November 7, 1936 - Pontnewynydd (Wales)
Dame Gwyneth Jones was born in Wales, Great Britain. After studies at the Royal College of Music, London-, The Accademia Chigiana Siena, the International Opera Studio in Zurich and with Maria Carpi, she made her debut at the Zurich Opera House in 1962. She has been singing at the Royal Opera Covent Garden since 1963 and is member of the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the Deutsche Oper Berlin since 1966. She is one of the most successful and versatile opera singers in the world.
In Vienna, Munich, London, Paris and at the MET in New York, she has triumphed in operas by Richard Strauss. Salome, Helen of Egypt (both recorded), Ariadne, the Dyer's Wife and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier (on CD Video conducted by Carlos Kleiber) are among her best roles. Since adding Elektra to her repertoire in 1983, she has been sensationally successful wherever she is performing it. At the Bayreuth Festival she has proved to be an outstanding interpreter of the characters of Richard Wagner: she sang Sieglinde, Eva, Senta and Kundry (both recorded). She was the first singer ever to sing both Elisabeth and Venus (Tannhäuser) at the Festspielhaus(available on Video). In 1976 she was Brünnhilde in the successfully filmed new production of the Ring des Nibelungen (Boulez/Chèreau) for the centenary celebration of the festival. The gramophone recording received the Grammy award. In 1980 she became a brilliant Isolde, and in 1991 added Ortrud. In the theatre of the original production (Theater an der Wien), she sang Beethoven's Fidelio for the celebration of the 200th birthday of Beethoven in a new production with Leonhard Bernstein. She has filmed Leonore with Karl Böhm, with whom she also recorded it.
In her Italian roles, she has been successful at La Scala di Milano with Leonore (Trovatore). In Rome and the Arena of Verona with Aida, at the Maggio Musicale Firenze as Lady Macbeth. She is a fascinating Tosca and a superb Butterfly. Her Turandot, which she studied with the legendary Dame Eva Turner, proved to be one of the greatest successes of her career at the Olympic Arts Festival in Los Angeles 1984, and thereafter in London and everywhere. She added La Fanciulla del West to her repertoire in 1991. In 1989 she sang La Voix humaine (Poulenc) and in 1990 Erwartung (Schönberg). In 1996 she added Kostelnicka in Jenufa (Janacek) and Bellini's Norma. 1998. She sang Begpick in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagony in the Opening Premier of the Salzburg Festival. In 1999 Kabanicha in Katia Kabanowa (Janacek). 2007 she sang the Queen of hearts in the World-Premier of Unsuk Chin's Alice in Wonderland at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
She has sung in all the important opera houses throughout the world: Vienna State Opera, London Royal Opera Covent Garten, at the MET, in Paris, La Scala di Milano, in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Barcelona,Buenos Aires, Tokyo, San Francisco, Chicago and at the Festivals in Bayreuth, Salzburg, Verona,Edinburgh, Orange, Peking, Hong Kong, Seoul etc.
She has worked with great conductors like Abbado, Barbirolli, Bernstein, Böhm, Boulez, Davis, Giulini,Haitink, Kempe, Kleiber, Krips, Kubelik, Leinsdorf, Levine, Maazel, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Sawallisch, Solti,Thielemann, von Dohnanyi and with producers such as Chéreau, Everding, Friedrich, Hartmann, Kupfer,Ponnelle, Rennert, Ronconi, Schenk, Serban, Visconti, W. Wagner, Zefirelli.
In films and for TV, she has performed Isolde, Aida, Turandot, Senta, Marschallin, Fidelio, Venus,Elisabeth, Brünnhilde, the Dyer's Wife, Poppea, The Merry Widow, La Voix humaine and Erwartung. She sings recitals and orchestral concerts in the famous concert-halls (Carnegie Hall, Concertgebow, Musikverein, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Théâtre des Champs Elysee, Suntory Hall, etc.) and is often the star of TV shows. She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Philips, EMI, Decca, CBS, Sony, Capriccio, Chandos and Koch International.
Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II appointed her Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1986. In 1980, honorary Member of Royal Academy of Music. In 1987 she was awarded the Shakespeare-Prize in Hamburg; in 1988 the "Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse" of the Federal Republic of Germany, and became in 1989 Honorary Member of the Vienna State Opera. In 1990, she became President of the Richard Wagner Society, London, and in 1991 received the Golden Medal of Honor in Vienna. In 1992 she became Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in France and Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. In 1998, she received the Österreichische Ehren Kreuz für Wissenshaft und Kunst 1 Klasse. She is Dr. h.c. of the Universities of Wales and Glamorgan and received the title Kammersängerin in both Austria and Bavaria. In 2003 she received the Premio Pucci Award in Torre del Lago and in 2004 the Cymry for the World Honour at the opening of the Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff. She has given Master classes in Great Britain, Germany, France, Netherlands, Montreal and Switzerland. She made her Debut as Stage Director with a New Production of Der fliegende Holländer Richard Wagner (where she was also responsible, together with her Stage Designer Laurent Berger, in the Deutsches National Theatre in Weimar.