Soprano Jessica Pratt has appeared in major houses in Europe, Australia, and North America. She has specialized in the operas of Rossini and in bel canto opera, often learning unfamiliar roles in unusual repertory.
Pratt was born in Bristol, UK, on June 20, 1979, but moved to Australia with her father, who was a tenor, in 1991. She studied the trumpet for ten years then switched to singing, scoring a breakthrough in 2003 when she won the Australian Singing Competition. That brought opportunities to study in Italy, where she worked with Gianluigi Gelmetti at the Rome Opera, Renata Scotto at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and privately with Lelia Cuberli in Milan. She made her debut as Lucia in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at houses in Pavia and Cremona in October of 2007, reprising the role across Europe and building a record of strong performances at regional houses. For Pratt, 2011 was a banner year that saw her make debuts at La Scala in Milan (in the rare early comedy Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali of Donizetti), at the Teatro San Carlo (as Lucia), and at Covent Garden in London under Sir Colin Davis as the Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. Pratt has also appeared at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vienna State Opera, and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, where she appeared on an internationally broadcast New Year's concert in 2012. She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as the Queen of the Night over the 2016 holiday season and returned there as Lucia in 2018.
Pratt's repertory ranges from Handel to Wagner and Puccini, but she has focused on the operas of Rossini and of the bel canto era. She has been distinguished by her ability to learn roles in rarely performed works such as Donizetti's Il castello di Kenilworth, in which she played the role of Queen Elizabeth in a 2018 live performance and subsequent 2019 album release on the Dynamic label.