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Noted for her “prodigious energy and clarity” American soprano Jessica Niles is quickly making a name for herself internationally in the creation of new opera productions. Lauded for her unconditional powerful playing as a vocal emotional force, Niles is an alum of The Juilliard School where she trained in Anne Bogart’s method of Physical Viewpoints, a technique that acts as a medium for thinking about and acting upon movement, gesture, and creative space.
Opening the 2023-2024 season at La Monnaie / De Munt, Niles crafted and premiered the role of Sandra under the direction of Marie-eve Signeyrole in Bernard Foccroulle’s Cassandra, delivering “a remarkable performance as Sandra, a touching and courageous figure to whom the soprano brings conviction, freshness, and profundity”(ConcertoNet). She was featured in the Internationale Händel-Festspiele 2021 reprising the sorceress Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo, a role which brought her much acclaim; 2021 also marked the return of international performances of Handel’s Aminta e Fillide with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, bringing her semi-staged portrayal of Aminta to the 40th annual Festival Dans les Jardins de William Christie, The Queen’s Theatre at The Royal Palace of Versailles, the Musée des Impressionnismes, Festival Castell de Peralada, and multiple venues across New York City.
A member of the Bayerische Staatsoper Opernstudio from 2021-2023, Niles performed roles ranging from contemporary to baroque including Iris in Claus Guth’s new production of Handel’s Semele where she “provided much of the show’s levity, through musical delivery and physical comedy” (New York Times), Sandrina in the new production of Haydn’s L’infedeltà delusa where she was hailed as the “highlight of the evening” (OperaOnline, ConcertoNet), Schwester Jasmin in the new production of Georg Friedrich Haas’ Thomas, Echo in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Clorinda in Rossini’s la Cenerentola, and una Voce dal Cielo in Verdi’s Don Carlo.
This season, Niles returns to the Staatsoper reprising Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Bayerische Staatsoper at the 2024 Hong Kong Arts Festival, making her role debuts of Marzelline in Calixto Bieito’s production of Beethoven’s Fidelio and der junger Hirt in Wagner’s Tannhäuser, and reprising Clorinda in la Cenerentola with an all-star cast including Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee, and colleague and friend Emily Sierra.
In recent concert repertoire, Niles has performed and recorded CDs with the Bayerische Rundfunk (Mendelssohn’s Elias) and the Münchener Kammerorchester (chamber pieces for soprano, timpani, percussion, and string orchestra by Gloria Coates); having performed Bach’s Matthäus-Passion last year with the Armenian National Philharmonic, she returns again this season for Bach’s Johannes-Passion. Currently, Niles performs the role of Musetta in a new production of La Bohéme by director Juana Inés Cano Restrepo.