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Biography

“’When I have to cry, I do cry.  For sure.  If I have to scream, I scream for real.’  Ermonela Jaho speaks of the stage as if it’s the one place where you are compelled never to deceive.  All the artifice and artistry and the technical preparations count for little, she says, without genuine emotion.”

                                                                   BBC Music Magazine, February 2017

Ermonela Jaho’s vivid interpretations and her exceptional identification with the roles she performs are highlighted in all her reviews.  During 2016-17 season, standing ovations followed her from Sydney to London where she made her Opera Australia debut as Violetta followed by her first appearance as Madama Butterfly on the stage of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  Australia’s Daily Telegraph described Jaho as “an unstoppable phenomenon” and The Independent as “the best Madama Butterfly London has seen in years.”

In demand across the world, Ermonela Jaho is particularly recognised for her portrayals of Violetta (La traviata), Madama Butterfly and Suor Angelica (Il trittico).  At the 2016 International Opera Awards, her performances as Suor Angelica at Covent Garden that same season were recognised with the presentation of the Readers Award.  In 2017-18 season, Jaho reprises the role in a new production created especially for her by Lotte de Beer at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper conducted by Kirill Petrenko.

Violetta is another role Ermonela Jaho will reprise for her debut at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires at the start of the new season.  Jaho has portrayed Verdi’s tragic heroine in more than 15 opera houses from the Metropolitan Opera in New York to London’s Covent Garden as well as in Vienna, Munich, Verona, Madrid, Stuttgart, Marseilles, Berlin, Stockholm, Hamburg, Lyon and on tour in Japan with the Royal Opera House. 

Her Madama Butterfly is equally in demand and during the 2017-18 season she will bring the role to the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris for a one off concert performance and New York’s Metropolitan Opera.  As The Guardian remarked of Jaho’s performances in London during 2016-17 season: “The whole evening is, in fact, outstanding.  Ermonela Jaho, one of the great verismo interpreters, brings uncompromising veracity to the title role, and the combination of vulnerability and torrential emotion just tears you in two.”

In addition to her portrayals of opera’s most famous Italian heroines composed by Bellini, Donizetti, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi, Ermonela Jaho’s broad and diverse repertoire spans Massenet, in whose Thaïs she performs the title role at Madrid’s Teatro Real in July 2018; Offenbach, whose Antonia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) she first sang at the Opéra national de Paris in autumn 2016 and will sing again for her Dutch National Opera debut in June 2018; as well as Auber, Bizet, Chabrier, Gounod, Handel, Milhaud, Mozart, Poulenc, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Johann Strauss, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.  Her devastating performance as Leonvallo’s Zazà released by Opera Rara has recently been nominated for a 2017 International Opera Award.    

Now based in New York, Ermonela Jaho was born in Albania and first began to take singing lessons when she was just six.  Eight years later she heard La traviata at the Tirana Opera House and determined to become an opera singer.  Singled out by Katia Ricciarelli and armed with a scholarship, Ermonela moved to Italy to study in Mantua when she was 19 and, a year later, to the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.  Over the next years, she won singing competitions in Milan, Ancona and Rovereto, and began her professional career singing with roles at Teatro Comunale di Bologna (Mimi, La bohème); Teatro La Fenice, Venice (Susanna, Le nozze di Figaro); Teatro Verdi Trieste (Micaëla, Carmen); and Wexford Festival Opera (Irène, Sapho)

For the closest performance go to the schedule page