Artist of the Week: Jessica Pratt

Australian Soprano Brings Strauss’ ‘Arianna a Nasso’ to Martina Franca

By Francisco Salazar

With festival season in full swing in Europe and experimentation a key to this year’s programs, the Festival Valle di Itria in Martina Franca is scheduled to open a new production of the Italian version of Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos.” The production will be headed by an all-star cast that includes the world-renown coloratura soprano, Jessica Pratt.

Pratt will make her role debut as Zerbinetta marking her second Strauss role. The soprano previously performed “Ich schwebe” in German in Toulouse. While the 1912 Italian version of “Ariadne” is not the one audiences recognize, it will give Pratt the chance to demonstrate her coloratura expertise and her gleaming high notes. In this version, Zerbinetta’s aria is a tone higher and has an extended cadenza. Additionally, the role has more music than the German version.

Pratt’s role debut will also mark the soprano’s return to the Festival after having performed Verdi’s rarely performed “Giovanna d’Arco” to great acclaim.

Pratt is best known for her portrayal of Lucia di Lammermoor, which she has sung over 100 times around the world. Critics have raved about her interpretation stating, she is “A Revelation as Donizetti’s Tragic Heroine.” She is also known for her Rossini and Bellini heroines and has performed a wide variety of well known and rarely performed operas.

The Australian soprano has performed at some of the greatest opera companies in the world including the Metropolitan Opera, the Teatro alla Scala, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Donizetti Opera Festival, and the Teatro Real de Madrid.

For those not able to attend performances of “Arianna a Nasso,” the soprano will also be performing in recital at the Rossini Opera Festival this summer.


For those not familiar with the soprano’s artistry, Pratt has a number of recordings including “La Sonnambula” from the Teatro La Fenice, “Il Castello di Kenilworth” and “Rosmunda d’Inghilterra” from the Donizetti Opera Festival, “Giovanna d’Arco” from the Festival Valle d’Itria.

Here is a look at Pratt performing “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

Here she is performing “Semiramide.”

And here is a look at the soprano in “Il Castello di Kenilworth.”


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