Jana Holesworth is a Canadian soprano born in Nova Scotia but raised in the Yukon – where her love for music was inspired from an early age. After numerous solo performances with the Borealis Children’s Choir (and later the Persephone Singers), she began studying voice with Rachel Grantham and competing in local music festivals. In 2000, she performed as child soloist on the production of the theme song CD for the Whitehorse Arctic Winter Games and in 2002, she represented the Yukon at the National Multicultural Honour Choir in Toronto (conducted by Dr. Doreen Rao).
In 2010, after initially completing a Bachelor of Arts degree (major in English, minor in French), Jana’s passion for performing motivated her to pursue vocal studies. Jana studied with Dr. Sandra Stringer Conlon and in the spring of 2013, she was awarded a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Lethbridge. During her studies at the University, she successfully competed in local competitions, including the Kiwanis Music Festival and N.A.T.S., and was the grateful recipient of several scholarships that helped fund her undergraduate degrees.
Over a four-year period, Jana developed her operatic stagecraft skills through participation in the University of Lethbridge Opera Workshop, where she performed in several fully-staged operas produced in collaboration with the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra. Her key roles included Sister Mathilde in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites (2010), Laetitia in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief (2011), Second Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute (2012) and Rosalinde in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (2013). Jana also gained valuable experience in staging and arts administration, working as program assistant for the 2012 Southern Alberta Vocal Experience program, a summer Music Conservatory program for youth.
Jana continued to develop her practical skills by participating in several summer operatic programs. In 2012, she attended Opera Nuova’s One-Week Intensive Workshop. The following summer, she performed Second Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Opera on the Avalon in St. John’s Newfoundland, as well as Oberto in Handel’s Alcina for Accademia Europea Dell’Opera in Lucca, Tuscany. Through these programs, she was privileged to receive expert instruction by renowned international vocal instructors and coaches including Theodore Baerg, Irena Welhasch Baerg, Jackalyn Short, Patricia Misslin, Steven Philcox, Vlad Iftinca, Michael McMahon, Kathryn LaBouff, Jenna Douglas, Paul Transue and Umberto Finazzi and participated in masterclasses with James Vaughn, Kathryn Harries and Leslie Dala.
In 2015, Jana completed her Masters of Music at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under the tutelage of Gail Pearson. During her studies, Jana benefited from exceptional opportunities for collaboration with other performance students and local operatic and musical theatre companies, performing roles including Micaëla (cover) in Bizet’s Carmen (Opera’r Ddraig, 2014), Gertrude in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (Opera’r Ddraig, 2014), The Fairy in Massenet’s Cinderella (Bute Park Opera, 2015) and Pepik in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, 2015).
Post studies, Jana has had a promising start to her career, performing roles such as Queen Rhiannon in Hannah Noone’s The Magic Island (Island Opera, 2015), The Baker’s Wife in Hannah Noone’s Spin it to Gold (Welsh Youth Performance Academy – Premier, 2016), Cassie Robinson in Michael Lowe’s Columbine (REPCO – Premier, 2016), Mrs. Gobineau in Menotti’s The Medium (Magnetic Opera, 2017), Rosalinde in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (Opera’r Ddraig, 2017), Nedda in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci (Love to Sing Opera, 2017) and Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte (Simply Opera, 2017).
In addition to performing, Jana frequently works as a producer and director with local Cardiff companies Opera’r Ddraig, Opera in Situ and W.Y.P.A. In 2018, Jana will continue work with all three groups, bringing opera and musical theatre to people of all ages in the Cardiff community. Jana is also looking forward to working with Canton Chorus on their performance of Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Singing the Soprano II Solo, with Serenata Singers on their upcoming performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, in which she will perform the role of Tatyana, and with Mid Wales Opera on their touring production of Eugene Onegin, in which Jana will feature in the Chorus.