Noted for her "effortlessly produced, rich voice" (Opera News), American soprano Jill Gardner is swiftly establishing herself among today's leading operatic heroines. This "powerhouse soprano" (Syracuse New Times) continues to garner national praise for her "sparkling personality" (Coral Gables Gazette), her "lustrous, golden soprano and riveting stage presence" (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle) and for "her commitment, passion and ability to convey vocally the slightest nuance of emotion, making for gripping theater" (Opera News). Equally praised for her acting as well as her singing, Opera News observed of her Boston Lyric Opera performances of 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."
For the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Gardner sings the title role of Tosca in her debut with Opera Carolina as well as Arizona Opera and Hawaii Opera Theater. She will also join the roster of the Washington National Opera, covering the title role of Manon Lescaut in the spring.
During the 2011-2012 season the soprano returned to Arizona Opera and Tri-Cities Opera in the title role of Puccini's Madama Butterfly and reprised the role of Nedda in I Pagliacci in her debut with Michigan Opera Theater as well as for the inaugural season of Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis, MN. On the concert stage, she marked her debut with the Wichita Symphony in Beethoven's Mass in C Major.
In the 2010-2011 season, Ms. Gardner made her celebrated return to Boston Lyric Opera in the title role of Tosca as well as making her company debuts with Arizona Opera in the role of Liu in Turandot, Opera Grand Rapids in her role debut of Manon in Manon Lescaut and Eugene Opera as Musetta in La Boheme. This season also marked Ms. Gardner's role debut of Leonora in Verdi's Il Trovatore with Piedmont Opera.
Over the past few seasons, the young soprano marked her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut performing Nedda in I Pagliacci and covering Mimi in La Boheme, her Florida Grand Opera debut as Musetta in La Boheme, her Boston Lyric Opera debut as Mimi in La Boheme, her Madison Opera debut as Marguerite in Faust, as well as performing Countess Charlotte Malcolm in Sondheim's A Little Night Music in her debut with Hawaii Opera Theater where she returned in the following season as Helmwige in Die Walkure. In concert, she made her Kennedy Center Debut with the Washington Chorus, under the baton of Julian Wachner, in a concert called The Essential Puccini, performed Beethoven's 9th Symphony and Vaughan William's Serenade to Music with the Syracuse Symphony, Brahms' Requiem with the Binghamton Philharmonic and Verdi's Requiem with the Tower Arts Series of Dallas' Highland Park United Methodist Church under the baton of Craig Jessop.
Additional engagements from recent seasons include a return to the Glimmerglass Opera as Eurydice in a new production of Orpheus in the Underworld, Margaret Johnson in the first opera house performances in The Light in the Piazza with Piedmont Opera, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow with the Syracuse Opera, the title role in Susannah with New York Opera Projects, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Mimi in La Boheme as well as the title role in Puccini's Tosca with the Mercury Opera Rochester, and multiple performances with the Tri-Cities Opera including Violetta in La Traviata and Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro. Ms. Gardner also performed the role of Madama Erlecca in Cimarosa's Li Sposi per Accidenti at Studio Lirico in Cortona, Italy.
In the summers of 2005 and 2006, Ms. Gardner was a member of the prestigious Young American Artist Program at the Glimmerglass Opera. During this tenure, she created the role of Madame Loiseau in the world premiere of Stephen Hartke's The Greater Good, which was recorded on the Naxos Label. Also at the Glimmerglass Opera, Ms. Gardner added two new roles to her repertoire in cover assignments: Elle in Poulenc's La Voix Humaine and the title role of Jenufa.
She has been the recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant of the Shoshana Foundation-NYC, a Special Opportunity Award from the New York Foundation of the Arts, an Emerging Artist Grant from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Division of the North Carolina Arts Council and participated in a Public Masterclass on Puccini Style for the George London Foundation with Catherine Malfitano. She received a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Centenary College of Louisiana.
Opera Carolina Performances:
Art to Poetry to Music (2013–2014)
Il Trittico (2013–2014)