Jessica Walker is represented by Rayfield Allied worldwide.
Assistant Artist Manager:
...a pure, bright mezzo-soprano of such melting beauty I think I could listen to it foreverCharles Isherwood, The New York Times
Jessica Walker studied at the Guildhall School of Music and has made appearances for Opera North, Flanders Opera, The Opera Group, Ravenna Festival, Glyndebourne, National Reisopera, Opera Up Close and Finnish National Opera in roles including Nerone L’incoronazione di Poppea, Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro and Gloria One Touch of Venus (Kurt Weill).
In 2010 she co-created her solo show The Girl I Left Behind Me with director Neil Bartlett. Commissioned and premiered at Opera North the show has had considerable critical and commercial success at venues throughout the UK, including a week-long residency at the Barbican’s Pit Theatre in 2011. Other venues it has visited include the Brighton Festival, Sage Gateshead, Buxton Festival, Purcell Room and at the Aldeburgh Festival. It was published as a play script by Oberon Press in November 2011. The show continues to tour, with future performances including the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and at The Lowry in Salford, as well as a residency at the Brits Off Broadway Festival in New York.
Other regular concert programmes include A Quiet Girl, Songs of Love and other Disasters based on the music of Kurt Weill and his contemporaries (released on Avid), Mercy and Grand: The Tom Waits Project with Opera North, which toured the UK (released on the Gavin Bryars label), and cabaret programmes Recession Songs and Songs from the Left Bank with accompanist Jim Holmes.
Her solo piece, Pat Kirkwood is Angry, had performances at the Manchester Royal Exchange and the Howard Assembly Room, Opera North. In 2013 she made her debut at Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, in Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George.
Current engagements include the role of Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest by Gerald Barry for NI Opera and H.K Gruber’s Gloria von Jaxtberg for The Opera Group.
The Importance of Being Earnest
NI Opera (October 2013)
The individual performances are faultlessly precise. Aoife Miskelly as Cecily and Jessica Walker as Gwendoline hurl themselves around the stage with selfless enthusiasm.Andrew Clements, The Guardian *****
An Eye for an Eye
Bath International Music Festival (May 2013)
What they have created is a charming musical nugget, a small, but perfectly formed treat, a delicious cupcake of a production. The two woman cast of Jessica Walker and Harriet Williams, both consummate vocalists and actresses, had to play the parts of the two maids as well as their two murder victims, exchanging personalities at will. It was evident that both women took much delight in playing out their roles – and they sang and danced, harmonised and soloed marvelously – and for such a dark subject matter, delightfully.Laura Dunlap, Listomania Bath
The Girl I Left Behind Me
59E59 Theaters, New York (May 2013)
Ms. Walker herself is certainly a bewitching performer… a pure, bright soprano of such melting beauty I think I could listen to it forever.Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
Walker, a gifted chanteuse.The New Yorker
Possessing a warm and inviting aura as well as talents and abilities as both singer and performer that are indisputable, Ms. Walker is a pleasure.Stage and Cinema
Mercy and Grand: The Tom Waits Project
Spitalfields Music Winter Festival
Walker makes no attempt to replicate Waits's own famously gravelly delivery. She sings, however, with terrific passion, gliding with ease from the sardonic "Little Drop of Poison" to the knowing bitterness of Weill's "Ballad of Sexual Dependency", and doing heartbreaking things with "Whistle Down the Wind" and "Georgia Lee".Tim Ashley, The Guardian
Originally presented by Opera North, this unlikely but gripping project merits the wider audience that this live recording will bring. Gavin Bryars and his team take the songs of Tom Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan, and present them incongruously but superbly sung by the pure-voiced English mezzo Jess Walker, accompanied by a wheezy circus-style band that features harmonium, accordion, musical saw and trumpet=violin. Some Kurt Weill/ Bertolt Brecht ditties and Gypsy dances make perfect complements.Richard Morrison, The Times
Waits was present merely in spirit, however, and his gravelly seafarer’s bark was replaced in Shoreditch Church by Jessica Walker’s agile and dramatic mezzo-soprano…Walker extracted some rich lyrical colouring from Waits’s sea-shantyish "Whistle Down The Wind"…"Pony", for instance, was a slow country ballad coloured with slide guitar and backwoods fiddle, with Walker squeezing soulfulness from the plaintive lyric.Adam Sweeting, The Telegraph
Walker may be primarily an opera singer, but her cabaret instinct is wonderfully sure: she took command of the proceedings from the moment she sauntered up the aisle, and held us riveted from the outset with ‘Little Drop of Poison’. Her warm clean sound may be a million miles from Waits’s growl, but she evoked wintry pathos with ‘Alice’ and ‘Whistle Down the Wind’ just as effectively; Weill’s ‘The Ballad of Sexual Dependency’ never sounded more bleak.Michael Church, The Independent
- An Eye for an Eye
- Written with composer David Knotts, An Eye for an Eye takes the true story of the two maids who committed one of the most shocking crimes in French history, and transforms it into a riotous and gruesome cabaret opera. To the accompaniment of a French café band, two singers share the four roles of the mistresses and their servants in a virtuosic tour-de-force.
- Pat Kirkwood is Angry
- Originally premiered at the Royal Exchange Manchester, Jessica Walker brings to the stage the often turbulent life and beautiful songs of Pat Kirkwood, in a funny and heart-breaking show. Named Britain’s first wartime star in 1939, and with many illustrious credits, including songs written for her by Noël Coward and Cole Porter, Kirkwood is now mostly remembered for the scandal surrounding an alleged affair with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, the repercussions of which were to haunt her for the rest of her life.
- The Girl I Left Behind Me
- A cool and contemporary look at one of the most intriguing aspects of musical theatre – just what is it that makes a woman in trousers so appealing? Accompanied by a piano, mezzo-soprano Jessica Walker dons a few well-chosen items of male attire, giving a supremely well-sung performance that conjures up an entire world, from the swaggering cross-dressers of the Victorian Music Hall to the ambiguous boy-heroes of Mozart and Strauss. Provocative, flirtatious and personal, this one woman-guide deliciously recalls a forgotten chapter of female performance. The Girl I Left Behind Me has been seen through the UK since it was first premiered and has had a three week run in New York at the Brits Off Broadway festival.
- Songs from the Left Bank
- First performed at the Howard Assembly Room, Opera North in January 2010, this programme is a sometimes funny, often poignant look at young love, old love, and lost love from the streets of Paris and features the music of Jacques Brel and Georges Brassens. Jessica Walker and Jim Holmes have developed a highly successful partnership, one of the trademarks of which is to take well-known songs and pair them with rarities. Always in new arrangements, piano and voice, together with Jessica’s powerful performing style, conjure up an evening of intense theatre, as well as sublime music – making.
- Recession Songs
- Recession Songs is a darkly hilarious look at hard times, from the worldwide depression of the late 1920’s, through to the economic and social gloom of today. The songs of Eisler and Weill sit cheek by jowl with Noel Coward, Rogers and Hart and some contemporary British and American rarities.
- Mercy and Grand: The Tom Waits Project
- Mercy and Grand brings together 10 songs by Tom Waits, a handful of numbers by Kurt Weill, a sea shanty, a hymn, a couple of instrumental gypsy tangos and a classic Fellini film score, all played by an extraordinarily versatile ‘circus band’ ensemble.
- With mezzo-soprano Jessica Walker at the centre, Waits’ and Brennan’s songs of love, heartbreak and intoxication are revealed in all their strange beauty.