“I love to sing as if it were the first and the last time.”
2017 was the year of Madama Butterfly for Ermonela Jaho who sang the title role of Puccini’s opera a total of 26 times. Her performances in London, Washington, Madrid, Peralada and Paris were showered with praise from both critics and audiences with The Independent describing her as “the best Madama Butterfly London has seen in years” and the Washington Post as “a true singing actress, conveying emotion and character through her voice, so that Butterfly’s familiar plight became freshly heart-breaking.” In February and March 2018, Jaho, who is based in New York, will bring her Butterfly to the Metropolitan Opera where she made her debut as Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata.
Violetta is also one of opera’s tragic heroines that Ermonela Jaho has become most closely associated with and is the role with which she made her debuts at Opera Australia in February and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires in September. As The Daily Telegraph in Australia commented, “Hardly anyone had heard of Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho when she replaced a sick diva at short notice in a Covent Garden production of ‘La traviata’ just over eight years ago. Now she’s unstoppable phenomenon, a diminutive powerhouse of vocal strength, nuanced expression and an unmatched delicacy of control.”
Completing the trio of Jaho’s signature roles is Puccini’s Suor Angelica (Il trittico) which she sings for the first time at the Bayerische Staatsoper this Sunday 17 December and returns again to Munich for in July 2018. Conducted by the Staatsoper’s General Music Director, Kirill Petrenko, Lotte de Beer’s new production was conceived with Jaho in mind. At the 2016 International Opera Awards, her Covent Garden performances as Sister Angelica were recognised with the presentation of the Readers Award.
In addition to her portrayals of opera’s most famous Italian heroines composed by Bellini, Donizetti, Leoncavallo, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi, Ermonela Jaho’s broad and diverse repertoire spans Auber, Bizet, Chabrier, Gounod, Handel, Massenet, Milhaud, Mozart, Offenbach, Poulenc, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Johann Strauss, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. Having made her role debut as Antonia in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Opéra national de Paris in November 2016, she returns to the part in June 2018 when she makes her debut at Dutch National Opera. A further focus in 2018 is Massenet’s Thaïs in which Ermonela Jaho will sing the title role in Beijing for the Chinese première of the work in February, and in Spain where she is a household favourite at the Teatro Real in Madrid and Festival Castell de Peralada in July. For all three productions, Ermonela Jaho sings opposite the Athanaël of Plácido Domingo whose Gala Concerts in Oman and Los Angeles Opera she appeared as a special guest earlier this year.