A Rose for Mary Jane
Ms. Johnson is counted amongst the great dramatic sopranos, and is considered one of opera's premiere interpreters. Her career highlights include the role of Emilia Marty in Janacek's The Makropoulos Case which she sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Lady Macbeth in Verdi's Macbeth as well as Katarina Ismailova in Shostakovitch's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which she performed at the Opera Bastille of Paris. She has also performed the Shostakovitch as well as Minnie in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West, and Strauss' Salome at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
Ms. Johnson's interpretation of Minnie in La Fanciulla del West has been heard on the world's most important stages including the Teatro Communale in Bologna, the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, on tour in Japan with La Scala, and with the Santa Fe Opera Festival. Mary Jane Johnson is also known for her interpretation of other dramatic roles which were the core of her ‘96-’97 and ‘97-’98 seasons; Salome with La Scala and Puccini’s Turandot with the Welsh National Opera, Edmonton,Winnipeg ,Calgary and Vancouver Opera theaters. To great acclaim, she also sang Turnandot with the Australian Opera Company in Adelaide and Brisbone. This season, highlights include Tosca at the Teatro San Paulo in Brazil. Salome at the Vancouver Opera, and The Makropoulos Case in her debut with the Prague Opera House and for the Prague Festival in May 1998. This Prague performance is historical, as it marks the first time a non-Czech artist has ever performed a Czech Opera in the National Theatre.
Other companies in which Ms. Johnson has appeared include the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile, the San Francisco, Netherlands, Washington, Pittsburgh, and Montreal Operas as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Houston Grand Opera. The various roles she performed in these distinguished theaters include Tosca, Ariadne auf Naxos, Salome, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Leonore in Fidelio, Amelia in Un Ballo on Maschera, Desdemona in Otello, Senta in Der Fliegende Hollanderand the Empress in Die Frau Ohne Schatten among many others.
Important highlights of Ms. Johnson's career on the concert stage include performances of Fidelio with Maestro Lorin Maazel and the Pittsburgh Symphony, both in Pittsburgh and at Carnegie Hall and Freia is Das Rheingold with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sir George Solti. Other distinguished orchestral appearances include concerts in Naples with the RAI Orchestra, and in San Francisco with the San Francisco Symphony. Ms. Johnson has been equally successful on the recital stage. She has received extraordinary acclaim for extensively performing in the most distinguished recital halls of North America.
Ms. Johnson's career went to the next level when she appeared with Luciano Pavarotti in a televised performance as Musetta in Puccini's La Boheme with the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Other important highlights of Ms. Johnson's television appearances include the nationally televised Pavarotti Plus Gala, Live from Lincoln Center and the CBS "Sunday Morning” with Charles Kuralt.
Mary Jane Johnson is currently an Artist Professor at Amarillo College, since 2000 and is a native of Pampa, Texas. She currently resides in Amarillo, Texas with her husband David and their two children Taylor and Greer. In addition, she was the staff vocal coach for the Santa Fe Opera from 2001-2005.