"this production belongs to Jeni Houser"
"communicates delicious expression in the merest tilt of her torso and the flickering of her fingertips"
"the star of the show"
"sparkling performance [...] funny and human with nary a trace of forced cuteness"
"luminous in voice and visage"
Opera News lauds Jeni Houser’s performances as “commanding and duplicitous, yet also vulnerable. She has a bright future above the staff.” In the 2021-22 season, she makes her role debut as Lucia di Lammermoor in a return to Madison Opera. She also returns to her sought-after interpretation of Königin her Nacht in Die Zauberflöte in her debut with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and returns to the Metropolitan Opera for the same title. Future seasons see a return to Orff’s Carmina Burana. Her debuts with Seattle Opera as the Controller in Flight and New Orleans Opera in Die Zauberflöte were unfortunately cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic as were her returns to Virginia Opera as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Madison Opera as Eurydice in Orpheus in the Underworld, and On Site Opera as Rosina in Paisiello's Barber of Seville.
She recently made debuts with the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Dallas Opera as Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte, a role she has also sung to great acclaim with Minnesota Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Central City Opera, and Kentucky Opera. She returned to the Dallas Opera stage as the title role in The Golden Cockerel. With the Wiener Staatsoper, she made her international debut as Frantzi in the world premiere of Staud’s Die Weiden, after which she joined the company for its productions of Die Zauberflöte and Trojahn’s Orest.
Ms. Houser has sung Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with Austin Opera and Minnesota Opera; at the latter, she also sang Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, the Charmeuse in Thaïs, and Mrs. Grady in the world premiere of Paul Moravec’s The Shining. With Madison Opera, she has previously sung Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music, and Amy in Adamo’s Little Women. She has sung further performances of Johanna in Sweeney Todd with Mill City Summer Opera and Baltimore Concert Opera. She joined On Site Opera as Susanna in Marcos Portugal’s Le nozze di Figaro in her New York City debut, Odyssey Opera in Boston as Cecily in Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and Fort Worth Opera as Viv in the premiere of Peters’ Companionship. On the concert stage, she has sung Orff’s Carmina Burana with Madison Symphony, Las Vegas Philharmonic, and Atlanta Ballet and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Haydn’s Creation, and Mozart’s Requiem with Abendmusik: Lincoln (Nebraska).
During two summers with the Glimmerglass Festival, Ms. Houser sang Königin der Nacht in the young artist performance of Die Zauberflöte and Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos, in addition to joining the company for its production of Candide. She joined Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited for The Magic Victrola, in which she sang Olympia’s aria from Les contes d’Hoffmann. She sang Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore with Opera Saratoga, Frasquita in Carmen with Virginia Opera; and Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos with Fort Worth Opera and Berkshire Opera.
The soprano won second place at the Nicholas Loren Vocal Competition in 2014. She was a district winner and regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2013 and 2011 after earning an encouragement award in 2010, and was a national semifinalist in the NATS Artist Award Competition in 2010. She holds degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Lawrence University.