Raised in Los Angeles by Croatian parents, Bettina Jonic studied ballet for 10 years in California with Theodore Kosloff and Bronislava Nijenska, and music and singing at the Mozarteum in Salzburg,Vienna’s Academy of Music and the Paris Conservatory of Music. She made her singing debut at the Festival d’Aix en Provence, and went on to work in various international opera houses, where she specialized in the work of Mozart and Richard Strauss, and to perform at festivals in Edinburgh, Holland, Adelaide and Paris. She extended her singing career through the works of Bertolt Brecht, becoming the doyenne of a new generation of Brechtian interpreters.
Her developmental work includes her own Actors Work Group in London, and collaborations with Peter Brook in Lisbon and Paris, the latter being a production of The Tragedy of Carmen in the 1981-82 season at the Thèatre des Bouffes du Nord. She created Actor/Singer Development at the Royal Opera House in 1980, and under the aegis of the ROH, founded “The Little Garden” in 1985, to further accommodate this work. This led to the establishment of an International Actor/Singer Performance Research Centre in 1988. Performances included Macbeth (with Monstrous Regiment at the Donmar), Othello/Otello, and Ghost Games with Lulu (ROH).
Jonic has written the text for various music/theatre pieces including Lorca (Edinburgh Festival),The Wheel (Camden Festival) andThe Ladies (The Little Garden production at the Artaud Theatre). In addition to The Bitter Mirror, she has created many original works for herself, including Brecht and His Composers, Marie Antoinette meets Elinor Rigby, Denim Blues, Anna of the Seven Deadly Sins, A French Love Affair, and Journey into Exile. She has had two poetry collections published: Briefs (Covent Garden Press) and Deja Vu(Arfuyen Press, Paris). Jonic is in the final stages of writing With and Without Sam:Volumes One and Two, based on the letters she received from Samuel Beckett, with whom she maintained a long friendship. An excerpt from With and Without Sam was published in the summer of 2010 in the prestigious literary publication, The London Magazine.
Her creative force is on going and vital – she is currently at work on two new projects: a juxtaposition of Beckett’s Happy Days with Austrian composer Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck (Beckett used the Berg as his template when writing Happy Days) and a fusion of Oscar Wilde’s moving essay on spirituality and suffering (written while he was in Redding Gaol), De Profundis with Beckett’s final prose piece, Stirrings Still.
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