by a run of Elvira in Doizetti's I puritani in four smaller Italian houses in October 2010/11.[7]

Pratt has also performed in international opera theatres and festivals including La Scala where she first sang in Donizetti's Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali in 2011.[8] Performances elsewhere have included those at the Teatro San Carlo (Lucia in 2011), the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Teatro La Fenice (with a Lucia in May/June 2011 and some performances as Elvira in May 2012),[7] as well as the Vienna State Opera. Other European venues include the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, (as Mozart's Queen of the Night) in February 2011 under Colin Davis.[7]

In 2012 she appeared in the international television broadcast of the New Year's Day concert at Teatro La Fenice in Venice.[9]

She has collaborated with conductors such as Daniel Oren, Kent Nagano, Ralf Weikart, Donato Renzetti, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Wayne Marshall, Christian Thielemann, David Parry and Nello Santi.

In May 2013 Pratt received the Italian award, La Siola d'Oro, for coloratura sopranos in honour of Italian soprano Lina Pagliughi (1907–1980).[10]

Performances in 2014 included Lucia at La Scala (February) followed by the same role in Amsterdam, Violetta in Verdi's La traviata in Melbourne in May, and Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni at La Fenice.[7] 2015 brought a return to the role of Lucia for the Festival Internacional de Opera Alejandro Granda in Lima, Peru.[11] At the opera houses of Rome and Florence, her role debut as Semiramide in Marseille and later in Washington DC, her debut at the Arena di Verona as Rosina in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and her role debut as Amenaide in Tancredi in Lausanne, among others.

The 2016 performances included her debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona as Desdemona in Rossini's Otello, her debut at the ABAO Bilbao in La sonnambula, followed by performances of her highly acclaimed Lucia di Lammermoor held for Teatro Regio di Torino and Victorian Opera in Melbourne. The year also marked the addition of two new Donizetti operas to her repertoire with Linda di Chamounix performed for Teatro dell'Opera di Roma and Rosmonda d'Inghilterra first premiered in Florence with Maggio Musicale in concert form and then fully staged for the new Donizetti Festival in Bergamo. Finally, she completed the year performing the role of the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute for her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on Christmas and New Year's Eve.[citation needed]

2017 was opened with Verdi's Rigoletto for Opera de Oviedo[12] in Spain where she performed during the year in Las Palmas (debuting La fille du régiment),[13] Valencia (Tancredi), Bilbao (Don Pasquale), Barcelona (debuting L'elisir d'amore) and a tour in Finland for the Savonlinna Opera Festival with Madrid's Teatro Real (I puritani).

Scheduled staged performances include Verdi's La traviata conducted by Roberto Abbado in Shanghai performed in February, La sonnambula in Melbourne with Victorian Opera,[14] I puritani in Budapest and Le comte Ory in Dortmund. Other performances worth mentioning include a special concert with extracts from The Magic Flute to be held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.[15]

2018 marked her return to the New York Metropolitan with the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor and a special concert performance of Lucia di Lammermoor, conducted by Roberto Abbado on 12 September for the 40-year commemoration of the death of Maria Callas, to open the season for Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.[16]

In 2020, Pratt debuted in the role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, in the 1912 original version and sung in Italian, at the Festival della Valle d'Itria.[17]

Rossini roles and premieres[edit]

In addition to appearances in operas by Rossini, such as her 2010 performances as Desdemona in the composer's Otello at the Rossini in Wildbad Festival, Pratt has been featured in significant premieres of two of the composer's rarer works. These include the title role in Armida in its United Kingdom premiere in 2010 and, two years later, the United States premiere of Ciro in Babilonia.

Armida was given by the Garsington Opera Festival in 2010, where critic Andrew Clark noted: "what sets the performance alight is Jessica Pratt's Armida. This young English soprano has a ringing top, good looks, stage temperament and enough vocal agility to make sense of Rossini's love-struck heroine."[18]

Another critic, Robert Farr, reviewing the same production, notes:

As Armida, hers was the most amazing vocal performance of the evening. The role is one of the several manifestly vocally difficult and demanding ones that Rossini wrote for his mistress, and later wife, Isabella Colbran, one of the most renowned divas of the day. Not only are its vocal demands considerable, but also it is a very big sing too concluding with the final display aria demanded by all singers in Rossini's time to finish off the performance ... [L]ike the rest of the audience, I appreciated the fact that she sang it with musicality, clarity of diction and purity and beauty of tone, all allied to the smooth vocal extension and flexibility evident throughout her whole performance.[19]

Then, in 2012, Pratt sang the role of Amira in Ciro in Babilonia at the Caramoor Belcanto Festival which resulted in The New York Times critic, Anthony Tommasini, noting that "the soprano Jessica Pratt was also outstanding as Amira, singing with gleaming sound, free and easy high notes, agile coloratura runs and lyrical grace."[20] This production went on to be presented by the same cast at the following month's Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro where it was recorded.

Prior to this, in 2011 at the same Rossini Festival, Pratt had performed the title role in the second staged production of Adelaide di Borgogna since 1825.[21] In another Rossini role, March 2013 was given over to Matilde in Guillaume Tell at Opera Festival Alejandro Granda in Lima, Peru.[7]


Composer Opera Role
Bellini, V. I Capuleti e i Montecchi Giulietta
I puritani Elvira
La sonnambula Amina
Bernstein, L. Candide Cunegonde
Donizetti, G. Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali Daria
Linda di Chamounix Linda
Lucia di Lammermoor Lucia
Rosmonda d'Inghilterra Rosmonda
Gounod, C. Roméo et Juliette Juliette
Halévy, F. La Juive Eudoxie
Händel, G. F. Giulio Cesare Cleopatra
Meyerbeer, G. L'Africaine Inès
Mozart, W. A. Die Zauberflöte Königin der Nacht
Don Giovanni Donna Anna
Il re pastore Aminta
Puccini, G. La bohème Musetta
Rossini, G. Adelaide di Borgogna Adelaide
Armida Armida
Aureliano in Palmira Zenobia
Ciro in Babilonia Amira
Demetrio e Polibio Lisinga
Guillaume Tell Matilde
Il barbiere di Siviglia Rosina
Il signor Bruschino Sofia
Otello Desdemona
Semiramide Semiramide
Tancredi Amenaide
Offenbach, J. Tales of Hoffmann The Four Heroines (Stella, Olimpia, Antonia and Giulietta)
Vaccai, N. La sposa di Messina Donna Isabella
Verdi, G. Giovanna d'Arco Giovanna
La traviata Violetta Valéry
Rigoletto Gilda
Wagner R. Parsifal Flowermaiden



  1. ^ "Jessica Pratt interviewed by Diana Ritch", library record at Trove
  2. ^ "Verona ritrova la Pratt Un timbro dolcissimo per la sventurata Gilda", L'Arena, 5 July 2017 (in Italian)
  3. ^ a b Winner of the 2003 competition on
  4. ^ Rocca, Jane (30 June 2018). "Jessica Pratt: What I know about men". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  5. ^ Bonelli, Valentina, "Melodrama queen: Queen of the belcanto, the Australian singer Jessica Pratt bewitched Italian fans with her passionate opera heroines", Vogue Italia (in English), February 2013, p. 144
  6. ^ McDowall, Carolyn. "Jessica Pratt, Promise Rewarded – Australian Singers Abroad". The Culture Concept Circle. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f listing of Pratt's schedule from October 2007 to April 2015 archived from, January 5th, 2014
  8. ^ a b "Gaetano Donizetti: Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali [Viva la mamma]" Recording of the opera on Harmonia Mundi
  9. ^ La Fenice's announcement of the TV broadcast Archived 4 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine (In Italian)
  10. ^ Presentation of the 2013 Award on Retrieved 4 January 2013
  11. ^ "Festival website announcing the 2015 programme". Archived from the original on 5 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  12. ^ Rigoletto, Opera de Oviedo
  13. ^ La fille du régiment, Opera Las Palmas
  14. ^ La sonnambula, Victorian Opera
  15. ^ "Scenes from The Magic Flute", Los Angeles Philharmonic
  16. ^ Lucia di Lammermoor, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
  17. ^ "Arianna a Nasso". Festival Valle d'Itria. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  18. ^ Clark, Andrew, "Capriccio/Tosca, Grange Park, Hampshire; Armida, Garsington Opera, Oxfordshire", Financial Times (London), 6 June 2010
  19. ^ Farr, Robert, "Seen and Heard UK Opera Review" Garsington's Armida, 7 June 2010
  20. ^ Tommasini, Anthony, "An Ancient War Gets the Silent-Film Treatment via Opera", The New York Times, 8 July 2012.
  21. ^ a b "Adelaide Di Borgogna", on (with video excerpts from the production)

External links[edit]