Selected recent reviews and interviews
The Girl I Left Behind Me 2010
Reviewed by Paul Taylor The Independent ****
'Informed by the lovely pure voice and wittily knowing personality of the mezzo-soprano opera singer and cross-over artist Jessica Walker, this 80-minute piece is a drolly celebratory yet also piercingly poignant one-woman guide to a neglected chapter in showbiz and lesbian history.
A glamorous, boyish figure with her slickly cropped hair and her white tie and tails, Walker conjures up, through "sixteen-and-a-half songs", such now-forgotten spirits of music-hall "trouser-dom" as Vesta Tilley (1864-1952), Ella Shields (1879-1952) and the American male impersonator Ella Wesner (1841-1917), who learned the tricks of the trade while acting as dresser to Annie Hindle (born 1847). James Holmes pounds the ivories with panache as Walker resurrects songs from the melodious repertoires of these women...This show is not to be missed'.
At the Howard Assembly Room, Opera North
The Yorkshire Post****
Walker's rich mezzo soprano was equally suited to snippets of Mozart and Strauss as it was to risqué music hall numbers as she evoked cross-dressers from opera to vaudeville. Her singing talent was complemented by the storytelling skills of a true soubrette. She was particularly spiffing as a squiffy toff.
Reviews Mercy and Grand CD
The Times Richard Morrison 21/04/12 ****
'Superbly sung by the pure-voiced English Mezzo Jess Walker'
Reviews Mercy and Grand Spitalfields Music Winter Festival
The Guardian Tim Ashley **** 15/12/11
'The vocalist is mezzo Jessica Walker, a slinky, flame-haired androgyne in tux and boots, looking as if she might have strayed from some Weimar Republic dive. Walker makes no attempt to replicate Waits's own famously gravelly delivery. She sings, however, with terrific passion, gliding with ease from the sardonic Little Drop of Poison to the knowing bitterness of Weill's Ballad of Sexual Dependency, and doing heartbreaking things with Whistle down the Wind and Georgia Lee.'
Adam Sweeting Daily Telegraph15/12/11 ****
'Waits…gravelly bark was replaced in Shoreditch Church by Jessica Walker's agile and dramatic mezzo soprano.'
'Walker squeezing soulfulness from the plaintive lyric.'
Michael Church The Independent 19/12/11 ****
'Walker may be primarily an opera singer, but her cabaret instinct is wonderfully sure: she took command of the proceedings from the moment she sauntered up the aisle, and held us riveted from the outset with 'Little Drop of Poison.' Her warm clean sound may be a million miles from Waits's growl, but she evoked wintry pathos with 'Alice' and 'Whistle Down the Wind' just as effectively; Weill's 'The Ballad of Sexual Dependency' never sounded more bleak.'
Tete a Tete Opera Festival 2011
"Accompanied by a combo of oboe, cello and percussion, Jessica Walker stylishly incarnated one of the unborn as a slinky cabaret star." - Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph
"Jessica Walker's Nero gleams and suggests a searching mind gone wrong. [Her] final duet is wondrous." - Kieron Quirke,Evening Standard *****
"...Jessica Walker, a Nero of swaggering charisma." - Hannah Nepil, Financial Times
Link to Interview with Lyn Gardner The Guardian 2010: