November 14, 2023

MSM Spotlight: Meet Hannah Jones, a featured performer in A Midsummer Night’s Dream on stage NOV 16 to 19

This feature story was published prior to MSM’s recent production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Hannah Jones (MM ’24) is a second-year master’s student from Houston, Texas, studying under the tutelage of Ashley Putnam. She sings the role of Hermia, a headstrong ‘ride-or-die’ young lady, in MSM Graduate Opera Theatre’s mainstage production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in performance at Manhattan School of Music NOV 16–19.

Hannah speaks with us about A Midsummer Night’s Dream, singing the role of Hermia, and her time at MSM so far.

“MSM’s production of this comic opera will have you falling out of your seat!,” she says.


Hannah Jeané Jones is a mezzo-soprano from Houston, Texas. She is in her final year of studies for her Master of Music in Vocal Performance at MSM, studying with Ashley Putnam. Ms. Jones graduated from Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in 2022 where she studied with John Holiday.

At Manhattan School of Music, her scene work includes Marian’s Song (Marian) and Thérèse Raquin (Thérèse). Ms. Jones also sang the role of Maman and La Libellule in Opera in Concert‘s production of L’enfant et les sortilèges last February. Hannah Jones is also a proud cohort member of The Denyce Graves Foundation’s inaugural Shared Voices program and was a featured artist in Ms. Graves’s presentation on ABC’s Good Morning America. This past summer, she was a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of St. Louis where she performed in Treemonisha, Tosca, and Susanna.  She also performed in scenes from Peter Grimes as Auntie and in Eugene Onegin as Olga in the Center Stage Showcase. This past October, Hannah Jones won The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition DC-Maryland-Virgina District, and she will compete in the Laffont Competition’s Eastern Region competition at the end of November.

Don’t miss Hannah in A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

NOV 16 – 18 | THURS – SAT
7:30 PM

NOV 19 | SUN
2 PM

Music by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears based on the play by William Shakespeare

George Manahan (BM ’73, MM ’76), Conductor
John de los Santos, Director

Tickets required
$30 adults, $15 non-MSM students and seniors

Funded in part by a grant from the New York City Tourism Foundation

Neidorff-Karpati Hall 

Watch video preview!

Tell us about A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Hannah: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a 20th-century opera by Benjamin Britten adapted from the play by William Shakespeare. This is the story of love enchantments in a forest. Four lovers have had their relationships turned upside down, and the Queen of the Fairies falls in love with a human-turned-donkey all orchestrated by the mischievous Puck, The King of Fairies’ sidekick. It sounds a little crazy, but MSM’s production of this comic opera will have you falling out of your seat!

What is your role in the production?

Hannah: I’m playing one of the lovers named Hermia. Hermia is an upper-class girl who has been forbidden from marrying the love of her life, Lysander, because of his low statu,s and she is betrothed to a more suitable and socially compatible bachelor, Demetrius.

Hermia is not the stereotypical “rich girl” who is completely out of touch with reality. You will see all versions of her revealed on the stage from the posh girl willing to leave her comfortable life for love into a chick who will literally DRAG her friend-turned-nemesis across the stage for her man. Hermia is a true ride-or-die girlie, and I LOVE her for that!

How have the rehearsals been so far?

Hannah: I will put it this way…I hardly leave rehearsals not out breath. If you’ve worked with the fabulous John de los Santos, you know the best way to prepare for his stagings is to hit the gym. With his multidisciplinary background, he brings such a fire and excitement to the rehearsal space and encourages all of us to simply go for it!

Learning Britten’s music was a process, but it was a necessary one. You can never go on autopilot when singing his music. The moment you think he’s going to write something one way, he completely goes against your instinct. Assumptions in Britten’s music equal catastrophe on stage. Nonetheless, it has been a fun and challenging, especially in making this historic Shakespearean text make sense in my 21st-century African-American brain.

Why should people come and see this performance?

Hannah: You do NOT want to miss out on hearing these extraordinary singers. This show is quite gorgeous, from the set design to the fierce costumes! It is so easy to think of Shakespearean works as something inaccessible and inapplicable, but after seeing this production, honey, I promise you will leave wanting more.

Why did you choose to study at MSM?

Hannah: I chose to study at MSM because of my amazing teacher, Ashley Putnam, and the substantial number of resources and connections at MSM. Its placement in NYC also attracted me. It is the perfect place to be because almost all companies and programs stop in NYC for auditions and competitions.

Your time is what YOU make of it. Don’t be afraid to shoot for what seems impossible.

What advice do you have for anyone interested in studying at MSM?

Hannah: Your time is what you make of it. Don’t be afraid to shoot for what seems impossible. There are MSM alums everywhere…literally everywhere, so you will never be alone. Yay! Oh, and take every opportunity you have to see shows at Lincoln Center and on Broadway; those student tickets go a long way. Most importantly, advocate for yourself wherever you go.

    Email This Page

    Email Message

    Page Reference
    (will be sent in email)