Gwyneth Jones is one of the world's leading dramatic sopranos. And with good reason. She is a versatile singer whose voice spans the full spectrum of the dramatic repertory: from the lyric-dramatic (or lirico-spinto) to the heroic-dramatic.
She studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London, and later in Siena, Zürich and Geneva. She debuted as a mezzo-soprano, in the role of Gluck's Orfeo. In 1962, she was engaged as a mezzo-soprano at the Zürich Opera where she debuted as Annina in Strauss' Der Rosekavalier. It was at the Welsh National Opera where she sang her first soprano role - Verdi's Lady Macbeth, which she would sing again, along with the mezzo role of Octavian, while on tour with the Royal Opera which she joined in 1963.
It was as an established soprano that she made her Covent Garden debut in 1964 as Beethoven's Fidelio, where later she sang Verdi's Leonora, Elisabeth de Valois, Aida, and Desdemona; Mozart's Donna Anna; Mascagni's Santuzza; Puccini's Tosca; Strauss' Marschallin, Salome, and Chrysothemis; and Wagner's Sieglinde.
She made frequent appearances at the Bayreuth Festival where she debuted as Sieglinde in 1966 and would sing well into the next decade: as Eva in Die Meistersinger, Kundry in Parsifal, Elizabeth/Venus in Tannhauser, Senta in Der fliegende Hollander, and Brünnhilde in the then controversial but now acclaimed 1976 Centenary Ring Cycle directed by Patrice Chereaux). Sieglinde was also her debut role at the Metropolitan Opera in 1972 where she has sung regularly since. She has also sung regularly to great international acclaim in Vienna, Munich, Paris, Milan, San Francisco and Chicago.
She has continued to add roles to her already vast repertory, which today also includes Wagner's Isolde and Ortrud; Strauss' Empress, Dyer's Wife, Agyptische Helena, and Elektra; Puccini's Turandot and Minnie; and Schoenberg's Woman in Erwartung.
Her extensive discography includes the famous Bayreuth 1976 Centenary Ring Cycle which is also available on video, Salome, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, and Ägyptische Helena.
In recognition of her great achievements and enormous contributions to music, Gwyneth Jones was made Dame of the British Empire in 1986.