"...she is inevitably upstaged by the soprano glamour of Shelley Jackson's Mary Crawford."
George Hall, The Stage
"Shelley Jackson's big, forceful soprano was the perfect conduit for Mary Crawford's self-confidence and thrill-seeking..."
Claire Seymour, Opera Today
"Shelley Jackson as Micaëla sings 'Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante' exquisitely"
Sam Smith, MusicOMH
"Jackson's voice sparkled with a diamond-like brilliance in 'Quando m'en vo'"
Rick Perdian, Seen and Heard International
Winner of the second prize at the 2017 Maria Callas International Grand Prix, American soprano Shelley Jackson is quickly establishing herself as a rising star on the international opera stage. This season, roles include her debuts in the title role in Manon and Donna Anna Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Landestheater, the title role in Anna Bolena for Opéra de Lausanne and in a revival at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, and Tatyana Eugene Onegin in her debut at the Buxton International Festival. Next season, Shelley will make her role and house debut singing the title role in Tosca at Malmö Opera.
Last season, highlights included Anna Bolena in Karlsruhe – her German house debut – as well as a return to the Grange Festival as Mary Crawford in the premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, the role of Mimì La bohème at Dorset Opera, and a concert of verismo arias and duets with the Hamilton Philharmonic in Canada.
Other recent roles include her house debut as Mimì La bohème at the Salzburg Landestheater conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, her house debut at the Teatro Massimo, Palermo as Micaëla in Calixto Bieito’s production of Carmen, and her UK debut, also singing Micaëla, as part of the the inaugural season at the Grange Festival. She also returned to Santa Fe Opera as the Italian Singer in Capriccio, directed by Tim Albery, and to cover the role of Juliette in Roméo et Juliette.
Shelley is a recent graduate of the International Opera Studio at the Opernhaus Zürich, where she made role debuts as Musetta in a new production of La bohème and Micaëla in Carmen. She holds an undergraduate degree from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Vocal Performance, a Masters in Opera from the Temple University Boyer College of Music, and a performance certificate from the Academy of Vocal Arts. In addition, she spent two years of vocal study and role preparation with Mirella Freni at Centro Universale di Bel Canto (CUBEC) in Modena, Italy.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
Donizetti Anna Bolena (title)
Opéra de Lausanne (February 2019)
The opera was dominated by the superb Anna of Shelley Jackson, who was replacing Maria Grazia Schiavo at short notice. The American soprano had made a strong impression in the role in Karlsruhe last year and she again proved memorable: her voice was rich and rounded across its range and her breath control, coloratura and phrasing were exemplary. Her dazzling vocal performance was matched by powerful acting, and there were moments where she resembled a dark-haired Princess Diana. A high point of the evening was her scene with the excellent Giovanna of Ketevan Kemoklidze.
Nicolas Blanmont, Opera Magazine
A diva is born at the Lausanne Opera… Replacing the title role of Donizetti's Anna Bolena, soprano Shelley Jackson has all the makings of a great bel canto singer… A timbre of velvet, irreproachable high notes, ductile virtuosity, expressive phrasing, and equally a touching and captivating presence: the American soprano Shelley Jackson, laureate in 2017 of the 40th International Maria Callas Grand Prix, to the greatest delight of the public who attended the premiere of Anna Bolena on Sunday at Lausanne Opera, spread the wings of a unique talent - a talent all the more remarkable as the bel canto score composed in 1830 by Gaetano Donizetti, with a libretto by Felice Romani, and devoted to the first part of a historical trilogy on the royal house of the Tudors, is just as formidable vocally as it is orchestrally sumptuous.
Marie Alix Pleines, Le Courrier
The cast does justice to this shimmering bel canto that already prefigures Verdi. Shelley Jackson's powerful voice gains in elasticity and seduction along the way to give Anna's destiny a heartbreaking dignity.
Matthieu Chenal, Tribune de Genéve
Anna Bolena was Shelley Jackson, whose soprano is supported by a great middle register, velvety and burnished, which explodes in fireworks of brilliant, powerful high notes. The volume of her voice was impressive and exciting, with a remarkable range of dynamics… Her acting was remarkable; she managed to express all the different facets of Anna’s personality: the humiliated queen, the abused, terrified wife, the tender lover, the magnanimous ruler who forgives her rival Jane Seymour.
Laura Servidei, Bachtrack
American soprano Shelley Jackson hardly wavered in the final scene – even though she had already sung for two hours, she was propelled by a fire that intensified over the course of the performance… The bottom of the voice may be a bit guttural, but she is a singer with a large range and roundness of ideal timbre, without any artificiality in the role.
Julian Sykes, Le Temps
…the American soprano Shelley Jackson is a very beautiful discovery in the title role, which she has already performed at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. She has a confident, unwavering voice over her entire range, with serious drama, a broad and stable middle, and a timbre bursting with harmonics that is reminiscent of some of her illustrious predecessors, with Leyla Gence coming to mind... And if the treble is sometimes a bit short (but nevertheless fair and powerful), the vocalisation is really precise with varied colouring. In this respect, the extraordinary final scene - one of the highest points of all the musical romance - is particularly successful, with an elegant and moving ‘Al dolce guidami’, and an equally impressive ‘Coppia iniqua’.
Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online
Her timbre first reveals a stony color that becomes much clearer after the first tableau; the well-mastered breathing technique allows her to support the long vocalized 'passaggi' and the 'coloratura drammatica' of the ultimate cabaletta 'Coppia iniqua'. Her character has a real theatrical dimension, demonstrated by the noble restraint which lends itself to a finale where her expression gives rise to palpable emotion.
Paul-André Demierre, Crescendo Magazine
Replacing the singer originally planned in the title role at a moment's notice, Shelley Jackson has the haughty bearing and noble look that suits her character. The American soprano embodies a perfectly credible sovereign, draped in her dignity, which ends up being absolutely overwhelming in the final scene, before climbing onto the scaffold.
Claudio Poloni, ConcertoNet.com
… the introduction reveals a powerful Anna in Shelley Jackson, capable of sparkling ornaments at the first cabalette. In the delirious musical atmosphere around the title role, the young North American gets the lion's share.
Beautiful, dignified gesture, the American soprano portrays the famous portrait of the sovereign… As injustice unfolds around the imprudent queen, Shelley Jackson's voice illuminates, reaching authority and light in the final scenes, where the guttural medium and gravitas of the first act gives way to the most ethereal ecstasy.
Massenet Manon (title)
Salzburger Landestheater (October 2018)
At the beginning she plays a young girl who is curious and full of the zest for life, in whose suitcase the customs officers already find a suspicious white sack. In the wondrous farewell to her sweetheart and the little table she can be touching, as a dazzling salon lady of the drug scene she shines with coloratura, in the church she becomes a glistening seductress. Above all, she possesses a captivating, indeed enthralling soprano voice, that sounds fantastic in all situations, with which she can portray poetic introspection just as well as dramatic despair. That this joins to a perfect vocal technique, should lead to a great career.
Gottfried Franz Kasparek, Der Neue Merkur
Responsible for this was above all the young US-American Shelley Jackson, a soprano who was discovered last season not only in her role debut as "Bohème" Mimi, but also at the Badisches Staatstheater with the title role of Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" she celebrated a successful German debut. As Manon, she conveyed the impression of a singer gifted with extraordinary vocal resources, who offers stage presence alongside an expressive performance with intense acting. A rich tone, solid technique and tremendous sensibility all allowed the significant shadings and valid intentions of Massenet's Manon to be brought out. She reaches her limit only in the Cours-la-Reine picture, which lies better for bravura coloratura sopranos. Skillfully, she traversed the high D in the conclusion of "Je marche sur tous les chemins", wisely avoiding the optional variant with the high E in advance. But in return "Voyons, Manon” rich with colors and "Adieu, notre petite table" with subtle tone quality become all the better, and even in extreme scaling back of the voice the sound and pronunciation are always clear. Like most of the singers trained in the United States, she threw herself fully into the role with acting and facial expressions.
W. Kutzschbach, Das Opernglas
Shelley Jackson vocally fulfils the requirements for the title role … Since her national theatre debut as Mimì a year and a half ago, the voice of the US soprano has once again evolved. Moving between a silvery piano and powerful top notes, she sets the coloratura unerringly. Her warm timbre allows her voice to flow rich in nuances.
Florian Oberhummer, Salzburger Nachrichten
American Shelley Jackson is vocally convincing in the title role in Salzburg.
Peter Jungblut, BR Klassik
Vocally, Shelley Jackson’s Manon has earned herself laurels. With her vivid, clear soprano she revives the core structure of the music. Her strongest moments are in her emotion in the delicately sung "Je ne suis que faiblesse ... Adieu, notre petite table". In the scene of seduction, "N'est - ce plus ma main", when she succumbs to Des Grieux again, her voice elicits impressive colour and detail.
Elisabeth Aumiller, Dreh Punkt Kultur
Puccini La bohème (Mimì)
Dorset Opera Festival
Shelley Jackson’s Mimi, Paul Putnins’ Colline and Ross Ramgobin’s Schaunard were especially notable.
George Hall, Opera Now
Shelley Jackson was a captivating Mimì, a delicate and charming presence which became deeply moving in the third act. Vocally, she showed well-integrated registers with a beguilingly full lower voice and secure top notes. It’s a nicely sized voice, but there’s a flair for nimble pianissimo which was sensibly deployed.
Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack
Leading the cast is Shelley Jackson, whose refulgent soprano imprints Mimi on the audience’s collective memory.
George Hall, The Stage****
Donizetti Anna Bolena (title)
Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, June 2018
The encounter with Shelley Jackson proved to be something of a revelation. In the bravura role [of Anna Bolena] the young American soprano, making her German debut, gave a superbly exciting performance. With brilliantly immaculate coloratura, pinpoint articulation in the passagework and fluid, perfectly even runs she proved herself a bel canto virtuoso who could also captivate with expressive tone. What is more, her musicianship is exceptionally refined, with phrasing, dynamic shading, featherlight soft singing and a range of nuance that marked her out as a singing tragedienne of a high order. She was just as convincing in Anna Bolena’s melancholy lyricism as in her desperate outbursts and, in the second act, her heroic expression of hurt pride.
Gabor Halasz, Die Rheinpfalz Pfälzer Tageblatt
In the B premiere, Shelley introduced herself as a title heroine who fulfilled all the highest hopes, and not just because vocally and visually she is reminiscent of Kathleen Cassello, unforgotten in Karlsruhe. An engaged artist with a very good technique and moreover a voice of a volume to make her the ideal partner for Ewa Plonka, who repeated her acclaimed Giovanna from the A premiere.
Badische Neueste Nachrichten
Shelley Jackson imposes herself by her stage presence in Anna, which she inhabits with elegance, queenly bearing, and radiant dignity. While in worried tremors, overflowing furor or ravaging torment, the soprano comes out well of the difficulties of the role with a lot of expressiveness.
Catherine Jordy, Forum Opéra
Dove Mansfield Park (Mary Crawford)
The Grange Festival, September 2017
Among a cast of mostly young singers I would single out Martha Jones's Fanny, Henry Neill's Edmund, and Shelley Jackson's Mary Crawford.
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph
...she is inevitably upstaged by the soprano glamour of Shelley Jackson's Mary Crawford.
George Hall, The Stage
In the role of her captivating, disruptive soprano rival, Mary Crawford, Shelley Jackson seemed too sweet-natured, but the galvanising gleam on her tone was worthy of a prima donna.
Yehuda Shapiro, Opera Magazine
Shelley Jackson's big, forceful soprano was the perfect conduit for Mary Crawford's self-confidence and thrill-seeking...
Claire Seymour, Opera Today
Shelley Jackson's big, shining soprano meant that Mary Crawford swept all before her...
Peter Reed, Classical Source
Bizet Carmen (Micaëla)
The Grange Festival, June 2017
Dressed like a Madonna in soft blue, Shelley Jackson sings with moving tenderness as she woos Don José.
Rebecca Franks, The Times
Shelley Jackson is indeed a force to be reckoned with in this role, with a big, juicy lyric soprano that conveys wholesomeness and sensuality at the same time. She's feisty enough to pull a blade on the cat-calling soldiers when she first appears.
Katherine Cooper, Bachtrack
Shelley Jackson as Micaëla sings 'Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante' exquisitely.
Sam Smith, MusicOMH
Puccini La bohème (Mimi)
Salzburg Landestheater, February 2017
The ensemble is of high quality: Shelley Jackson's Mimì is sensitive, nuanced, and touching.
Helmut Christian Mayer, Kurier
...above all Shelley Jackson, gifted with a profound dramatic sense, as Mimì...
Rita Argauer, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Shelley Jackson beautifully produced very fine lines and deep-drawn feelings.
Hans Langwallner, Kronen Zeitung
For the company tour in its own city the house had excellent forces... Shelley Jackson (Mimì) with her distinctive dark, easily appealing soprano is more lyrical.
Markus Thiel, Der Neue Merkur
Santa Fe Opera, August 2016
Soprano Shelley Jackson and tenor Galeano Salas are wonderfully wacky as the pair ... Jackson hits the spirits while Salas inhales the cake.
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones
Shelley Jackson and apprentice Galeano Salas exude charm and petulance as the Italian singers.
John Stage, Santa Fe Reporter
Galeano Salas and Shelly Jackson made notable contributions as the Italian Singers.
James Sohre, Opera Today
Puccini La Bohème (Mimi)
Opernhaus Zürich, November 2015
Shelley Jackson's conniving Musetta was entirely lovable for her distinctive ‘chutzpah’ and her convincing acting skills – as seductress, wily operator, and finally, compassionate friend to the consumptive Mimì.
Sarah Batschelet, Bachtrack
Jackson's voice sparkled with a diamond like brilliance in Quando m'en vo'. In Act IV, as she tells of Mimi's collapse and later offers a prayer, her singing brought a tear to the eye.
Rick Perdian, Seen and Heard International
...the young American Shelley Jackson had a strong appearance, equally believable both as the fun-loving showgirl and in prayer as Musetta.
Susanne Kübler, Tages Anzeiger/ Der Bund
Christian Jost Rote Lanterne (Song-Lian)
Opernhaus Zürich, March 2015
The soprano Shelley Jackson from the International Opera Studio sings Song-Lian, clear, bright and brilliant ... Her voice shines like the bulb in a flashlight searching through the drama’s overwhelming darkness.
Tom Hellat, Tages- Anzeiger
the young American Shelley Jackson offers a balance of exciting sureness and incredible force.
Éric Pousaz, Opéra Magazine
Shelley Jackson grew throughout in an impressive manner: a sizable soprano of the utmost radiance.
Heinz W. Koch, Badische Zeitung/ Opernwelt
Shelley Jackson Concert Repertoire
Les nuits d’été
Songs of the Auvergne
Petite Messe Solonelle
Shelley Jackson Opera Repertoire
Anna Bolena (Title role)
Susannah (Title role)
I pagliacci (Nedda)
La bohème (Mimì / Musetta)
Manon (Title role)
Eugene Onegin (Tatyana)
La traviata (Violetta)