During her varied career, dramatic soprano Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet has established herself as a leading force in the German and contemporary repertoires. Having begun singing Italian and ‘spinto’ Russian roles, she has naturally progressed into the more dramatic German soprano – and more recently ‘Zwischenfach’ – repertoire. Her intense stage presence has been widely praised by critics, with the Times proclaiming her a ‘spine-chillingly powerful’ performer.
In Europe, Charbonnet has appeared at major opera houses including the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona; Opéra National de Paris; Teatro Real, Madrid; Oper Frankfurt; Opéra National de Bordeaux; Deutsche Oper Berlin; Teatro Comunale di Firenze; Teatro La Fenice; and Bregenz Festival. Her major roles include Ortrud Lohengrin (in Frankfurt and Dallas), Kundry Parsifal, Venus Tannhäuser (Geneva and Toulouse), Sieglinde Die Walküre, and Brünnhilde Der Ring des Nibelungen (both Opéra national du Rhin). Her portrayal of Isolde was described in Opera magazine as ‘every inch the passionate Irish princess, at first a bundle of fury, then wholly possessed by the love potion. Her soprano smouldered hotly below, blazed thrillingly on high.’
Recent highlights include the title role of Ariane et Barbe-bleue (in Barcelona and Dijon); Judith Bluebeard’s Castle (Nantes/Angers and Paris); Leonore Fidelio (Teatro San Carlo); Katerina Izmailova Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Florence May Festival and Teatro Municipal Santiago); Goneril King Lear (Frankfurt); Elektra (Deutsche Oper Berlin, Edinburgh International Festival, and LSO under Valery Gergiev); and Cassandre Les Troyens (Opéra National de Paris).
Charbonnet’s concert repertoire includes Schoenberg’s Erwartung (with Jukka-Pekka Saraste in Cologne) and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass (with Pierre Boulez at the BBC Proms).
Engagements in the 2013-14 season include role debuts as Kostelnička Jenůfa (La Monnaie, Brussels) and the Mother Il Prigioniero in Barcelona, as well as Erwartung with Susanna Mälkki in Amsterdam. Looking further ahead, Charbonnet will add roles to her repertoire including Herodias Salome, Klytemnestra Elektra and Amneris Aida.