One of Canada's most thrilling young performers, Joni Henson made her Pacific Opera Victoria debut as Senta in POV's original production of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman in October 2011. She returned in April 2013 for her role debut as Tosca, and will be seen again as Alice Ford in POV's October 2013 production of Falstaff.
She has performed Desdemona (Otello) with Calgary Opera; the Foreign Princess (Rusalka), Elisabetta (Don Carlo), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) and Gutrune (Götterdämmerung) with the Canadian Opera Company, and Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) and Leonora (Il trovatore) with Opera Hamilton.
Concert appearances include Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (Calgary Philharmonic), Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Detroit Symphony), Britten's War Requiem and Verdi's Requiem (Vancouver Symphony), the final scene from Strauss' Capriccio (Hamilton Philharmonic), Mahler's Symphony No. 8 (National Arts Centre Orchestra and Orchestre Métropolitain), Elijah (Toronto Mendelssohn Choir), and performances with Aldeburgh Connection, Luminato Festival, Music Toronto, and Opera in Concert. Upcoming engagements include Elisabetta (Don Carlo) with Vancouver Opera.
Ms. Henson earned her Bachelor in Vocal Performance degree from the University of Toronto. She also received her Artist Diploma from the University of Toronto's Opera Division. Other roles include Nedda in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Mrs. Ford in Nicolai's The Merry Wives Of Windsor and the Female Chorus in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia.
In 2003, Ms. Henson was awarded the Opera Grand Prize at the XVth Concours International de Chant de Verviers Competition in Belgium. She also received the First Place Opera and French Melodie Awards at the Concours International de Chant de Marmande Competition in France. In 2006 Ms. Henson was a semi-finalist in the Metropolitan National Council Auditions.
Ms. Henson attended the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California where she studied with Marilyn Horne. In excerpts, she was seen there as Vitellia in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She was honoured to receive Encouragement Awards in the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition. As a former member of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio, she was heard as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and other ensemble roles with the company included Lady Billows in Albert Herring, Inez in Il Trovatore, and First Lady in The Magic Flute.
Joni Henson as Tosca ... thrills in the role... Henson imbues Tosca with wit, warmth and vivacity ... As a result ... Tosca’s fate touches us profoundly.
Brent Schaus, Monday Magazine, Pacific Opera Victoria's Tosca, 2013.
Henson's Senta, though still a girl, is a deep well of emotion, to which Henson gives resplendent voice - most notably in the duet, at the end of the opera, and in Senta's ballad, which she delivers with enormous relish, making it clear that Senta longs to inhabit the tale she tells.
Kevin Bazzana, Times Colonist , Pacific Opera Victoria's The Flying Dutchman, 2011
It's not hard to imagine this singer performing major Wagner roles in important opera houses within the next few years.
Robert Everett-Green, The Globe & Mail
Listen to Ms. Henson perform selections by Massenet, Wagner, Menotti, and Strauss.