The English mezzo-soprano, Jean Rigby, studied at the Royal Birmingham School of Music and subsequently at The Royal Academy of Music in London with Patricia Clarke, with whom she continues to work.
Jean Rigby has a long association with the English National Opera (ENO), where she has sung Penelope in The Return of Ulysses, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, Carmen, Octavian, Benjamin Britten’s Lucretia, Helen of Troy in King Priam, Hyppolyta in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Amastris in Xerxes, and Rosina, among others. Other appearances have included Nicklausse (The Tales of Hoffman) and Dyade (Ariadne Auf Naxos) with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, L'Italiana in Algeri at the Buxton Festival, and both Angelia (La Cenerentola) and Idamantes (Idomeneo) for Garsington Opera. She is a regular guest at Glyndebourne Festival, where her roles have included Irena in Theodora, Genevieve in Pelléas and Meilsande, Eduige in Rodelinda, and Emillia in Otello. Abroad she has appeared with the Netherlands Opera (Igor Stravinsky’s Biblical Fragments), the Flanders Opera (Suzuki), Seattle Opera (Charlotte), and San Diego Opera (Nicklausse)
Rigby is one of Britain's leading concert artists, singing with all of the major orchestras and conductors and is a frequent soloist at the BBC Promenade Concerts. Recent engagements have included concerts with Sir Neville Marriner, Trevor Pinnock, Mikhail Pletnev, Matthias Bamert, Robert King, Richard Hickox, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras and Leonard Slatkin.
Jean Rigby extensive discography ranges from J.S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and George Frideric Handel to Benjamin Britten, Janacek and Harrison Birtwistle. Her recordings include Edward Elgar's The Music Makers with Andrew Davis, the title role in The Rape of Lucretia with Richard Hickox, and Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, and Alban Berg’s Wozzeck with Paul Daniel.
Jean Rigby made her Vienna debut in 1994 in L.v. Beethoven's Missa Solemnis conducted by Sir Neville Marriner. Recent engagements have included Rosina (The Barber of Seville) and Helen of Troy in Tippett's King Priam, the title role in La Cenerentola for Garsington, concerts in Salzburg with Trevor Pinnock; and, at the Proms, G. Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Andrew Davis and G. Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with Sir Charles Mackerras. Last season she sang Adamant for Garsington, returned to the Proms in Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah, recorded the world premiere of a song cycle by Michael Berkeley with The Nash Ensemble, B. Britten's Canticles and Delius's Mass of Life with Richard Hickox; and sang Highpolymer (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Maddalena (Rigoletto) for ENO.
1997 engagements included Charlotte (Werther) for Seattle Opera, G. Mahler 2 in Boston and London, concerts with Leonard Slatkin at the Istanbul Festival; L'Enfance du Christ in Hamburg with Roger Norrington, and Irene (Theodora) for Glyndebourne Festival with whom she will also sing Genevieve (Pelléas and Mélisande) in 1998-1999.
Very recent engagements include William Walton’s Troilus and Cressida with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Andrew Litton and Eduige (Rodelinda) at the Chatelet, Paris conducted by William Christie. She appears with the BBC Proms, Opera North (Troilus and Cressida), The King’s Consort (Elijah and Juditha Triuphans), Huddersfield Choral Society and sings Das Lied von der Erde for the Royal Ballet.