One of America’s finest singing actresses, soprano Amy Johnson continues to expand her activities beyond the scope of her acclaimed stage and concert career. As a performer, she exhibits a unique combination of versatility, stage magnetism and striking physical beauty, able to portray youth yet having ample vocal brilliance and power to soar over the largest orchestra. The aforementioned versatility can be affirmed by a glance at her extraordinary repertoire - the title role in Salome, Giorgetta in Il Tabarro, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Fiordiligi in Cosí Fan Tutte, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Mimi in La bohème, the title role in Aïda, Leonora in Il Trovatore, the title role in Madama Butterfly, Marguerite in Faust, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Liù in Turandot, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Nedda in I Pagliacci, Desdemona in Otello and Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana. She has performed these roles throughout the world in such companies as Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, New York City Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Portland Opera, Toledo Opera, Orlando Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Tampa, Knoxville Opera, Bardavon Opera, Pamiro Opera and Piedmont Opera. Ms. Johnson has earned special praise for her portrayal of the title role in Puccini’s Tosca, which she has performed with Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera (also broadcast on PBS' Live from Lincoln Center), Palm Beach Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Indianapolis Opera, Spier Festival in South Africa, Arizona Opera, Nashville Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Greensboro Opera, El Paso Opera, Kentucky Symphony, Rockford Symphony and Opera Tampa.
Ms. Johnson first received international recognition when composer Thea Musgrave personally chose her to create the role of Manuela in the world premiere of Simón Bolívar for Virginia Opera, which Ms. Johnson subsequently reprised in London (BBC Proms Concerts at Royal Albert Hall) and in Glasgow and Edinburgh (Scottish BBC). She also sang the world premiere of Ms. Musgrave’s Three Women with the Women’s Philharmonic of San Francisco. Ms. Johnson made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 singing the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in a benefit for the South Asia earthquake victims alongside instrumentalists from the New York Philharmonic and other major orchestras. Other orchestral engagements include the Long Island Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Waterbury Symphony, Glacier Symphony, Riverside Symphonia, Rockford Symphony and Kentucky Symphony, with Ms. Johnson performing not only complete operas and operatic excerpts but also challenging concert repertoire, most notably the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss. In operatic, concert and recital appearances, Ms. Johnson has been fortunate to collaborate with many of the world’s finest conductors, directors and accompanists, notably the late Silvio Varviso, Anton Coppola, Joseph Rescigno, George Manahan, Paul Wynne Griffiths, Steven Mercurio, James Caraher, Steven White, Raymond Harvey, Peter Mark, Paul Nadler, Valery Ryvkin, Louis Salemno, Stewart Robertson, Bruno Aprea, Emmanuel Plasson, Stephen Lord, Norman Johnson, Willie Anthony Waters, Mark Flint, Thomas Conlin, Randall Craig Fleischer, Alfred Savia, Steven Larsen, David Wiley, Robert Lyall, Apo Zhu, Joshua Greene, Hugh Keelan, Kamal Khan, Jerad Mosbey, David Rebhun, Mark Lamos, Fabrizio Melano, Robert Carsen, Marthinus Basson, Marc Verzatt, Vernon Hartman, Kay Walker Castaldo, Bodo Igesz, Mario Corradi, Linda Brovsky, John Hoomes, James Marvel, Sonja Frisell, Harold Prince, Lillian Garrett Groag, Michael Ehrman, Joshua Major, David Morelock, Tomer Zvulun, Lillian Garrett Groag, Claudia Zahn, Bliss Hebert, John Copley and Arvin Brown.
Ever expanding her artistic and vocal horizons, Ms. Johnson (in collaboration with Impresario Productions and Video Ideas Productions) recently created a new, cutting-edge and experimental idea – Twisted Sisters (www.twistedsistersmadscenes.com). In a fully staged evening of operatic “mad scenes” performed with orchestra, incorporating interactive projected film images, the artist again exhibits her singular versatility in excerpts from Lucia di Lammermoor, Mefistofele and Salome. The project premiered this past January to critical acclaim in performances with Kentucky Symphony, J. R. Cassidy conducting.
Ms. Johnson’s busy schedule the past two seasons included Bernstein’s Sumphony No. 3 (Kaddish) for the Winston-Salem Symphony (alongside narrator Jamie Bernstein), the title role in Salome with Toledo Opera and Cedar Rapids Opera (telecast on Iowa Public Television), an opera gala with the Cheyenne Symphony, a series of recitals (Five Languages of Love), and her first full Wagnerian role (Freia in Das Rheingold) in a co-production of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Indianapolis Opera under the baton of Mario Venzago. She also recorded her first solo CD, Amy Johnson in Red, White and Blue, featuring a remarkable cornucopia of operatic selections in seven languages, with the MAV Symphony Orchestra in Budapest conducted by Steven Mercurio. The CD is scheduled for worldwide release by Hungaroton in 2010.
Her recent achievements away from the stage are natural outgrowths of her profile as a singer. Ms. Johnson is co-principal of Impresario Productions, LLC, a production company specializing in innovative, cost-effective ways of producing operas, concerts, galas and fundraisers, not only for existing opera companies but also for symphony orchestras, presenter houses, schools and other arts organizations. (www.impresarioproductions.com). Ms. Johnson, also a much sought-after voice teacher, works with aspiring professionals who travel from all over the country for study. Based on these diverse accomplishments, Ms. Johnson was appointed in 2008 as Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Ms. Johnson was born in Chariton, Iowa and later moved to Elgin, Illinois. She is a graduate of Grinnell College and holds a Masters degree from Manhattan School of Music. She is a past winner of the Bel Canto National competition, and Baltimore Opera Competition, and a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.