The American mezzo-soprano, Jessica Ann Best, obtained her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Nazareth College in 2006, and her aster of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University in 2008. She is a member of AGMA and studies with renowned bass-baritone Mark Schnaible. She is a winner of the Bel Canto Foundation’s Scholarship to V.O.I.C.E Experience! Sherrill Milnes and Friends and a two time Bravo award winner. She was also a finalist in the Friends of Austria Competition German Lied Competition.
Jessica Ann Best made her main-stage debut in Geva Theatre Center’s A Christmas Carol as Miss Fezziwig and Ensemble in 2004. Other musical theater credits include the Rochester Children’s Theater: Mrs. Mayor in Seussical and Blackfriar’s Theater: Queen in Cinderella. Other roles include: Fastrada in Pippin, Witch and Step-mother in Into the Woods, and Dolly in Hello, Dolly!.
Jessica Ann Best made her main-stage debut with The Santa Fe Opera in summer 2008, covering the role of Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro and performing in the ensembles of Le Nozze di Figaro under the baton of Kenneth Montgomery, Falstaff with Maestro Paolo Arrivabeni and the American Premier of Adriana Mater, directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Ernest Martinez-Izquierdo. While at The Santa Fe Opera, Ms. Best performedan honest and heart broken Musetta in anAct IV scene from La Bohème.
A historical premiere was an exciting part of October 2009 where Jessica Ann Best covered the role of Mona Belcolore in a recreation of Puccini’s second opera, Edgar, newly titled La Coupe et les Lèvres. The production featured new music by Anton Coppola; and it premiered at the Danny Kaye Playhouse in New York with Inter-Cities Arts Incorporated. It was Best’s second performance with Inter-Cities Arts, the following her return to the role of Nella in Gianni Schicchi in August of 2009.
A comedic and lively portrayal of Edith in The Pirates of Penzance with Mercury Opera Rochester opened the fall 2010 season. It was followed by sassy Lolo in The Merry Widow with Opera Tampa. Earlier in 2010 Jessica Ann Best performed the role of Suzy and Lolette in La Rondine with Opera Tampa as well as singing several Mezzo heroines in their Gala Concert. Best was a Resident Artist with Opera Tampa for the 2009-2010 season and Young Artist with Opera Tampa from 2007-2009: singing the roles of Nella in Gianni Schicchi and La Maestra in Suor Angelica in the 2009 season. Best was presented with a Coin of Excellence from General David Petraeus in a prestigious solo performance as an artist with Opera Tampa.
Jessica Ann Best captivates an audience from the moment she steps foot on stage. Her fiery and brilliant tone matches her charming charisma. The voice is powerful, warm, clear and vivacious; a perfect match for her characters. A versatile actress, Best’s dramatic ability is believable and powerful. The St. Petersburg Times notes “… Best casts a haunting soliloquy (“Don’t trust in love”) over the Act 2 nightclub scene” during her recent portrayal of Lolette in Opera Tampa’s 2010 production of La Rondine under the baton of the legendary Maestro Anton Coppola. She recently sang a lively and seductive Nancy in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, her debut with the Intermezzo Music Festival under the baton of Metropolitan Opera Conductor, Maestro J. David Jackson. Other roles include Mercedes in Carmen, Dido in Dido and Aeneus, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Hata in The Bartered Bride, and Praskovia/Margot in The Merry Widow.
Two celebratory works comprised the fall concert season: L.v. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the SUNY Geneseo Festival Chorus and Symphony and George Frideric Handel’s Messiah with the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. She is is a featured concert artist with the Florida Orchestra, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Greece Symphony, SUNYGeneseo Festival Symphony and Rochester Festival Singers. Recent concert engagements include: Five Tudor Portraits of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Lie Strewn the White Flocks by Sir Arthur Bliss with the Rochester Oratorio Society. She sang a recital series of Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben in February 2010.