Lockdown Recommendations from Musicians: Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston recommends the music, books and TV shows that have been keeping her company during the coronavirus pandemic

Lockdown Recommendations from Musicians: Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston
Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston

Musical recommendations:

During lockdown, I’ve been reminded of what makes me happy to listen to, and I’ve also well and truly returned to my jazz and Scouse roots. 

I’ve listened to loads of music whilst busy in the kitchen testing recipes and cocktails for Notes From Musicians’ Kitchens, an online cookbook written by musicians from all over the world, allowing us all to digitally break bread as a community and raising money for Help Musicians UK.


Jessye Norman’s recording of Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Kurt Masur




Sinatra At The Sands: A live concert recorded in Las Vegas in 1966




The Beatles: Abbey Road




A recipe:

My recipe in the Notes from Musicians’ Kitchens cookbook is a St Clements Gin & Tonic Cake, which I’ve now baked three times and can confirm it’s completely delicious – especially when served with a G&T!


Jennifer Johnston with her St Clements Gin and Tonic Cake



Film and TV: 

Inevitably, TV and film have been a feature of my evenings, and I particularly watching the stage show of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, which I wasn’t able to see live but was recently made available on Soho Theatre On Demand.


Watch NT Live: Fleabag at Vue Cinema | Book Tickets Online


The beautiful BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People.


Everything you need to know about BBC Three's Normal People

Normal People' by Sally Rooney | The Monthly






I’ve been rewatching the Harry Potter film. I’m in Ravenclaw house – in case you’re wondering.  


QUIZ: Who said these quotes from the Harry Potter movies?





An app:

I’ve been gifted a membership to the Masterclass appwhich contains some absolutely brilliant online classes and workshops with celebrities including RuPaul, Anna Wintour and Helen Mirren. 





Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy

The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel | Waterstones

Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt





Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr | Waterstones





An activity:

The thing that has kept me sane is walking on the beach as often as I can, alongside Antony Gormley’s Iron Men (Another Place, to give the installation its proper name). I’m so lucky to live right next to the Mersey Estuary in Liverpool. You can’t beat fresh air and the sight of the horizon.


Antony Gormley



Catch up with all the recipes from Notes From Musicians' Kitchens and listen to the podcast here featuring guests including mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, conductor Robert Treviño, pianist Julia Siciliano, soprano Sonya Yoncheva and conductor Domingo Hindoyan.

Jennifer Johnston is a soloist in the upcoming performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Self-Isolation Choir, which will be available to watch on YouTube from Sunday 31 May.

Listen to Jennifer Johnston’s new recording of Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Bavarian Raio Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle here, and to her 2019 album ‘A Love Letter to Liverpool’ here.

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