Janet Perry was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the daughter of musical parents, she had early opportunity to receive lessons on piano and violin, and later, ballet. She was active in young-people's theater productions, and soon discovered an unusual vocal talent which led her to her debut as child star in The Wizard of Oz at St.Paul Civic Opera at age eleven.
On completing high school she continued her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music under the care of Eufemia Giannini Gregory. Her degree Bachelor of Music being completed, she immediately left for Europe and was engaged forthwith at the Kammeroper of Vienna, and then in the opera of Linz, Austria for two seasons.
After further engagements in the Gärtnerplatz Theater of Munich, Germany, and the Cologne Opera, she returned to Munich to the Bavarian State Opera. By then her career was firmly established in the lighter Mozart, Strauss, and Italian opera roles. She subsequently appeared as guest in most of the major European opera houses and in numerous festivals, notably Salzburg, Wiener Festwochen, Glyndbourne, Aix-en-Provence, Bregenz, Granada, Martina Franca, Montpellier, and under such conductors as Herbert von Karajan, Carlos Kleiber, Karl Böhm, Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Rafael Kubelik and Wolfgang Sawallisch.
She played principal roles in many opera and operetta productions for television and film: Zürich opera productions of Monteverdi's Poppea and Ulisse under Ponnelle/Harnoncourt, Salzburg Festival's Rosenkavalier and Falstaff under Karajan and the Ponnelle/Böhm Le Nozze di Figaro. In Germany there were Zigeunerliebe, Zigeunerbaron, Schwarzwaldmädel television films. In France there were productions of Elisir d'amore, and Fledermaus, and Ponnelle/Barenboim's Così fan tutte. She sang the role of Adele in the famous Munich production of Die Fledermaus for television and videodisc, under Carlos Kleiber, directed by Otto Schenk.
In concert, Janet Perry has an extended repertoire from Early Music: Bach, Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, to Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Mahler, Bruckner, Poulenc, Faurè. She has sung all the major Masses in her repertoire, and has recorded with Herbert von Karajan Mozart's C-minor Mass, Beethoven's 9th Symphony and Bruckner's Te Deum, with Rafael Kubelik Mozart's C-minor Mass for television, and Bach's Kaffeekantate and Monteverdi's 8th Madrigal Book with Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
She has sung recitals in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and in the USA. She has produced a recital of her own creation: A Salon in Paris, 1840 based on the music of composers living in Paris at the time, using costumes of the period, and amusing conversations with the pianist. Robert Fortune helped make the mise-en-scene,. She performed this humorous and delightful evening for audiences in France and Switzerland with the pianist Helge Antoni.
Later on, Janet Perry has been effectuating a change of repertoire, adding roles of more lyric and dramatic quality. In Germany and USA she sang Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare) Countess (Figaro) and Rosalinde (Fledermaus), and revived her Despina for Giorgio Strehler's production in Milano's Piccolo Teatro of Cosi fan tutte for the winter of 1998, and on tour for the following 10 years worldwide, in Italy, France, Spain Japan, China, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, etc.
In the summer of 2001, she sang Micaela in the Carmen production of the Italian amphitheaters Taormina and Fiesole.
In the last years, she is dedicating more time to teaching, sharing her experience and technical knowledge with professionals as well as beginners. She has led Master Classes in Italy, Canada, Switzerland and the USA, and is presently professor of voice at the Hochschule für Musik in Bern, Switzerland as well as visiting professor in Savona, Italy at the Accademia Cilea of Savona.
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