Acting for Singers
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American mezzo-soprano Janine Hawley has achieved accolades for her critically-acclaimed performances of roles ranging from Carmen to Cherubino in opera houses throughout the United States. Hawley has distinguished herself in several productions of Carmen, where Opera News noted that "she placed her stamp on Bizet's Gypsy at her first entrance, a tough provocative Carmen providing the sensual centerpiece for the evening, negotiating all the arias with lithe grace, her portrayal gaining in tragic stature as the opera reached its climax." She has worked with the Washington Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, New Orleans Opera, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Boston Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera, Connecticut Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Sacramento Opera, Chautauqua Opera, among others. Other favorite roles performed have been Komponiste in Ariadne auf Naxos, Nicklausse in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Stèphano in Romèo et Juliette, Siebel in Faust, Isabella in L'Italiana in Algeri, Angelina in La Cenerentola, and Suzuki in Madame Butterfly, receiving great critiques that praise her lush quality, dark timbre, technical facility and charming stage presence.
Concert performances are an equally important aspect of Hawley's art, and conductors are drawn to her impressive musicianship, mastery of styles and sensitive interpretations. She has worked with the famed Detroit Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, and in such concert venues as Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Weill Recital Hall. Hawley made her international debut with the Jerusalem International Symphony singing Mahler’s famed “Second Symphony” in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Distinguishing herself in the repertoire of Mahler, in the last few seasons she added the “Kindertotenlieder” and “Rückert Lieder” to her symphonic work, which includes Mahler's “Third Symphony” with the Chautauqua Symphony (N.Y.) and Louisville Orchestra. The Louisville Courier-Journal stated “Hawley proved an astute interpreter, not giving too much voice too soon yet eliciting a dark, potent vocal color. In a single song, she provided a miniature dissertation of how to rip open one’s heart, filling the void with sounds of desolate, unforgettable beauty.” Other notable engagements include the New York premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti's autobiographical cantata, “Landscapes and Remembrances” in celebration of the composer's birthday with the Little Orchestra Society. Her Carnegie Hall debut was as soloist in Vivaldi's Gloria, and she returned to sing Handel’s Messiah, both with John Rutter conducting. Other recent appearances have included Elgar’s “Dream of Gerontius,” Mozart’s “C Minor Mass,” Respighi's “Laud to the Nativity” and “Il Tramonto,” Falla's “El Amor Brujo,” Handel's “Belshazzar,” Bach's “Magnificat,” the Mozart and Duruflè “Requiems,” and Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony.”
The last few seasons included returns to Chautauqua Opera as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible; Utah Opera for Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel; Mozart's “Requiem” with Chattanooga Symphony; Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte and Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with Piedmont Opera; Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” and Mahler’s “3rd Symphony” both in Hartford; a return to Chicago for the Verdi “Requiem”; and Vancouver Symphony for “Can Heaven Be Void?” by Israeli composer Ella Sheriff and Mahler’s “Kindertotenlieder.” Last season she appeared with the Peninsula Music Festival in Wisconsin in concerts of Falla and Haydn; sang Rodgers and Hammerstein with Eastern Music Festival; gave the world premiere performance of McKenzie’s “Song Cycle on the Poems of Samuel Menashe” at the American Chamber Music Festival; and debuted with the Greensboro Opera as Flora in La Traviata. Her most recent engagements include Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night's Dream with Asheville and Winston-Salem Symphonies and Mahler’s “Second Symphony” with both the Fairfax and Valdosta Symphony Orchestras.
Hawley was born in Nebraska, is a graduate of Indiana and Columbia universities and is a recipient of numerous awards including a George London grant, Diva/Parfums Ungaro Young Artist of the Year (Washington Opera/Kennedy Center) and finalist for a Sullivan Career Grant and the Center for Contemporary Opera competition. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.